Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Security

Big Data in Security – Part I: TRAC Tools

TRACRecently I had an opportunity to sit down with the talented data scientists from Cisco’s Threat Research, Analysis, and Communications (TRAC) team to discuss Big Data security challenges, tools and methodologies. The following is part one of five in this series where Jisheng Wang, John Conley, and Preetham Raghunanda share how TRAC is tackling Big Data.

Given the hype surrounding “Big Data,” what does that term actually mean?

John:  First of all, because of overuse, the “Big Data” term has become almost meaningless. For us and for SIO (Security Intelligence and Operations) it means a combination of infrastructure, tools, and data sources all coming together to make it possible to have unified repositories of data that can address problems that we never thought we could solve before. It really means taking advantage of new technologies, tools, and new ways of thinking about problems.

Big Data

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Internet of Everything, Including Malware

We are witnessing the growth of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the network of embedded physical objects accessed through the Internet, and it’s connecting new devices to the Internet which may not traditionally have been there before. Unfortunately, some of these devices may be deployed with a security posture that may need improvement.

Naturally when we saw a few posts about multi-architecture malware focused on the “Internet of Things”, we decided to take a look. The issue being exploited in those posts is CVE-2012-1823, which has both an existing Cisco IPS signature as well as some for Snort. It turns out this vulnerability is actually quite heavily exploited by many different worms, and it took quite a bit of effort to exclude all of the alerts generated by other pieces of malware in Cisco IPS network participation. Due to the vulnerability-specific nature of the Cisco IPS signature, the same signature covers this issue as well as any others that use this technique; just one signature provides protection against all attempts to exploit this vulnerability.  As you can see in the graph below this is a heavily exploited vulnerability. Note that these events are any attack attempting to exploit this issue, not necessarily just the Zollard worm.

The graph below is derived from both Cisco IPS and Sourcefire IPS customers. The Cisco data is from customers who have ‘opted-in’ to network participation. This service is not on by default. The Sourcefire data below is derived from their SPARK network of test sensors. This graph is showing the percent increase of alert volume from the normal for each dataset at the specified time.

zollard_cisco_sf

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Operational Security Intelligence

Security intelligence, threat intelligence, cyber threat intelligence, or “intel” for short is a popular topic these days in the Infosec world. It seems everyone has a feed of “bad” IP addresses and hostnames they want to sell you, or share. This is an encouraging trend in that it indicates the security industry is attempting to work together to defend against known and upcoming threats. Many services like Team CymruShadowServerThreatExpertClean MX, and Malware Domain List offer lists of known command and control servers, dangerous URIs, or lists of hosts in your ASN that have been checking-in with known malicious hosts. This is essentially outsourced or assisted incident detection. You can leverage these feeds to let you know what problems you already have on your network, and to prepare for future incidents. This can be very helpful, especially for organizations with no computer security incident response teams (CSIRT) or an under-resourced security or IT operations group.

There are also commercial feeds which range anywhere from basic notifications to full-blown managed security solution. Government agencies and industry specific organizations also provide feeds targeted towards specific actors and threats. Many security information and event management systems (SIEMs) offer built-in feed subscriptions available only to their platform. The field of threat intelligence services is an ever-growing one, offering options from open source and free, to commercial and classified.  Full disclosure: Cisco is also in the threat intelligence business

However the intent of this article is not to convince you that one feed is better than another, or to help you select the right feed for your organization. There are too many factors to consider, and the primary intention of this post is to make you ask yourself, “I have a threat intelligence feed, now what?”  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sourcefire in Our Data Center – The First Inline Production Deployment at Cisco

In October, we were delighted to announce the completion of our acquisition of Sourcefire. With Sourcefire on board, Cisco provides one of the industry’s most comprehensive advanced threat protection portfolios, as well as a broad set of enforcement and remediation options that are integrated, pervasive, continuous, and open.

Within three weeks of the acquisition closing, we completed the first deployment into a highly secure data center and we are quite impressed with the results, to say the least! Within the first hour, we began seeing some interesting things from our network. The implementation was already giving us insights into our data center that we never had before!

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Where’s Our Grace?

Every year in Scottsdale, Arizona, there’s a unique Information Security conference created by Joyce Brocaglia at ALTA, supported by a who’s who of InfoSec companies like Cisco, RSA, and Symantec, and attended by hundreds of some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. It’s no coincidence that they are all women because this is the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) and always a highlight of my year.

A special treat for me this year was the presentation by Edna Conway, CISO for Cisco System’s supply chain and, as it turns out, a brilliant and inspiring woman.

A few weeks earlier, after reading that Edna was to be a keynote speaker at the event, I sent her an email just to introduce myself, say “hello,” and let her know that I looked forward to hearing her presentation. Not what I expected, Edna responded with a warm welcome for me to Cisco (yup—I’m a Cisco newbie after almost 30 years with HP!) and said that she was looking forward to getting some help from me on her current focus: securing Cisco’s supply chain. Great! Love to help, let’s keep in touch. However, when she presented to the EWF audience the strategy that she’d already developed and implemented, I was humbled by what an amazingly thorough job she’d done. The other women in the audience recognized the value in her strategy as well, as they lined up to speak with her after her address, and to ask for her help at their own companies. I saw the undeniable admiration in the eyes of these successful women executives—and those aspiring to be successful women executives—and something remarkable occurred to me. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,