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Foundational Network Traffic Collection and Analysis Setup

This introductory post explains how one of Cisco’s security research groups established a network data collection capability for large amounts of network traffic. This capability was necessary to support research into selected aspects of the Domain Name Service (DNS), but it can be adapted for other purposes.

DNS exploitation is frequently the means by which malicious actors seek to disrupt the normal operation of networks. This can include DNS Cache Poisoning, DNS Amplification Attacks and many others. A quick search at cisco.com/security yields a lot of content published, indicating both the criticality and exposures associated with DNS.

Our research required the ability to collect DNS data and extract DNS attributes for various analytical purposes. For this post, I’ll focus on collection capabilities regarding DNS data. Read More »

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The Effects of #OpUSA

In the days leading up to #OpUSA, security professionals were busy making preparations for the supposed flood of new attacks coming on 7 May 2013. As we mentioned on 1 May 2013, publicly announced attacks of this nature can have highly volatile credibility. In some cases, the announcements exist only for the purpose of gaining notoriety. In other cases, they are enhanced by increased publicity. By 4 May 2013, speculation arose that #OpUSA was a trap; this likely caused some potential participants to rethink their plans to join. Posts similar to the one below were made on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Read More »

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Shedding More Light on MDM

My friends at Cisco’s TechWiseTV have taken MDM to heart and have offered some keen insight from a geek’s POV (point of view) into MDM. Starting with a primer on MDM, Networking 101: MDM, Jimmy Ray answers the questions on what is MDM and what can it do for my organization in his entertaining and educational white board approach.

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Watering Hole Attacks an Attractive Alternative to Spear Phishing

“Watering Hole” attacks, as evidenced by the recent attack involving the U.S. Department of Labor, are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to attacks such as Spear Phishing. In a “Watering Hole” attack, the attacker compromises a site likely to be visited by a particular target group, rather than attacking the target group directly. Eventually, someone from the targeted group visits the “trusted” site (A.K.A. the “Watering Hole”) and becomes compromised.

Cisco identified suspicious GET requests made to the www.sellagreement.com, a malicious site which was recently linked with the Department of Labor attack. According to the evidence we have, the sites www.kforce.com and www.sbc.net were among those compromised during this attack. The webpages that were serving malicious content from these sites were mostly job-search related, but several requests to www.sellagreement.com lacked a “Referrer:” HTTP header entirely. Read More »

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Security Logging in an Enterprise, Part 2 of 2

This is the second and final part of my series about security logging in an enterprise.

We first logged IDS, some syslog from some UNIX hosts, and firewall logs (circa 1999). We went from there to dropping firewall logging as it introduced some overhead and we didn’t have any really good uses for it. (We still don’t.) Where did we go next? Read on.

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