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Vectoring to a New Mission

A couple of weeks ago, I announced a new name and a new mission for the group I lead at Cisco. I’ll do my best to minimize reader exposure to boring administrative details, but the long and the short of it is that the former Cisco Global Government Solutions Group (GGSG) has become the Cisco Threat Response, Intelligence, and Development (TRIAD) organization.

Any organizational name change is only a label placed on more fundamental transformations in missions, strategies, and desired outcomes. While the new organization will continue to serve government customers, the time has come to mobilize the expertise we have built up over the years to help critical infrastructure and enterprise customers strengthen their abilities to deliver IT-based services and value with minimal disturbance from unauthorized sources.

Vectoring the organization’s mission to threat is the key to understanding what TRIAD is all about. Through our work with Cisco customers, observation and analysis of phenomena visible in Cisco and customer networks, and application of innovative thinking about security practices and processes, we see enormous potential for developing and delivering threat-focused approaches to cyber security into products, services, and solutions. Read More »

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Cisco 3Q10 Global Threat Report

We’ve just posted the second installment of our Cisco Global Threat Report. The Cisco 3Q10 Global Threat Report covers the third quarter (July 1 -- September 30, 2010).  Where most threat reports focus on a specific vector (i.e. email, Web, desktop detections, etc.), our goal is to provide threat data across a wider segment to more holistically capture high profile events impacting the enterprise.

It’s a fascinating exercise, as it involves working with multiple teams across Cisco, combing through lots of data, and then painting a cohesive picture of what’s happening where.

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Finding A Needle In A PCAP

When news of Conficker surfaced I obtained a traffic sample from our botnet honeynet. I wanted to see what relevant aggregate information I could extract and see if there was any specific indication of Conficker activity. Using some lightweight tools I was able to quickly analyze my traffic sample and focus further research. I find that these high level analysis techniques lead me to ask the more interesting questions and, more importantly, come to my rescue when I’m pressed for time. Below, I share a little about how I deconstructed the traffic sample, briefly discuss visualization and turn to IPS and Global Correlation to get a bigger perspective on what was happening. Some of my colleagues here in Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) find these techniques useful so I thought I would pass them on in the hopes that others will as well. I’d like to hear from some of you on your favorite tools and tricks for this sort of sleuth work.

There are some things I should point out before delving into my traffic sample:

  • I sanitized all IP addresses because the hosts in this traffic sample are Internet facing. That is, I replaced all IP addresses with a fictitious FQDN. Hosts with the domain honeynet.eg are on the honeynet and all other hosts use the network.eg domain. The hostnames are randomly selected three-letter words from CrackLib’s dictionary. My fictitious FQDNs are consistent across this post.
  • Some of the xterm windows below may have a scroll bar. It’s easy to miss. Scroll down for more info.
  • The honeynet has several hosts which each have multiple IP addresses. We use this to increase attack surface. Because this isn’t relevant, I normalized the traffic such that each host on my network has one and only one IP address.

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