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IWAN Wed: The Case for Direct Internet Breakout at Branch and IWAN

Simplify Branch Security with ISRCloud services and SaaS applications is enabling customers to accelerate their business processes and improve employee productivity while lowering their total IT spending. The Cisco IWAN solution is helping organizations adopt cloud applications with an improved user experience by enabling local internet breakout from the branch environment, thus helping eliminate the need to backhaul internet-bound traffic across the WAN link. This helps provide the user improved experience through lower latency for not only internet applications, but also free up bandwidth for application on the WAN link. The reduced WAN link usage also means lower IT spending those links.

However, a study commissioned by Cisco during Jan’14 from 641 customers from US and Europe on their MPLS usage and adoption of local internet breakout found that 68% of the customers responded that enabling direct internet access was an organizational focus for them.  However, 54% of the total respondents reported that lack of sufficient security at the branch environment hindered them from enabling local internet breakout at the branch. This was ranked as the #1 reason to not enable Direct Internet Access at branch sites.

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Cisco IPS Signature Coverage for OpenSSL Heartbleed Issue

The Cisco IPS Signature Development team has released 4 signature updates in the past week. Each of the updates contains either modifications to existing signatures or additional signatures for detection of attacks related to the OpenSSL Heartbleed issue. I’m going to take a moment to summarize the signature coverage.

To best utilize your Cisco IPS to protect against the OpenSSL Heartbleed issue:

  • Update your sensors to signature update pack S788.
  • Enable and activate sub-signatures /3 and /4 for signature 4187, leaving /0, /1, and /2 disabled and retired (by default, signature 4187 is disabled and retired across all sub-signatures).
  • Sub-signatures /3 and /4 are set at a severity of Informational and Low, respectively, and will not drop traffic by default. If after monitoring the sensor alerts, you are comfortable dropping traffic inline based on those alerts, you will need to add an action of “deny-packet” to each signature.

Further detail regarding the released signatures:
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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

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Massive Increase in Reconnaissance Activity – Precursor to Attack?

Update 2013-11-12Watch our youtube discussion

Update 2013-11-05: Upon further examination of the traffic we can confirm that a large percentage is destined for TCP port 445. This is indicative of someone looking for nodes running SMB/DCERPC. With that in mind it is extremely likely someone is looking for vulnerable windows machines or it is quite possible that the “soon to be” attackers are looking for boxes compromised by a specific malware variant.

On 2013-11-02 at 01:00 UTC Cisco saw a massive spike in TCP source port zero traffic for three hours. This was the largest spike of reconnaissance activity we’ve seen this year. TCP source port zero is a reserved port according to the RFC and it should not be used. Customers who see port zero activity on their network should consider the traffic suspicious and investigate the source.

pscan

This graph displays the magnitude of the number of sensors logging this activity. Normally we see a magnitude of less than 20, this increased five fold on 2013-11-02. There was also an associated massive increase in the volume of traffic observed by signature 24199-0.

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Botnets Riding Rails to your Data Center

Cisco Security Intelligence Operations is tracking reports of ongoing exploitation of a vulnerability in the popular web application framework Ruby on Rails that creates a Linux-based botnet. The vulnerability dates back to January 2013 and affects Ruby on Rails versions prior to 3.2.11, 3.1.10, 3.0.19, and 2.3.15.  Cisco Security Intelligence Operations’ has previously published an analysis of CVE-2013-0156. Cisco is receiving reports of attempted infection from Cisco IPS customers participating in Global Correlation.

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