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How AMP Threat Grid Accelerates Incident Response with Artifacts, Content, and Correlation

As a result of Cisco’s acquisition last May, ThreatGRID is now part of the Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) portfolio as AMP Threat Grid. The acquisition expands Cisco AMP capabilities in the areas of dynamic analysis and threat intelligence technology, both on-premise and in the cloud. AMP Threat Grid extends Cisco AMP with even greater visibility, context, and control over sophisticated threats. Security analysts and incident response teams can augment their forensics analysis to detect and stop evasive attacks faster than ever.

AMP Threat Grid is not simply another dynamic analysis platform or sandbox. While the solution does leverage various dynamic analysis techniques and ‘sandboxing’ to produce content, it also acts as a content engine so that you can more quickly and easily extract insights from the data. AMP Threat Grid treats all of its analysis as content, making it available to the user via a portal or API. AMP Threat Grid also doesn’t stop at a single analysis technique; instead it applies multiple dynamic and static analysis engines to submitted samples – all produced disk, network, and memory artifacts – in order to generate as rich a source of data as possible.

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Security in the Hybrid Cloud

Security is a primary concern for many organizations making the transition to cloud.  In the blog, “Taking a Hybrid Cloud Approach to Security”, cloud provider Presidio shares how building a hybrid cloud enables you to maximize security while maximizing flexibility at the same time.

Security in this instance can be thought of in terms of risk.  For example, sensitive data and mission-critical applications need a higher level of security than a devops test environment.  The challenge for organizations is to accurately assess their risk and align their security strategy with their business objectives.  Threats can come from outside – and inside – an organization.  The best response to threats goes beyond just the technology underlying your data center and that of your cloud provider.

The truth is, your organization is unique.  This means your security strategy is going to be unique as well.  The foundation of a solid, comprehensive strategy is, of course, an enterprise-class architecture with end-to-end security.  To be complete, however, security policies must be in place which meet the specific security needs of your organization and regulations of your industry.

The architecture must also be supported by procedures that enable the members of your organization to easily comply with these security policies.  These procedures must be effective while at the same time not getting in way of the workflows or corporate culture already in place.

Developing – and successfully implementing – such a security strategy can be extremely complex.  For organizations new to cloud, especially hybrid clouds, understanding the nuances of comprehensive security may be outside their expertise.  This is why an experienced cloud provider is crucial to any secure hybrid cloud deployment.  One size does not fit all, nor are all clouds created equal.  The right cloud provider can be a powerful partner in maximizing your ability to benefit from a hybrid cloud.

How can you find the right partner?  Ask how much they can do for you.  Not just what they offer every customer.  What can they bring to the table in terms of experience with your industry?  Can they help assess your requirements and risks?  Do they offer security beyond the commodity-based cloud offerings so common in the market?

A hybrid approach to cloud has much to offer organizations of all sizes.  And when deployed with the right partners, you can have confidence in the security of your data and applications.

Learn more about how Hybrid Cloud and Cisco Powered cloud and managed services can transform your business.

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Announcing OpenSOC .1

OpenSOC, an open source security analytics framework, helps organizations make big data part of their technical security strategy by providing a platform for the application of anomaly detection and incident forensics to the data loss problem. By integrating numerous elements of the Hadoop ecosystem such as Storm, Kafka, and Elasticsearch, OpenSOC provides a scalable platform incorporating capabilities such as full-packet capture indexing, storage, data enrichment, stream processing, batch processing, real-time search, and telemetry aggregation. It also provides a centralized platform to effectively enable security analysts to rapidly detect and respond to advanced security threats.

A few months ago we were really excited to bring OpenSOC to the open source community.  Developing OpenSOC has been a challenging, yet rewarding experience.  Our small team pushed the limits of what is possible to do with big data technologies and put a strong foundational framework together that the community can add to and enhance.  With OpenSOC we strive to provide an open alternative to proprietary and often expensive analytics tools and do so at the scale of big data. Read More »

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Be More Effective, Be More Efficient: The Mantra for Many Adversaries in 2014

Adversaries are committed to continually refining or developing new techniques to conceal malicious activity, decrease their reliance on other techniques that may be more detectable, and become increasingly more efficient and effective in their attacks. Below are just three examples—explored in detail in the newly released Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report—of how malicious actors met these goals in 2014. These trends were observed by Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group throughout last year, and analyzed by the team using a global set of telemetry data:

  • Use of malvertising to help deliver exploit kits more efficiently—Talos noted three exploit kits we observed “in the wild” more than others in 2014: Angler, Goon, and Sweet Orange. More than likely, their popularity is due to their technical sophistication in terms of their ability to evade detection and remain effective. The Sweet Orange kit, for example, is very dynamic. Its components are always changing. Adversaries who use Sweet Orange often rely on malvertising to redirect users (often twice) to websites that host the exploit kit, including legitimate websites.
  • Increase in Silverlight exploitation—As we reported in both the Cisco 2014 Midyear Security Report and the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, the number of exploit kits able to exploit Microsoft Silverlight is growing. While still very low in number compared to more established vectors like Flash, PDF, and Java, Silverlight attacks are on the rise. This is another example of adversaries exploring new avenues for compromise in order to remain efficient and effective in launching their attacks. The Angler and Goon exploit kits both include Silverlight vulnerabilities. Fiesta is another known exploit kit that delivers malware through Silverlight, which our team reported on last year.

snowshoe

  • The rise of “snowshoe spam”—Phishing remains an essential tool for adversaries to deliver malware and steal users’ credentials. These actors understand that it is more efficient to exploit users at the browser and email level, rather than taking the time and effort to attempt to compromise servers. To ensure their spam campaigns are effective, Talos observed spammers turning to a new tactic last year: snowshoe spam. Unsolicited bulk email is sent using a large number of IP addresses and at a low message volume per IP address; this prevents some spam systems from detecting the spam, helping to ensure it reaches its intended audience. There is also evidence that adversaries are relying on compromised users’ machines as a way to support their snowshoe spam campaigns more efficiently. Snowshoe spam contributed to the overall increase of spam volume by 250 percent in 2014.

These are only a few of the threat intelligence findings presented in the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report. We encourage you to read the whole report, but also, to stay apprised of security trends throughout the year by following our reports on the Cisco Security blog. Talos is committed to ongoing coverage of security threats and trends. In fact, in the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, you’ll find links to several posts that our researchers published throughout 2014, and were used to help shape and inform our threat intelligence coverage in the report.

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Deliver Stronger Secure Mobility with Cisco and Samsung

The growing use of mobility is a new threat vector in the extended network. It’s particularly complex to secure and manage when tablets and smartphones are used for both personal and business needs. The Ponemon 2014 Security Impact of Mobile Device Use by Employees study notes that 66 percent of users download mobile apps without their company’s permission. This downloading behavior increases the attack surface by introducing unapproved or personal mobile applications.

As highlighted in the Cisco Annual Security Report for 2015, mobile applications are a new threat vector that could include malware. The potential for this user-appropriated malware to access corporate resources introduces a lot of new risks that need to be addressed by IT security personnel. At Cisco, we’ve just completed a new integration with Samsung to enable workers to be productive while locking down this expanded attack surface.

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