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Research Spotlight: Project FTR

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Intro

Historically, networks have always been at risk for new, undiscovered threats. The risk of state sponsored hackers or criminal organizations utilizing 0-day was a constant, and the best defense was simply to keep adding on technologies to maximize the odds of detecting the new threat – like adding more locks to the door if you will. Here at Cisco Talos we’re constantly pushing the envelope. Recently after some thinking juice we started brainstorming ways to better address the constant threat of attacker utilizing unknown 0-day. Today, we’re happy to inform our customer base about our new inspection technology code name project Faster Than Realtime, or FTR. Project FTR is the next generation of detection technology, that which will truly revolutionize the industry.

Project FTR

To mitigate the ever-growing threat of new and unknown attacks we simply decided to add a few options to our existing inspection infrastructure. Snort’s new Quantum Pre-Detection (QPD) leverages Predictive Attack Detection (PAD) by putting packets into an Ethereally-Buffered Capture (EBC) file.  Snort then reads the .ebc via PAD so that QPD can tell you that you are under attack before you’re even under attack.

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Equation Coverage

Cisco Talos is aware of the public discourse surrounding the malware family dubbed “The Equation Family”. As of February 17th the following rules (33543 – 33546 MALWARE-CNC Win.Trojan.Equation) were released to detect the Equation Family traffic. These rules may be found in the Cisco FireSIGHT Management Console (Defense Center), or in the Subscriber Ruleset on Snort.org. Talos security researchers have also added the associated IPs, Domains, URLs, and hashes to all Cisco security devices to provide immediate protection across the network. Talos will continue to monitor public information as well as continue to independently research to provide coverage to this malware family.

coveragetable
Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) is ideally suited to prevent the execution of the malware used by these threat actors.

CWS or WSA web scanning prevents access to malicious websites and detects malware used in these attacks.

The Network Security protection of IPS and NGFW have up-to-date signatures to detect malicious network activity by threat actors.

While email has not been observed as an attack vector, ESA is capable of blocking the malware used in this campaign.

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Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services – How to get infected

On October 7, 2013 Cisco completed the acquisition of Sourcefire. At that time, I recognized this via Twitter and checked out the products on their website. I was excited to see the FirePOWER in action together with a Cisco ASA.

I had a good possibility to join the “ASA with FirePower Services” Workshop in Munich directly at Cisco. A big part of this Training was a Hands-on Lab, where the FirePOWER “Virus” infected me. I was thrilled, about the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services and the FireSIGHT Management Center.

This intelligent cyber security solution covers gaps in traditional security solutions. The threat-focused next-generation firewall provides next-generation security capabilities:

Application Visibility and Control (AVC)

Over 3000 Application-Layer and Riskbased controls, that works closely with the IPS to optimize the security.

Next-Generation IPS (NGIPS)

Visibility to detect multivector threats to streamline and automate defense response, Superior threat prevention and mitigation for both known and unknown threats

URL Filtering, and Advanced Malware Protection (AMP)

The comprehensive malware-defeating solution can enable malware detection and blocking, continuous analysis, and retrospective alerting.

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Reintroducing Snort 3.0

Snort 3.0

A little more than a year ago when Sourcefire became a part of Cisco, we reaffirmed our commitment to open source innovation and pledged to continue support for Snort and other open source projects. Our announcement of the OpenAppID initiative earlier this year was one of several ways we have delivered on this promise.

Today we are announcing the alpha release of a new Snort 3.0 architecture. This alpha release builds on several ideas that were part of the original 3.0 prototype developed several years ago and goes well beyond those initial concepts.

Snort 3.0 expands on the extensible architecture users have come to know and includes several new capabilities that make it easier for people to learn and run Snort. We encourage you check out it out at www.snort.org, give us your feedback and help us build a strong foundation for the future. As Joel mentions in his post, this is a very early release that is intended for community feedback more than anything else.

When I first began building Snort, I architected it so that we could continue to extend it over time. By working with the Snort community, it quickly evolved from the initial primitive idea of an easy-to-use intrusion detection engine to the powerful traffic analysis and control capabilities we have today. With millions of downloads and hundreds of thousands of registered users, Snort is the most widely deployed IPS technology in the world and has become the standard for intrusion detection and prevention. Snort is also the foundation of Cisco’s Next-Generation IPS and is one of the core technologies that cemented Sourcefire’s position as a leader in the security industry.

Cisco understands the power of open source and how it can help customers solve tough challenges. In the coming months you’ll hear more from us about Snort 3.0 and our continued efforts to deliver meaningful capabilities that underscore this commitment.

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Cisco Coverage for ‘Regin’ Campaign

This post was authored by Alex Chiu with contributions from Joel Esler.

Advanced persistent threats are a problem that many companies and organizations of all sizes face.  In the past two days, information regarding a highly targeted campaign known as ‘Regin’ has been publicly disclosed.  The threat actors behind ‘Regin’ appear to be targeting organizations in the Financial, Government, and Telecommunications verticals as well as targeting research institutions in the Education vertical.  Talos is aware of these reports and has responded to the issue in order to ensure our customers are protected. Read More »

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