Qradar Support

The MSS now fully supports the Qradar SIEM from IBM in CEF log format. Qradar is an excellent SIEM but requires classifying and mapping every event type it sees to an internal category. Qradar comes with a large number of common IDS rules (~50,000) already classified but not mapped.  Besides having to manually map all these rules  Qradar-MSS users  would also need to continuously create additional Qradar IDs (Qids) to map to the much larger rule set used by the MSS (which  changes daily). All this required a mechanism to update Qradar dynamically as new rules are published. With this update released today, no manual classification or mapping operations are necessary.

The MetaFlowsCEF log source automatically parses the 13 event types generated by the MSS and presents them in the Qradar default view. All MSS events are automatically mapped to new or existing Qids without any user manual operations. This makes the Qradar SIEM much easier to use.

To setup Qradar for the MSS perform the following steps:

    1. Download the MetaFlowsCEF log source https://nsm.metaflows.com/sensordevicetype-search-ContentExport-20180809173340.zip to the Qradar box
    2. Import it with the command /opt/qradar/bin/contentManagement.pl -action import -f sensordevicetype-search-ContentExport-20180809173340.zip
    3. Verify the import was successful and assign the MetaFlows sensors to this log source. Also make a note of the log source ID assigned by Qradar to the MetaFlowsCEF log source (something like 400[1-9]).
    4. Edit the file mss.sh of all sensors and add the line export QRADAR=1.
    5. On one of the sensors you designate as the main Qradar updater, create the file /nsm/etc/qradar.ini to allow the sensor to communicate to the Qradar server (see an example below). Also add the line export QRADARLOGSOURCEID=<logsourceid>; where <logsourceid> is the number you noted in step 3. Probably something like 4001, or 4002, etc..
    6. Restart the sensors

Sample qradar.ini:

certificate_file = /nsm/etc/qradar.pem
auth_token = f3f1201b-3562-46d1-9b8b-9a1623870000
server_ip =


/nsm/etc/qradar.pem is a copy of the file located at /etc/httpd/conf/certs/cert.cert on your Qradar box
auth_token is obtained from your QRADAR application
server_ip is the IP address of your Qradar box.

The Qradar updater sensor will automatically add to Qradar new IDS rules added by the sensor’s rule update  (which will be the same across all your sensors). This will happen through the Qradar API in the background as the sensor is running. The first time, the updater is run, it will have to catch up with about 50,000 definitions; so it will take many hours. Subsequent updates will take less time.

After each Qradar update, the email associated with the sensor owner will receive a summary of the update process.

Qradar integration is a bit complex; so do not hesitate to contact support@metaflows.com for any questions.


Splunk App

We have developed a Splunk network security app available at https://splunkbase.splunk.com/app/3603

or https://nsm.metaflows.com/SplunkforMetaFlows.tgz.

It receives events generated by the MetaFlows sensors and breaks them down by the following types:

  • Multisession Analysis
  • High Priority Events
  • IDS Events
  • Network Logs (3rd party logs sent to the sensors)
  • File Transmission Analysis
  • User Discovery
  • Service Discovery
  • Host Discovery
  • Mac Discovery
  • Suspicious URL Transmission Analysis
  • IPS Notifications
  • User Rankings
  • Modsecurity

From the app you can either drill down on Splunk itself or jump to the MetaFlows console to gather more forensic information like packet payloads.

You can install the app by using the Splunk application management tools. In order to send event to Splunk you need to add a configuration line in your /nsm/etc/mss.sh startup script of your sensors.  The SSL-encrypted syslog messages are sent to the MetaFlows Splunk App through TCP port 3015 (please make sure you sensor can communicate on this port).

It is a early beat version, please let us know how you like it.

Please see more details at https://docs.metaflows.com/Log_Management#Splunk_App

Happy Hunting!

The MetaFlows Team.

Got MAC?

We recently added the MAC addresses to the event messages. The system gets the MAC addresses in two orthogonal ways:

  • We sniff the MAC headers from the passive tap. If the MSS sees more than 5 IP addresses with the same MAC, it stops recording because it means you are mirroring the connection between the switch and the next routing hop (probably the firewall) where the MAC addresses are not available.
  • We sniff  DHCP lease messages  when the IP is assigned dynamically. In order to do this, you probably need to instruct the switch to specifically mirror DHCP traffic in order for the sensor to process it.  The sensor expects DHCP UDP traffic using the pcap expression udp and (port 68 or port 67).

Please contact us at support@metaflows.com if you need help in setting up DHCP traffic monitoring.




Websockets Are Here

Adobe Flash is one of the original sins. It is everywhere and yet it is a huge security risk. Websockets is an HTML5 standard that, for us, provided an alternative to Adobe Flash.

For now we support both. The browser will try to use Adobe Flash first, and if it is not present or it is disabled, it will try using Websockets (which are hard-coded in your Browser). I you want to keep using Adobe Flash, you do not have to do anything; things should keep working as before.

If your sensors are configured as clients, and you do not want to use Flash anymore, just disable it and the Browser will do the rest. You will be using MetaFlows SSL certificate.

If your sensors are configured as servers, and you do not want to use Flash anymore, well, it’s a bit of work to use Websockets because current Browser implementations do not allow self-signed SSL certificates (this is probably a good thing). To use Websockets on sensors configured as servers:

  1. Add your sensors’ static IPs to the DNS (like: <sensorname1>@mydomain.com)
  2. Generate a valid SSL certificates  that matches the DNS name in step 1 (cannot be self-signed). If you do not want to generate a separate certificate for each sensor, you can also buy a *.mysensordomain.com certificate to share by all your sensors.
  3. Bundle the certificates with the command:

# cat my_certificate.crt my_certificate.key bundle_certificate.crt > sensorcert

  1. Copy sensorcert to /usr/local/etc/ntop/sensor-server.pem on your sensors’ hard disk.
  2. Go to nsm.metaflows.com and replace the static IP address of your sensors as a server with the names you setup in step 1
  3. Make sure your browser can reach the sensors on ports 3009 and 3010
  4. Restart your sensors as a server with the command:

#/nsm/etc/mss.sh restart

Adding Websockets support was a fairly extensive change in our system; so there could still be some issues. As always feel free to contact us if you have any questions or you see any problems.

Thank you for exploring the unknown with us!

The MetaFlows Team.

Product Update: Reconsider Event Classifications

Recently, the engineers at MetaFlows have improved the Event Classification Menu within the MetaFlows software, allowing each user to further customize events through actions and event views.  This introduces four key features to the Event Classification Menu that users will find helpful in employing the MetaFlows IDS.

Classifications Window.png

The first improvement allows users to see a comprehensive list of their classifications.  Now, users can access a new classification interface that breaks the classifications down by action.  There are seven action types:  Highlight, Block, E-mail, Ignore, Delete, Rank, and Disabled.  The Highlight function matches the records in the Real-Time, Historical, and Reports with the selected color.  The Block action triggers the Soft IPS for matching records, causing connections matching the classification to be blocked.  The E-mail function produces a PDF report of matching records that will be sent every ten minutes, or as frequently as possible.  The Ignore action ignores events that match the classification.  The Delete function removes matching records from the browser in order to free up memory.  The Rank action increases the priority/rank of the records that match the classification.  The Disable function allows a user to disable a classification without deleting it.


The Search functionality of the classification interface now allows users to search against a classifications’ name, category, IP address, IDS alerts, service alerts, and log message values.  All a user has to do is type a value into the Search field to find classifications to match that query.  The search will match against values in the classification name, category, addresses, and events field.


Once upon a time, deleting a classification was an irreversible action.  Now, that can be undone.  If the user deletes a classification only to realize later that they need it, they can restore the classification from the Trashed Classifications list.

Transferring classifications is now much easier.  By employing the Upload Classifications feature, a user can transfer classifications in bulk between two different domains.  The option is listed as the Upload Classifications button and selecting this opens the uploader.  Classifications must be in JSON format and contain all the required information for the classification.

More information regarding the recent improvements in the Event Classification menu can be viewed on the MetaFlows User Manual.  If using any of the four new features causes any confusion, or if there are any questions, do not hesitate to contact the MetaFlows team for assistance.

Uncovering True Positives

MetaFlows is now using our sandbox results as an intelligence feed for ranking events.  This method of using the sandbox as an intelligence source for ranking signatures allows us to catch infections or high-risk behavior, even if we only see one piece of the traditional malware life cycle.  The picture below illustrates a sandbox report that shows where the signature was first observed in association with malware.


How It Works

Individual IDS signatures can now be ranked as a priority threat if they have been triggering inside the MetaFlows sandbox in association with malware. These signatures are only considered for special ranking if they are statistically rare among events across all MetaFlows monitored networks.  Given their nature, these events are likely to missed by an analyst among the many other events that may be normally low ranked. The image below displays a ranked event on the user’s dashboard showing an alert identified with the new threat category.


You can see what kinds of events are triggering in the MetaFlows sandbox by visiting our statistics page.

The Skinny on CVE-2015-7547

While the DNS exploit CVE-2015-7547 was discovered a week ago, the code containing the flaw has been in use since May, 2008. CVE-2015-7547 works by allowing arbitrary code to execute on any system reliant on glibc by way of a malformed query response.  As discovered by Redhat Linux and Google, there are flaws in GNU C Library.  The GNU C Library connects to DNS to resolve names.  This problematic code effects all versions of glbc since 2.9 and allows for remote code execution.

We have seven signatures, the first of which was released the day after the exploit was discovered. We were able to push the beta version of the rule to our research partners immediately, and to all sensors during the normal daily signature update.

2022531 || ET EXPLOIT Possible 2015-7547 Malformed Server response || cve,2015-7547

2022542 || ET EXPLOIT Possible 2015-7547 PoC Server Response || cve,2015-7547

2022543 || ET EXPLOIT Possible CVE-2015-7547 Long Response to A lookup || cve,2015-7547

2022544 || ET EXPLOIT Possible CVE-2015-7547 Long Response to AAAA lookup || cve,2015-7547

2022545 || ET EXPLOIT Possible CVE-2015-7547 Malformed Server Response A/AAAA || cve,2015-7547

2022546 || ET EXPLOIT Possible CVE-2015-7547 A/AAAA Record Lookup Possible Forced FallBack(fb set) || cve,2015-7547

2022547 || ET EXPLOIT Possible CVE-2015-7547 Large Response to A/AAAA query || cve,2015-7547

          Signature 2022547 is currently triggering on multiple customer sites, but at least for now it is in low volume.  However, according to Dan Kaminsky, this is a threat that could swiftly escalate as more and more adversaries improve their attack strategies to increase the damage made possible by CVE-2015-7547.  Patching this particular bug is paramount, as well as continually monitoring your system for the exploit.


Measured Antivirus Effectiveness

I wanted to share with you some insight from the data that originated from our customers’ networks last week. This time, we wanted to provide some information on how different antivirus vendors perform on the .exe, .dll, .pdf, and .zip files seen around the world.

This table shows the relative hit ratio of all the antivirus vendors hosted by Virus Total on 697 confirmed bad files. You will notice that 43% of the time none of the antivirus products detected anything. The top performer is McAfee-GW-Edition with a 37% detection rate.

Looking at the types of samples detected, one can also consider which Antivirus Vendors were able catch the worst malicious code. We assigned an Average Priority of 1 to spyware or unwanted software and an Average Priority of 100 to known Trojans or unclassified malware.  Then, we multiplyed the Average Priority by the Detection Rate, giving rise to the Severity column. This column shows which Antivirus Vendors found the most dangerous code. This week Arcabit wins with a Detection Rate of 29%, an Average Priority of 30.17, and a Severity of 8.96.

Antivirus VendorTrue PositivesAverage Priority Detection RateSeverity
None3000.430416 (mss)

Our sandbox was able to detect the remaining samples (the missing 43%).


The bubble graph above illusrates the Severity (Detection Rate * Average Priority) verses the Prevalence (Detection Rate * Total Priority). The detection rate is encoded in color and the size of the bubble is proportional to how many customers saw the malware.

If you are curious about more statistics like this, you can visit https://www.metaflows.com/stats/ (best viewed on a desktop) for a ton of additional information. If you want a quick fix, watch some of our videos at https://www.metaflows.com/saas/.

Adobe’s Continuing Affair with Angler and Cryptowall

The latest Adobe Flash Player update has once again proven problematic.  We have discovered yet another revision of a pre-existing Angler Exploit Kit disseminating Cryptowall.  A customer’s host was compromised following Angler Exploit redirects, dated June 1, 2015, June 16, 2015, and June 30th, 2015, showing that as new adaptations of the kit are added, the older ones are still in use.  The latest, June 30th, is more recent than the most up to date patch for Adobe Flash Player 17, version  “Customers that are enrolled in “Allow Adobe to Install Updates (recommended)” but have not updated to Flash Player version 18 will receive a new and secure version of Flash Player 17 over the next 24 hours. ”

MetaFlows customers are encouraged to enable automatic blocking for Level 1 Events, which currently include the Angler Exploit rules (https://nsm.metaflows.com/sid_priority.map), or creating specific block rules to match Angler EK events.

The figure shows an example of the events that are triggered during an Angler Exploit attempt and infection with Cryptowall.


MetaFlows in the Top-20 Security Companies for 2015

CIOReview Magazine has selected MetaFlows as one of the Top 20 Most Promising Enterprise Security Companies in 2015. In the article Cost Effectively Tackling Advanced Security Threats, we outline our approach to the security challenges for the upcoming decade.  The internet is shifting from a client/server paradigm to a peer-to-peer, mobile environment.

 Your Network Perimeter is Dissolving

breachesHeuristic-based network perimeter defences will become less and less effective because it is like applying medical diagnosis in an environment where new pathogens are created on a daily basis. So, heuristically determining what is bad and what is good may work initially, but it becomes a losing battle unless the network security operators are constantly updating their heuristics. Also, protecting the perimeter is not enough, once something makes it on the inside, the perimeter becomes irrelevant. We have seen that  companies adopting this approach can be hacked no matter how much money they spend.

 Share Intelligence

internet_graphSingle-vendor network security intelligence feeds have become ineffective due to the sophisticated global cooperation of hackers. Vendors that provide a single box and a single source of network intelligence are selling an inherently flawed promise. Products should be based upon integrating multiple collaborative intelligence feeds. The complexity and interconnectivity of the attacking adversaries requires a similar defense strategy.

MetaFlows has been innovating in these two important dimensions for the past seven years drawing from a thirty year Government-sponsored network security and intrusion detection research. The technical founders of MetaFlows (Livio Ricciulli and Phillip Porras) sharpened their teeth at the Computer Science Laboratory of SRI International, where intrusion detection was first developed back in 1983.

The best part is that these innovations are now commercially available through MetaFlows.  The company is improving the security of a large number of networks (big and small) around the world.