False Positives: A Contradiction Most Annoying

False Positives are the thorn in the backside of every IT security professional. The following article does a good job of breaking them down and explaining some of their greater risks.

The Impact of False Positives

 

False Positives are all but eliminated by the MetaFlows Security System. A fact that seems to good to be true, but is made totally possible by innovative technology!

Old Dog, New Tricks: Reengineering Human Behavior Can Foil Phishing

No, UPS does not have a package waiting for you and that prince in Nairobi does not really want to give you $50,000, no matter how well thought out his plan is.

The article below details how, with just a bit of training, even your typical end-user can become more savvy and avoid those pesky phishing emails, thus saving your network from nonsense.

Reengineering Human Behavior Can Foil Phishing

Find out how the MetaFlows Security System, by utilizing Network Level AntiVirus and an Internal File Carver, can notify on and prevent pesky phishing scams.

And Now For Something Completely Technical: PF Ring 10 Gbps Snort IDS

You can always visit the MetaFlows Website for more information.

PF_RING based 10 Gbps Snort multiprocessing

Tested on CentOS 6 64bit using our custom PF_RING source

PF_RING load balances network traffic originating from an Ethernet interface by hashing the IP headers into N buckets. This allows it to spawn N instances of Snort, each processing a single bucket and achieve higher throughput through multiprocessing. In order to take full advantage of this, you need a multicore processor (like an I7 with 8 processing threads) or a dual or quad processor board that increases parallelism even further across multiple chips.

In a related article we measured the performance of PF_RING with Snort inline at 1 Gbps on an I7 950. The results were impressive.

The big deal is that now you can build low-cost IDPS systems using standard off-the-shelf hardware.

You can purchase our purpose-built Hardware with MetaFlows PF_RING pre-installed, giving you a low cost high performance platform to run your custom PF_RING applications on. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.

In this article we report on our experiment running Snort on a dual processor board with a total of 24 hyperthreads (using the Intel X5670). Besides measuring Snort processing throughput varying the number of rules, we also (1) changed the compiler used to compile Snort (GCC vs. ICC) and (2) compared PF_RING in NAPI mode (running 24 Snort processes in parallel) and PF_RING Direct NIC Access technology (DNA) (running 16 Snort processes in parallel).

PF_RING NAPI performs the hashing of the packets in software and has a traditional architecture where the packets are copied to user space by the driver. Snort is parallelized using 24 processes that are allowed to float on the 24 hardware threads while the interrupts are parallelized on 16 of the 24 hardware threads.

PF_RING DNA performs the hashing of the packets in hardware (using the Intel 52599 RSS functionality) and relies on 16 hardware queues. The DNA driver allows 16 instances of Snort to read packets directly from the hardware queues therefore virtually eliminating system-level processing overhead. The limitation of DNA is that (1) supports a maximum of 16x parallelism per 10G interface, (2) it only allows 1 process to attach to each hardware queue and (3) it costs a bit of money or requires Silicom cards(well worth it). (2) is significant because it does not allow multiple processes to receive the same data. So, for example if you run “tcpdump -i dna0″, you could not also run “snort -i dna0 -c config.snort -A console” at the same time. The second invocation would return an error.

GCC is the standard open source compiler that comes with CentOS 6 and virtually all other Unix systems. It is the foundation of open source and without it we would still be in the stone age (computationally).

ICC is an Intel proprietary compiler that goes much further in extracting instruction- and data-level parallelism of modern multicore processors such as the i7 and Xeons.

All results are excellent and show that you can build a 5-7 Gbps IDS using standard off-the-shelf machines and PF_RING. The system we used to perform these experiments is below:

The graph above shows the sustained Snort performance of 4 different configurations using a varying number of Emerging Threats Pro rules. As expected, the number of rules has a dramatic effect on performance for all configurations (the more rules, the lower the performance). In all cases, memory access contention is likely to be the main limiting factor.

Given our experience, we think that our setup is fairly representative of an academic institution we have to admit that measuring Snort performance in the absolute is hard. No two networks are the same and rule configurations vary even more widely, nevertheless, the relative performance variations are important and of general interest. You can draw your own conclusions from the above graph; however here are some interesting observations:

  • At the high end (6900 rules) ICC makes a big difference by increasing the throughput by ~1 Gbps (25%)
  • GCC is just as good at maintaining throughput around 5 Gbps
  • PF_RING DNA is always better than PF_RING NAPI.

We describe below how to reproduce these numbers on Linux CentOS 6. If you do not want to go through these steps, we also provide this functionality through our security system (MSS) pre-packaged and ready to go. It would help us if you tried it and let us know what you think.

The Cost of Crime Is Up and So Are Their Profits

It’s amazing what some people will do maliciously, and even more amazing what they can accomplish when there is $ behind it.

Lucrative Business: Cybercrime-as-a-Service

See what MetaFlows can do with Software-as-a-Service to protect you from the cybercriminals!

NSA Blame Game: Technology is “Too Complex”

The NSA has a hard time keeping its technology under control. It’s Alive!!! Or maybe they just need to be more careful with the power they are given through the technology they have!

NSA says illegal data collection was caused by too complex tech 

The NSA chocks it up to a “lack of shared understanding.” When it comes to network security, the MetaFlows Security System can make sure that there is no lack of understanding, and that all queried reports contain exactly the information you are looking for!

 

Emerging Threats Covers Patch Tuesday

Patch Tuesday each month is when Microsoft releases all of it’s latest security patches for new vulnerabilities in it’s software. Emerging Threats publishes this post to show which of those vulnerabilities are covered and how.

Emerging Threats Patch Tuesday

 

Find out more about how Emerging Threats helps make MetaFlows the strongest IDS/IPS system available.

SC Magazine Review

Industry Innovators: Hall of Fame

The idea behind this Innovator’s service is that one can place sensors strategically around an enterprise and send the outputs to the cloud where advanced processing performs a host of security functions to result in more efficient, faster and more accurate functions than doing the same ones on-premises. Add global intelligence gathering to give depth and breadth to the core data available and you have the MetaFlows Security System (MSS).
In terms of Network Security, SC Magazine knows how to zero in on the important. As part of their end of year review of the best products, they felt inclined to mention us. And not just mention us, but review us.

Read more…

An IPS on Steroids

“An IPS on Steroids: MetaFlows Security System”

The secret behind the MetaFlows Security System (MSS) is that it really is a hybrid application. It collects data on the network and acts on malicious activity. So far, this is just about the same as any intrusion prevention system (IPS). But don’t be fooled. This is not just any IPS. Because it is a hybrid application – local and cloud-based – users get a lot of benefit from the cloud piece that are not available from a standard IPS. For example, a typical IPS gets its updates at whatever update interval the vendor determines. The updates usually are based on the efforts of the vendor’s threat assessment laboratory. Not so for MSS.
Peter Stephenson’s First Look at the MSS

Syria and The Impending Cyber War

CNN discusses the rise of Cyber attacks and how war has now gained another frontier.

SEA: Syria Electronic Army- Report from CNN

First Wave of A Bigger War?

Find out more about how MetaFlows is working to protect companies from foreign threats, and could likely have stopped the recent meltdowns at the New York Times.

Dear CSO, Do You Know How to Build Security Culture?

Creating a security culture is not easy, but it is definitely beneficial. Click the link for some helpful and interesting points.

Dear CSO, do you know how to build security culture?

With so many points of access to your network, you need manageable visibility and protection, especially if you do not have a strong security culture.