WakingShark II: Stress Testing the City of London

The City of London underwent a massive cyber attack- on purpose! In a great feat of preemptive security hundreds of people, from hackers to holy grail financial institutions, participated in a collaborative attack to test various organizations and government institutions’ preparedness. More cities and organizations should be testing their mettle in such a way.

Waking Shark II – Stress Testing the City of London

 

 

See how the MetaFlows Security System can put your network to the test. Find out what you are not seeing in our Free 14 Day Trial.

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.

Information Breach Tragedy: It Could Have Been Avoided Completely!

A University employee single handedly demonstrates why it’s just as important to know what’s leaving your network as it is to know what’s coming into it!

University Employee Fired for Inadvertently Emailing Student Data

 

 

Find out how the MetaFlows Security System can monitor important files leaving your network, and catch them before they make it out!

 

 

 

 

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!

Not Your Grandma’s Malware Protection

The MetaFlows Security System Malware Protection is ADVANCED. We’re talking behavioral and signature detection, multi-layered, Malware-butt kicking advanced. The MSS finds Malware using a 3-layer approach where each level is highly scalable and works independently to progressively increase the detection accuracy.

Layer1: Session level

This is the most basic level of intrusion detection carried out by hardened Linux-based open source components. Our fine-tuned and extremely robust Session-level process can scale from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps using inexpensive, standard server hardware.

vrtemerging threats

Layer 2: Multiple-Session

With multiple-session correlation, we identify typical infection behavior by looking at alerts belonging to a single home machine. The MSS positively scores alerts based on observing at least two events corresponding to the typical phases of a Bot Infection.

  1. Inbound scanning
  2. Exploit
  3. Egg download
  4. C&C communication
  5. Outbound scanning/propagation

Multiple-session analysis (unlike traditional IDS) reduces false positives almost entirely and brings true positives to the forefront. This proprietary analysis is performed by Cyber-TA’s BotHunter (licensed to MetaFlows by SRI International). BotHunter intelligence feeds and rules are updated weekly from the SRI Malware Threat Center.

bothunter

Layer3: Multiple-Domain (Predictive Global Correlation)

Research funded by the National Science Foundation has led to the development of a proprietary multiple-domain correlation algorithm that is mathematically similar to Google’s page ranking. Event scores are autonomously obtained from a global network of virtual machines that masquerade as victims. As the victims are repeatedly attacked and infected, the MSS records security event information of both successful and unsuccessful hacker techniques and subsequent nefarious activities. This information is then combined with 5 additional network intelligence sources and then propagated in real time to each of our users to augment the session level and multiple-session-level ranking described above. This additional inter-domain correlation is important because it adds operational awareness based on real-time, measured intelligence.

With multiple-session correlation, we identify typical infection behavior by looking at alerts belonging to a single home machine. The MSS positively scores alerts based on observing at least two events corresponding to the typical phases of a Bot Infection.

  1. Inbound scanning
  2. Exploit
  3. Egg download
  4. C&C communication
  5. Outbound scanning/propagation

Multiple-session analysis (unlike traditional IDS) reduces false positives almost entirely and brings true positives to the forefront. This proprietary analysis is performed by Cyber-TA’s BotHunter (licensed to MetaFlows by SRI International). BotHunter intelligence feeds and rules are updated weekly from the SRI Malware Threat Center.

layer3

You can always learn more about how we are protecting networks better here.

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!

 

The Newest D in BYOD

So maybe it is not entirely new, but the tech world always loves a new iPhone launch.

TechNewsWorld: Apple Mixes It Up with Sleek, Splashy iPhones

Apple Mixes It Up With Sleek, Splashy iPhones

 

The MetaFlows Security System is well equipped to detect and help protect- or protect against- those pesky ‘outsider’ devices.

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…