How to Cruise Ocean Threat Without Sinking Using TheHive 3.1 & Cortex 2.1

Paris, France. The Sun is shining on the city of lights and temperatures are quite high, even for the summer season. Life is good. As a matter of fact, life is excellent.

TheHive Master Cooks are about to go on vacation for a few weeks. But before they pack up their Patagonia bags and leave the sandy beaches for those who enjoy them, preferring mountains, trails, walking and breathing fresh air with family and friends, they would like to make a significant contribution to help TheHive and Cortex users fight cyberattacks even better than they already do. And maybe convince those who don’t that free, open source software is not a joke or a geek fad.

We’d like to welcome to the stage our latest babies, which we are really proud of: TheHive 3.1 and Cortex 2.1, the new versions of the power duo which make digital forensics, incident response and, to an extent, cyber threat intelligence, better, faster, happier, regular exercising (well you know the Radiohead song so we’ll let you continue singing along) since early 2017.

While our project might seem very young, it is not. We’ve been working steadily on TheHive, using it (i.e. eating our own dog food) since early 2014 before releasing it at the end of 2016 once we were satisfied with it, as a token of gratitude to a community that helped us due our jobs in various ways. We then extracted what has become Cortex from its core to ship it as a separate product in February 2017. And we kept improving them at a steady piece for the collective benefit of incident responders, forensicators and threat analysts. And adoption has been rather spectacular. Thanks to all of our users for their love and support!

We believe we are at a moment where people could not brush us off anymore as amateurs. Try TheHive and Cortex, preferably with MISP and get a taste of what professional, free and open source software can be.

TheHive 3.1 and Cortex 2.1 are feature-packed and we won’t be able to cover them all in detail in a single blog post. Rather, we’d like to concentrate on a few important ones.

Stable, Pre-release Channels and New Repositories

We’d like to point out that, in order to improve our release process and given the number of features that we added, TheHive 3.1 and Cortex 2.1 are release candidates at this stage. So we encourage you to test them and report back any bugs or issues you encounter so we can address them and make the final releases as rock-solid as possible.

We have now two release channels: a stable one that should be used for production systems and a pre-release channel that should be used to try the release candidates such as TheHive 3.1-RC1 and Cortex 2.1-RC1, the subjects of this blog post, and help us iron out bugs before adding them to the stable channel. Those who love living on the bleeding edge may be tempted by running the release candidates on their production environment given all the candy and icing we added. They are at liberty of doing so but we don’t want to hear anyone one whining about an RC that broke everything and asking for their money back grin.

We also moved our package and binary repositories to https://bintray.com/thehive-project and Docker images are now under thehiveproject.

Please check TheHive Installation and Cortex Installation guides for further details.

MISP with a Purpose

In previous releases of TheHive, whenever you configured a MISP instance, it was used to import events from and export cases to. Starting from TheHive 3.1.0, we added a purpose to the configuration file. By default, any added MISP instance will be used for import and export (ImportAndExport). However you can configure it to be used for importing events only (ImportOnly) or exporting cases only (ExportOnly).

Extended Events

When an analyst attempts to update a MISP event on which the account used by TheHive to connect to the MISP instance is not part of the original author’s organization, previous versions of TheHive will display a you do not have permission to do that error produced by MISP. Starting from TheHive 3.1, analysts have the ability to create a MISP extended event.

Task Grouping

Case tasks can now be associated with task groups. For example, you could create groups called Identification and Malware Analysis, Containment and Communication and add tasks to them. Of course, this new feature can be used when designing case templates as well.

Import Observables from Analyzer Output

If analyzers produce a set of artifacts in their output (which is the case of several existing ones), TheHive will give you the ability to select those artifacts very easily and add them to your case as observables.

ZIP File Upload

Austin Haigh contributed an important feature which will allow analysts to directly import password-protected ZIP files into a case. The code uses the supplied password when adding the archive to extract its contents and add them one by one to the existing set of observables. This is highly practical when you want to add suspicious files without risking an accidental click which would compromise your endpoint or having to unzip archives containing such files first then add them one by one to TheHive.

Revamped Search Page

The search page has been completely revamped as shown in the screenshot below:

41841154-d8d8fa5c-7867-11e8-8837-2a12a06a52a7.png
The New Search Page

You can now select your search scope (cases, tasks, observables, alerts, analyser reports a.k.a. jobs or even the audit logs), apply filters and search TheHive without having to resort to complex, mind numbing Lucene syntax.

Responders and PAP

Last but not least, TheHive and Cortex offer you response capabilities (i.e. perform an action depending on the context) thanks to a new breed of programs called … wait for it … wait for it … responders. TADA!

Responders are very similar to analyzers. In fact we’ve taken the concept and extended it to apply to different elements in TheHive: alerts, cases, tasks, task logs, and observables of course.

mailer_activeResponse.png
Responders in Action

You can reuse almost the same principles that apply to analyzers to write your own responders and if you are feeling generous, contribute them to the community. To give you a head start, we published a sample Mailer responder which, when customized for your environment, should allow you to send emails to inform your fellow analysts that a case has been created and that their help is required. Another example could be the ability to respond to a suspicious email report from a user, which is displayed as an alert, that they can safely ignore the corresponding email.

Like an analyzer, a responder can have two or more service interaction files (or flavors) to allow it to perform different actions. For example, a Mailer responder can send messages using several body templates.

Thanks to our long-time friend Andras Iklody from MISP Project who brought that to our attention, responders (and analyzers starting from Cortex 2.1) support PAP, the Permissible Actions Protocol.

Running into Troubles?

Something does not work as expected? You have troubles installing or upgrading? Spotted new bugs? No worries, please open issues on GitHub or comment on existing ones, join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

 

 

 

Unveiling Synapse

When we’re not busy cooking new features, we go back to the trenches and face incidents like many of our fellow analysts who read our publications and use our tools. To do so, we swap our chef toques for firefighter helmets, not only because such shiny headwear is cool, but mainly because incident response (IR) is, at its very heart, firefighting (minus all the dangerous stuff).

If you think about it, when handling incidents you can see everything from cats in trees (spam) to major fire (APT). Thankfully, there are more cats to bring down than fire to extinguish. That being said, a big herd of cats could be a serious threat to your organization, to your mental health or both.

We tend to forget that incident handlers are humans, not robots. Unlike our metal cyberfriends, we need diversity. We can’t risk insanity like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times if we can avoid it. Unfortunately IR can be highly repetitive, especially if you only have cats to deal with.

Some could say ‘Nah, this is minor, nothing critical here’ but at some point, an analyst brainwashed by the same tasks again and again will be led to fault. In the worst case scenario, one could see an alert and immediately categorize it as false positive without any further consideration. Because ‘this alert is always a false positive’, until the day it is not…

Automation, a Solution?

Intuitively, we look in the direction of automation in order to minimize what we call ‘zombie’ tasks: highly repetitive and brainless tasks that need to be done. We believe that doing so will allow incident handlers to focus on the analysis and not on the tedious side of IR. Ultimately, we hope it will keep analysts stimulated and in a state of alert. Also, it should reduce time and effort spent on the low-hanging fruits.

One of the most dreary tasks in our opinion is to record the context around an incident.
What is the problem? When did it happen? What’s the origin? Who are the victims? How many are there? Answers to these questions let you have an overview of what is happening and are valuable to correlate incidents. So it is worth taking some minutes to add this information to your case. Sadly, most of the time it will look like a succession of ‘Ctrl+C; Alt+Tab; Ctrl+V’ from your incident source to TheHive. Exactly the kind of tasks we want to forego.

Specifications

Having identified the threat that apathetic analysts pose, the root cause (highly repetitive tasks) and a solution (automate the recording of incident context), the question of the implementation has been raised.

The first challenge to solve is the number of incident sources. Almost everything can trigger an incident: a firewall, an IDS, antivirus, SIEM, users, etc… So the application must be designed to accept several sources and must permit to easily integrate new ones. And instead of having to configure multiple alert feeders to supply alerts to TheHive, we would have only one. To some extent, it can be assimilated to a meta feeder.

And if the application works as intended, we still have a second challenge. Let’s say you, dear reader, and ourselves use the galaxy renowned Stargazer IDS. Maybe you’d like to include the full packet capture in the case but we wouldn’t. Using the same product doesn’t mean using it the same way. So we have a variety of sources and for each source, we have a variety of configurations and workflows. Hence any app we design needs to accept multiple configurations and workflows for any given source.

Finally: the third challenge. We want to make the most out of TheHive. Creating cases, creating alerts, assigning cases, adding logs, adding observables … all those actions are not an option.

Synapse

After several trials and failures, we came up with Synapse. Basically it is a Python 3 app which sits between TheHive and your incident sources:

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 09.54.28.png
Synapse Overview

To solve the first and third challenge, we rely on connectors. A connector is a Python object dedicated to interact with a security device. In the picture above, you can see the Exchange Connector and TheHive Connector. To extend the number of sources, you just have to develop the connector that corresponds to your device.

Regarding the second challenge, we rely on workflows. Workflows are python scripts who use connectors to automate repetitive tasks when tracking a case. Not happy with the current workflow? Develop your own using the connectors.

At this point, you probably wonder why there’s an API in the picture above. Well, the API is the link between the user and the workflows. By hitting a specific endpoint of the Synapse’s API, the corresponding workflow will be launched. That way the user can choose what to launch, especially if they are only interested in a particular workflow. Moreover, using an API allows us to listen to TheHive’s real-time stream and initiate some actions like closing a QRadar offense when the related case is solved.

At the moment, Synapse includes the Exchange connector and the associated Ews2Case workflow. The workflow features:

  • Case creation from emails
  • Case assignment
  • Adding email bodies to task logs
  • Adding email replies to the case
  • Adding email attachments as observables

And of course, everything is done to minimize the number of clicks! Check the workflow documentation to understand how it works under the hood.

We’re still working on the QRadar connector and the associated workflows but if you can’t wait, have a look at the work done by the community like pierrebarlet’s script.

Check it Out

As usual, Synapse is an open source and free software released under the AGPL (Affero General Public License).

Synapse has its own repository. Start with the user guide and read about the workflow you want to use as you’ll need to configure it.

Troubles?

Shall you encounter any difficulty, please join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We will be more than happy to help!

The Mind-Boggling Implications of Multi-Tenancy

TheHive offers a powerful yet generic query API for all the data stored by the platform in the underlying Elasticsearch database.

Thanks to its DSL (Domain Specific Language), TheHive can handle complex search queries such as the following:

Among all the unassigned tasks, show me all those associated with cases which severity is high but also contain the highest number of observables which datatype is  ‘mail’

When faced with such complex queries, TheHive translates them using its DSL and sends them over to Elasticsearch to obtain the results. TheHive’s dashboards draw their power from such querties.

And while such capability is highly desirable in our opinion, a capability that we will further leverage to add a completely revamped search module in the upcoming Cerana 1 (TheHive 3.1) release, it greatly complicates RBAC (or multi-tenancy) in TheHive.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 11.50.39.png
A Sneak Peek at the New Search Module of the Upcoming Cerana 1 (TheHive 3.1) Release

Indeed, in the RBAC world, the conversion of any search queries submitted to TheHive into an Elasticsearch one is fully dependent on the user context. The user view must be kept within the boundaries of the group or groups to which they belong. Each search filter,  each search parameter, must return only the results that the user can view.

The data scope needs to be clearly identified at the case level. To perform a search against task logs for example, TheHive will need to identify the parent task log, then identify the parent case and only then verify the scope. This is no small undertaking.

Similarities across cases or alerts, such as the Related Cases feature or the relationships between a given alert and existing cases, would need additional work that has not been clearly identified at this stage. But the difficulties do not stop there. Any element that has no clear relationship with case entities will have to be singled out and specific code would need to be added to limit access according to the RBAC rules. This will be clearly the case for the audit trail. Also, what should TheHive display when an analyst group is working on a case that shares observables with another one belonging to a different group? Shall it allow a limited view without any details so that groups may request from a super administrator to authorize both groups to collaborate on the investigation, something that distributed CERTs or SOCs in a large corporation may desire? Or shall it keep the data completely isolated as MSSPs which serve multiple customers with a single instance will require? We know the answer: make it configurable. But take a step back and think of the implications at the code (and security) level.

Contrary to the feature we added to Cortex 2, which allow multiple organizations to use a single Cortex instance, multi-tenancy in TheHive is a much more complex feature to implement and which is expected to have a significant impact on the platform’s performance. It will also need extreme caution to avoid blind spots that attackers (and not so innocent tenants) may exploit to circumvent scope limitations and extend their view to data they are not supposed to access. That’s why we had to delay it to Cerana 2 (TheHive 3.2), currently planned for the end of October 2018.

If you are well versed in Elasticsearch and Scala and willing to help implement this feature, please contact us at support@thehive-project.org.

 

TheHive 3.0.10 Released

Rejoice DFIR fighters! Your favorite Security Incident Response Platform has just gotten better. TheHive 3.0.10 (codename Cerana 0.10) is just out of the oven. Thomas and Nabil, as the true code Chefs they are, have fixed a number of issues and added a few enhancements in this release. Read on, update and defend your constituency!

Fixes

  • #446: keep observable reports when performing a case merge operation
  • #592: fix the error message when an observable is created with invalid data
  • #583: cases can be merged by using their case ID
  • #584: correct error messages when performing invalid searches
  • #586: a regression was introduced that prevented analyzer names from being reflected in the modal view of mini-reports
  • #512: there were situations were mini-reports won’t display upon job success
  • #522: under certain circumstances, TheHive failed to synchronize MISP events correctly
  • #555: private dashboards must not be searchable
  • #557: fix an error when a merged case is deleted

Enhancements

  • #579: rotate application.log to keep it from becoming huge
  • #564: when submitting a job to Cortex, send the case ID as well
  • #563: poll the status of connectors (MISP, Cortex) every minute and update the UX display accordingly
  • #548: sort related cases by the amount of shared observables
  • #546: display start and end times for closed tasks

Support

Something does not work as expected? You have troubles installing or upgrading? You have spotted new bugs? No worries, please join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

Cerana 0.9 and Cortex 2.0.4 are Out!

We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Cerana 0.9 (TheHive 3.0.9) and Cortex 2.0.4. These hotfix releases address a number of issues and we encourage you to update your current installation at your earliest opportunity. For your comfort and sanity. Seriously.

We also took this opportunity to update Cortex analyzers to fix issues with CIRCL Passive SSL, Hybrid Analysis, and the Joe Sandbox URL Analysis template. Moreover, we have updated the cortexutils library to set the taxonomy level to info if it is invalid. To upgrade cortexutils​ to 1.2.4:

sudo pip install -U cortexutils && sudo pip3 install -U cortexutils

To update your Cortex analyzers:

cd /path/to/Cortex-analyzers && git pull

Note: the Bluecoat analyzer was removed since it does not comply with the updated Terms of Service of Symantec Web Pulse SiteReview. Symantec does no longer permit programmatic querying of the service.

Fixes in Cerana 0.9

  • #527: display long reports when the analyst clicks on the corresponding short reports. Meh!
  • #541: make the drop-down menu for case templates scroll when there is a truckload of them.
  • #452: prevent WSAPI failure.
  • #531: fix naming inconsistencies in the Live Stream.
  • #530: correct an error when trying to analyze a filename using the Hybrid Analysis analyzer.
  • #543: generate an error if unable to contact Cortex.
  • #518: merge observable sightings when merging cases.
  • #535: fix the tag color of the PhishTank analyzer which was transparent under certain conditions.

Fixes in Cortex 2.0.4

  • #89: let a read,analyze user change or display their API key.
  • #91: sort analyzers by name.
  • #92: redirect users to the index page when they click on the Cortex logo.
  • #93: under the Organization > Configurations page, the UI displays wrong green checkmarks for empty configurations.
  • #94: orgadmin users are not able to update their organization’s users after the users are created. The UI doesn’t display any error message.
  • #95: avoid ‘lax programming’, Nabil style😜, and strictly filter the list of analyzers in the Run dialog.
  • #90: fix Python dependency errors in docker.

Support

Something does not work as expected? You have troubles installing or upgrading? Spotted new bugs? No worries, please open issues on GitHub or comment on existing ones, join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

CorrectionApril 14, 2018
An earlier version of this post did not mention that the Bluecoat analyzer was removed in the latest Cortex Analyzers repository release.

Cortex 2, TheHive and a Whole Slew of Updates

After announcing Cortex 2.0.0 and TheHive 3.0.7, the first version of your favorite SIRP that is (supposedly) compatible with the brand-new version of Cortex, last week, we thought it was time to relax and enjoy the upcoming, long Easter weekend, the sunny sky of Paris (if you can pierce the veil of the Forever Grey Cloud™ that is hanging over the city of lights), and great jazz music. Heck, I even tweeted about it … only to be proven wrong by Life (and Murphy).

We literally field tested Cortex 2 for 3 weeks, we squashed bugs here and there, until almost the very last minute before the release. And yet, our QA needs to be improved by leaps and bounds as we had to release Cortex 2.0.1 one day after unveiling 2.0.0 to correct some additional bugs. And then some members of the core team and of our growing user community took it for a spin. And all hell broke lose. Well, almost 🙂

good_code
Source: XKCD

Session collisions (when TheHive and Cortex 2 are used on the same machine), analyzer malfunctions, connectivity problems … issues that were not identified during the testing phase, even in a production environment, where everything worked as expected. And we call this ‘Computer Science’. Right, right…

So we worked hard, took out our Code Hammer (it’s like Thor’s but cyber) and blasted away all the bugs that we found out or that were reported to us (arigato gozaimasu!) and we are happy to announce the immediate availability of Cortex 2.0.2, TheHive 3.0.8, Cortexutils 1.2.3 and Cortex-Analyzers 1.9.2.

TL;DR Install or upgrade Cortex 2.0.2, update Cortexutils, git pull the Cortex-analyzers repo to get the latest version of the repository, upgrade to TheHive 3.0.8, follow the Quick Start Guide and have a drink.

If you have time (which is admittedly quite scarce nowadays), please read on the changelogs:

What’s Next?

As stated in the previous post, we will release a new version of Cortex4py in order to make it compatible with Cortex 2, continue the work we started with our MISP Project friends to support MISP attribute enrichment through Cortex 2 (MISP currently only supports enrichment using Cortex 1), and perform a long-overdue overhaul of our documentation. We will also release a brand new version of TheHive4py.

Last but not least, we’ll take a hard look at ourselves and our QA. You expect us from us high quality and we hold ourselves to high standards. And we will deliver.

Support

Something does not work as expected? You have troubles installing or upgrading? Spotted new bugs? No worries, please open issues on GitHub or comment on existing ones, join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

Cerana 0.4: Hotfix & Way Beyond

Update: Cerana 0.5 (TheHive 3.0.5) was released on Feb 8, 2018 to fix a regression introduced by Cerana 0.4, pertaining to the observable mini-reports. Please install 3.0.5 instead.

Waiting for the menu, one of the numerous guests of TheHive Project’s world-renowned code restaurant grows impatient. He stands up and walks toward the kitchen, looking for a waiter to chastise. It’s certainly a free meal and, looking at the reviews on CodeAdvisor, a delicious one. But guests shouldn’t wait more than two minutes to get a copy of the menu, right?

As he approaches the door leading to the kitchen, it slams open and an all-smiling, all-French-looking man dressed in a bee costume comes out carrying hot plates. Peering at their content, the once angry guest cheers up as he stares down at Cerana 0.4 or TheHive 3.0.4 if you prefer. If the looks and smells of the dish match its taste, this will be a terrific meal.

As he sees how Cerana 0.4 prompted a change of heart of the guest, the waiter coming out of the kitchen where TheHive Chefs were busy creating this new recipe goes on describing its content.

Mon bon Monsieur‘, he starts in near-perfect Parisian-English accent, ‘this is the plat du jour, or the dish of the day if you prefer. Even though the mighty Chefs insist on calling it a hotfix, not only it fixes eleven bugs in previous versions but it adds four new features and two enhancements. Would you like me to describe them?’

dt010205.gif
Source : dilbert.com © Scott Adams

The guest, feeling hungry, his mouth watery, but feeling bad about what he was about to say to the waiter just a few seconds ago nods. So the waiter goes on and describe how the latest release of TheHive will serve his hunger for efficient though free security incident response platforms even better.

Fixed Bugs

Enhancements

New Features

At this point, the guest cannot control his lust so he snatches one of the plates out the waiter’s hands, runs back to his table and start installing Cerana 0.4 to unleash its power and use it to fight cybercrime. Bon appétit !

Feeling Generous? Donate!

As you know, we are a FOSS project and donations are always welcome to make our products even better for the community.

All donations go to Creative Source, the non-profit organization we have created, and we will use them to improve TheHive, Cortex & Hippocampe but also to develop (even better) integrations with other FOSS solutions such as MISP.

So if you are feeling generous, please contact us at support@thehive-project.org.

Creative Source can also provide so-called professional, entreprise-grade support, help integrating the products, train your analysts before they drain or assist you in specific areas such as developing in-house analyzers for Cortex.

Download & Get Down to Work

If you have an existing installation of TheHive, please follow the migration guide.

If you are performing a fresh installation, read the installation guide corresponding to your needs and enjoy. Please note that you can install TheHive using an RPM or DEB package, use Docker, install it from a binary or build it from sources.

Support

Something does not work as expected? You have troubles installing or upgrading? No worries, please join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

CorrectionFeb 6, 2018
An earlier version of this post contained an incomplete sentence.