As we announced on May 14, 2019, we have been working very hard to add Elasticsearch 6 support to TheHive and Cortex as Elasticsearch 5.x went the way of the dodo when Elastic plugged life support off this venerable version. We also took this occasion to upgrade AngularJS and its sub projects to 1.7.8, the latest 1.x version as of this writing. Additionally, Grunt build dependencies have also been updated to their latest compatible versions.
It took us more time than initially foreseen but hey, we all love deadlines. We all love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
TheHive 3.4.0-RC1 and Cortex 3.0.0-RC3 are now available on every Internet pipe near you and before you take them for a spin to help us identify any issues to make the stable releases rock-solid, let us walk you through some important information. Relax and grab a drink (and send good wine our way, we can always use some!).
In addition to ES5 and 6 support and the update of AngularJS, this version corrects a few bugs that were identified in the latest stable version (3.3.1) and adds a few features. The most important one in our opinion is the ability to import a file from a Cortex report. This requires Cortex 3.0.0-RC3. The full list of changes is available at the following location.
ES5 and ES6 support, AngularJS et cetera et cetera. Well you know the song right? Not quite as Cortex 3.0.0 significantly facilitates analyzer and responder installation and updates, thanks to Docker as we touched upon in a blog post earlier this year.
As detailed in the Cortex migration guide, which we recommend you read thoroughly, you can migrate from Cortex 2 and keep using analyzers and responders the same way (using processes), use the new Docker-based analyzers and responders or mix and match between running processes and docker containers (but then, you gotta pay extra attention to configure properly which analyzer/responder runs in which fashion).
Moreover, if you use the new dockerised analyzers and responders, you will be able to choose if you want to have them autoupdated (that’s the default behaviour) and if so, pick the bleeding edge, potentially buggy versions, the minor releases or, if you are risk-averse, stick with stable ones.
Cortex 3.0.0-RC3 also adds the ability to retrieve files resulting from analyzer jobs and last but not least, corrects an information disclosure bug that allowed non-admin users to retrieve the details of other users through the API. The vulnerability was reported by Adam Maris so kudos to him!
TheHive 3.4.0-RC1 and Cortex 3.0.0-RC3 use HTTP transport (9200/tcp by default) to connect to Elasticsearch instead of its native binary protocol (9300/tcp by default).
SSL/TLS, including when using a client certificate, can be configured to connect securely to ES. However this has not been tested yet.
Support of X-Pack and Search Guard is discontinued for anything but basic and SSL client authentication, which would still work.
Caution: Performance May Take a Hit!
The parent-child relationships we use behind the scene in Elasticsearch could make queries significantly slower with ES 6 and in our limited testing, we had the impression that performance took a hit. So please be cautious there and we’d be grateful if you could report any sluggishness you notice during your tests of the new versions with ES6.
Some of our die-hard fans noticed that we silently released TheHive 3.3.0 a few days ago, after six release candidates. Well. Silently won’t be the right word to use in this case as we are drowning under work and feature requests and we sometimes postpone communication in favour of getting true real work done.
So, without any further ado, we are happy to announce the official availability of our latest (and of course greatest) release of the most-advanced, next-gen, HI (Human Intelligence), gluten-free, (add here any keyword that you fancy to help us get the Gartner attention and land in the Magic Quadrant™), free and open source Security Incident Response Platform Security Orchestration Automation & Response Platform.
As stated earlier, TheHive 3.3.0 went through the largest number of release candidates to date in order to ensure it contains more features than bugs (or unexpected functionality as our dear Nabil call them sometimes).
TheHive and Cortex are a huge success. According to our estimates, there are about a hundred organisations of different sizes and locations using or testing them. And as the number of users grows, so does the number of features, professional service and support requests.
We tried finding a solution to keep TheHive Project as healthy as possible. So we created Creative Source, a nonprofit organisation (NPO), in the hope that we could leverage it to hire more developers thanks to the generous donations of our large user community. Sadly, not everyone in this world is generous and altruistic. At the end, all but one company (yes, exactly one) trusted us enough to make a donation and get tailored services for its needs in return. Most of the others either did not reply to our proposals or explained that their procurement process does not accommodate working with NPOs.
As we informed you a few weeks ago, some members of our core team are finalising an alternative option to ensure not only the viability of TheHive and Cortex as FOSS products on the long run but the ability to provide professional training, support, and services without making highly bureaucratic, think-in-the-box-but-never-outside procurement departments freak out.
On February 10, 2019, we released TheHive 3.3-RC2. It contained new features such as bulk alert merging, alert sorting, observable tag autocompletion, exporting case tags to MISP & more. Since then your favourite French code Chefs have been beesy refining TheHive 3.3 through new release candidates while getting Cortex 3 ready for prime time.
Over the weekend, Nabil decided he was not working enough already during the week. So he drained his batteries to the very last drop to release TheHive 3.3-RC5 before he crashed headfirst into his bed for a long, reparative sleep. Cumulatively since RC2, we added several features and squashed 10 bugs as described below.
Note that release candidates are beta software. You can get TheHive 3.3-RC5 from the pre-release, beta repositories. As usual, we encourage you to test it and report any bugs or issues you spot so we can address them before the final release.
#888: add a new UI configuration admin section. One of the first use cases of this section consist in disabling creating empty cases (i.e. cases not associated with a template). It will be gradually improved with new use cases so speak your mind!
#893: disable the case template selection when trying to merge multiple alerts for which no case template exists.
TheHive Project’s code Chefs, dressed in their outright haute cuisine outfit, including the traditional toque blanche, have been quite busy lately, working on dockerizing all the Cortex analyzers (more on this later in an upcoming post), and doing tedious work to prepare the replacement of Elasticsearch by a GraphDB which will help us finally release much-awaited features such as multi-tenancy, delayed for way too many months (yeah, yeah, don’t chastise them but feel free to help them). In the meantime, they found enough bandwidth to release a new major version of TheHive.
Version 3.3, currently a release candidate includes several bug fixes and many new features as outlined below. Please note that TheHive 3.3-RC2 is beta software. As all our other release candidates, you can grab it from the pre-release, beta repositories. As usual, we would truly appreciate your help making it a great stable release by testing it as thoroughly as possible and reporting back any bugs or issues you encounter so we can address them before the final release.
TheHive 3.3-RC1 was very short-lived. Few hours after its release, and thanks to Chris (a.k.a. crackytsi on GitHub), Thomas Franco, our back-end mastermind, discovered an issue with the Debian 8 and Debian 9 packages.
#836: add a new exportCaseTags parameter to the MISP configuration section. If set to true, all the tags associated with a case will be exported along with it to MISP.
#861: add support for Java higher than 8, such as OpenJDK 11.
#271: bulk merge alerts into a case. Select multiple alerts at once and create a single case out of them or merge them into an existing case using its ID.
#824: add ability to sort alerts by reference, status, type, source…
#826: when previewing an alert, there are sometimes no overlap with an existing case. However, an analyst might already know, thanks to HI (Human Intelligence), that the alert should be merged into a specific case. This is now possible thanks to a new button.
#769: improve case template selection for case creation. If you have defined a large set of case templates, you will be able to sort/filter to find the case you want to use when creating a New Case.
#657: add observable tags auto-completion. Contributed by Tyler Chong (Thanks!).
#864: do not return a session cookie when making an API call.
#856: there was a bug where after a followed alert PATCH, if the alert has already been promoted to a case, the case is not updated. Now, if the alert has follow=true, if it gets updated, its status is set to Updated and the related case is updated too.
#845: assigned but unstarted tasks were not showing up in My Tasks.
#844: enable user account locking through the Delete API endpoint.
Guess what? Our integration with MISP, the de facto standard for threat sharing, has just gotten better with our latest beta release: TheHive 3.2.0-RC1.
While you could synchronize TheHive with one or multiple MISP instances in earlier versions and select events using filters like their age, the number of attributes they contain or exclude those which are created by specific organisations or contain one or several black-listed tags, 3.2.0-RC1 adds the ability to whitelist tags, thus limiting the events that would show up in TheHive’s Alerts pane to only those which have been tagged with labels your SOC/CSIRT/CERT needs to act on. This can be very useful for example if your Cyber Threat Intelligence analysts pre-select or create events in MISP and tag for SOC consumption those that need to be acted on.
To use this feature, use the whitelist.tags parameter in the MISP section of TheHive’s application.conf as described in the documentation.
TheHive 3.2.0-RC1 will also show you the description of an observable if any while hovering over one in the Observables tab. You can also see observable tags when previewing an alert in the Alerts pane.
Last but not least, some users reported severe problems when they enabled TLS/SSL directly on TheHive without resorting to a reverse proxy such as NGINX. Blame that on the crappy TLS support in Play framework ;-). So we highly recommend using a reverse proxy for that purpose, and delegate authentication to it if you are relying on X.509 authentication, as TheHive 3.2.0-RC1 allows you to. Please check the Single Sign-On on TheHive with X.509 Certificates guide for further information.
For additional details on this release, please check the full changelog.
Warning Capt’n Robinson!
The RC in 3.2.0-RC1 stands for Release Candidate. Please help us make a great stable release out of it by testing it as thoroughly as possible and reporting back any bugs or issues you encounter so we can address them before the final release. You’ll find this release candidate in the pre-release, beta repositories.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help.
A few months ago, we released Synapse, our first “meta” alert feeder for TheHive in order to lower the burden of highly repetitive tasks on incident handlers. Thanks to a scalable and modular design, Synapse aims to make incident response easier by automating some of its tedious parts.
The first step towards this challenge was based on the integration of Microsoft Exchange with TheHive in Synapse 1.0.0. This way, user notifications pertaining to suspicious emails can be easily consumed and acted upon in TheHive.
Today, we are releasing version 1.1.0 which goes further by adding support for Microsoft Exchange O365 and the IBM QRadar SIEM.
Theoretically, Exchange O365 was supposed to be functional in Synapse 1.0.0.
However, since we did not have an O365 account we could not fully test that feature. Thankfully with the help of one of our users we managed to solve a bug and finally validate the Exchange O365 integration.
For more details about Exchange and TheHive, have a lookhere.
IBM QRadar SIEM
Members of TheHive’s Core Team have practical experience with QRadar and we decided to make good use of it to the benefit of our fellow analysts.
With the Community Edition of QRadar in one hand and an instance of TheHive in the other, we managed to create alerts in TheHive out of QRadar offenses. Furthermore, when a case or alert related to a QRadar offense is closed in TheHive, it also closes it in QRadar automatically.
For more details about QRadar and TheHive, have a look here. Alternatively, you may also want to consider Pierre Barlet’s qradar2thehivescript.
Send your Ideas our Way
With this 1.1.0 release, the list of integrated products with TheHive goes up to three: Exchange, Exchange O365 and QRadar. However, we don’t really have a plan regarding the next candidate for integration so tweet us at @TheHive_Project and tell us what you want!
When you need to interact with TheHive’s REST API and you ain’t shy of working with Python, TheHive4py is the way to go. It’s a free, open source library we provide to allow you to easily create alert feeders, automate certain tasks like creating cases, assign them to analysts and much more. For example, Synapse, DigitalShadows2TH and Zerofox2TH leverage the library to send alerts to your favourite SIRP/SOAR.
Sometime ago, we decided that it was time to overhaul the whole library and we began working on version 2.0.0 which will be easier to use. It should also support the full set of TheHive’s REST API calls. In the meantime we decided to release version 1.5.0, shortly followed by version 1.5.1 to support some new functionality contributed by our user community and correct a few issues.
New Features Introduced in 1.5.0
#79: Add search support for tasks, contributed by neok0
TheHive Project’s Master Cooks are happy to announce the immediate availability of TheHive 3.1.0. This is the first release of your favourite SIRP (Security Incident Response Platform) or, if you fancy new buzzwords, SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation & Response) that we put out as a release candidate to give sufficient time for our ever growing user community to test it and report any outstanding bug before publishing a stable version.
Indeed, TheHive 3.1.0 brings significant new functionalities that we detailed in previous blog posts. One of the most prominent features of this new major version is the support of responders through Cortex 2.1, also released today as a stable version.
Responders are similar to analyzers but instead of analyzing stuff, they allow you to respond to stuff. Put otherwise, they give you the ability to implement specific actions by a simple click from different elements in TheHive: alerts, cases, tasks, task logs and observables.
For instance, imagine a user in your constituency reporting a suspicious email. Using Synapse or an alternative alert feeder, the email reported by the user will automatically show up as an alert in your alert pane. Before starting working on it as a case, you preview it only to realise it is a scam and it does not warrant your time & effort. Still, you’d like to reply to the user.
In such a case, you could implement a responder that will not only send an email back to the user asking them to ignore such a scam but that can mark the alert as read. Using. A. Simple. Click. C’est beau n’est-ce pas ?
Going through all 71 (yes, 71) issues that have been closed with this release and the 3 RCs we published since July 31, 2018 will be terribly boring but you can read the full changelog while dipping your croissant in your espresso cup.
We’d rather encourage you to install this new version, which is as usual, AI-free, machine learning free, cyberbullshit-free, gluten-free, organic (well as much as free, open source software can be anyway), vegan (if you can eat it), and most importantly made with huge love and care for the SOC, CSIRT & CERT communities and other fellow cybercrime fighters. So go ahead and try it out. It won’t cost you a dime (or a franc if you are a French old timer).
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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 email@example.com. We are here to help.
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.
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.
After several trials and failures, we came up with Synapse. Basically it is a Python 3app which sits between TheHive and your incident sources:
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
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).