Unleash the Power of Dockerized Analyzers in 5 Minutes

One of the big improvements you’ll notice in Cortex 3 is the support for dockerized analyzers. And amongst some of their benefits, the installation process has been significantly simplified. So let’s assume you do not want to bang your head against Python, or other library dependencies. Then read one for a way to set up analyzers and run them quickly.

The following instructions have been tested on Ubuntu 18.04. If you already have a Cortex instance up and running, you can jump directly to the docker installation section below.

Install System Packages

Prerequisites

  • Ensure your system contains the required packages:
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl software-properties-common
  • Oh, and Cortex should have access to the internet 😉

Cortex

Configure your system to install packages from TheHive-Project repositories.

echo 'deb https://dl.bintray.com/thehive-project/debian-stable any main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/thehive-project.list
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://pgp.mit.edu --recv-key 562CBC1C

Install Cortex:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cortex

The Cortex files will be put in /opt/cortex. The Cortex binary will be executed using the cortex account.

The configuration file is /etc/cortex/application.conf.

The Cortex log file is /var/log/cortex/application.log.

Docker

We recommend reading the Docker documentation to install the software.

For Ubuntu 18.04, you can run the following commands:

wget -O- https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo apt-key add -
add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu bionic stable"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce

Use Docker with Cortex

Start by giving the cortex account the permission to run Docker.

usermod -a -G docker cortex

Next, in the Cortex configuration file (/etc/cortex/application.conf) ensure jobs will be executed using Docker:

job {
runner = [docker]
}

Follow the Standard Analyzer Catalog

If you are a complete Cortex noob, please read the Quick Start Guide.

Configure Cortex to get the catalog with up-to-date versions of analyzers. Edit /etc/cortex/application.conf to set the catalog URLs in the analyzer configuration section as shown below:

## ANALYZERS
#
analyzer {
  urls = ["https://dl.bintray.com/thehive-project/cortexneurons/analyzers.json"]
[..]
}

Once Cortex is configured, restart the service with the following command, wait a few seconds and you should be able to connect to Cortex on https://<yourCortexHost&gt;:9001 et voilà!

sudo service restart cortex

Important Note: The catalog analyzers.json contains information regarding versions of analyzers we consider stable and that are updated with bug fixes. This is typically synchronised with our master branch on Github. When you are using this catalog, you are de facto benefiting from the latest analyzer updates without needing to refresh anything in Cortex or setup again the configuration to get the latest version.

We also provide two additional catalogs:

  • analyzers-stable.json which strictly follows versions of analyzers if you do not want any uncontrolled updates. What does that mean in practice? You will have to click on the Refresh button in Cortex to update your analyzers, disable old ones and enable new versions. Moreover, you will also have to setup again their configuration. Typically, if you installed and setup Cortex with this catalog and the current version of FileInfo analyzers is 6.0, you won’t benefit from the next version, let’s say 6.1, unless you refresh Cortex.
  • analyzers-devel.jsonwhich contains information about new analyzers or version of analyzers that contains code that has been reviewed but not tested enough (or even not tested at all at times) to be deemed ready for production environments. This is typically synchronized with the develop branch of our Github repository.

Same goes for responders. All available catalogs for Cortex are published on bintray so you can choose the one that better fits your needs (or your risk/gambling profile :p).

TheHive 3.4.0 & Cortex 3.0.0 Released

For many months, we have been concentrating our efforts on TheHive 4, the next major version of your favourite Security Incident Response Platform, which we’ll finally provide RBAC (or multi-tenancy if you prefer), a feature that Cortex had for quite some time now.

Source : dilbert.com © Scott Adams

As you well know, both TheHive and Cortex rely on Elasticsearch (ES) for storage. The choice of ES made sense in the beginning of the project but as we added additional features and had new ideas to give you the best experience possible, we faced several ES quirks and shortcomings that proved challenging if not outright blocking for making our roadmap a reality, including RBAC implementation in TheHive, a far more complex endeavour than RBAC in Cortex. Transitioning from ES to graph databases was necessary and since we want our existing users to have a smooth migration path, TheHive 4 (the first release candidate should come out of the oven by the end of the year) will support both ES and graph databases.

But while we were focusing on that, we completely lost sight of the end of life of ES 5.6 so we wrote an apology to you, our dear users, back in May.

Shortly after, we released TheHive 3.4.0-RC1, to add support for ES 6 (with all the breaking changes it has introduced). We also did the same for Cortex with the release of Cortex 3.0.0-RC3. We also took that opportunity to clear out some AngularJS technodebt we had.

We then asked you to take them for a spin and report back any bugs you find given that both versions had to support ES 5.6 and ES 6 to allow for proper migration.

After a few rounds of release candidates, we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of TheHive 3.4.0 and Cortex 3.0.0 as stable releases.

Before upgrading your existing software to these new versions, please make sure to read the blog post we wrote back in June. We invite you to pay great attention to the regressions that we were forced to introduce because of ES 6.

You should also note that, in addition to ES 6 support, Cortex 3.0.0 supports fully dockerised analyzers and responders. We’ll elaborate on this in a future blog post soon.

Changelogs

If you are interested in some nitty-gritty details, we invite you to read the relevant changelogs since our last post on the subject:

Running Into Trouble?

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 as usual!

More than 120 ways of Analyzing your Observables

There’s a new version of Cortex-Analyzers in cybertown and its has an awesome, mind-blowing name and that’s… wait for it… wait for it: 2.1.0.

In this new release, we added two analyzers which bring the total number to more than 120:

We could not duly test DNSSinkhole since we do not have access to the associated service. So we would really appreciate it if you could test it and let us know whether it works or not.

Others analyzers have been fixed or improved:

DNSSinkhole

This analyzer lets you check if an IP address has been registered in your DNS sinkhole. TheHive displays the analyzer results as follows:

DNSSinkhole analyzer: long report
DNSSinkhole analyzer: short report

TalosReputation

This analyzer lets you determine whether an IP address has been reported as a threat on Cisco Talos Intelligence service. No special access to the service is required to run the analyzer.

TheHive displays the analyzer results as follows:

Talos Reputation: long report
Talos Reputation analyzer : short report

Crt.sh

This analyzer has been enriched to display SHA-1 fingerprints. The long report format has been updated to reflect this new information.

Crt.sh analyzer: long report

FileInfo

FileInfo has been updated and is now able to parse PDF files and extract IOCs such as URLs, hosts, domains, IPs, hashes and many more.The analyzer does also support the last version of the extract-msg library.

FileInfo analyzer: IOC Parser long report
FileInfo analyzer: IOC Parser short report

VirusTotal and Python3

The VirusTotal analyzer, including all its flavours, now uses Python3 and an updated virustotal-api library.

Yeti API key

An optional API key can now be configured and used by the Yeti analyzer.

Malwares_GetReport

A hash computation has been fixed in this analyzer.

EMLParser

A first fix has been introduced to avoid this analyzer to crash when there is no content-description in content_header, and a second has been added to correct a header display issue.

IBM XForce Lookup

The analyzer has been improved to allow users to add a trailing / at the end of the API URL without breaking everything.

Updating your Analyzers in Cortex 2.x

Each analyzer and responder comes with its own, pip compatible requirements.txt file. Run the following commands to update your Cortex analyzers to the latest version:

cd path/to/Cortex-Analyzers
git pull
for I in analyzers/*/requirements.txt; do sudo -H pip2 install -U -r $I || true; done && \
for I in analyzers/*/requirements.txt; do sudo -H pip3 install -U -r $I || true; done

for I in responders/*/requirements.txt; do sudo -H pip3 install -U -r $I || true; done

Once done, do not forget to login to Cortex as an orgadmin and click on the Refresh Analyzers button. Refer to the online Cortex documentation for further details.

Dockerised Analyzers

Cortex 3.x gives you the opportunity to run dockerised analyzers and responders. This means that you no longer have to download all the git repository of Cortex-Analyzers and run lengthy commands to update your analyzers and responders.

If you want to use dockerised analyzers and responders, ensure that the URL of the catalog.json file corresponding to the Cortex-Analyzers repository is registered in application.conf. Please note that this won’t work if you are tracking the stable catalog.

After doing so, do not forget to login to Cortex as an orgadmin, click on the Refresh Analyzers button, then Disable and Enable again each analyzer and responder. Analyzer (and responder) updates should occur automatically as long as docker.autoUpdate is set to true in application.conf (this is the default setting).

Update TheHive Report Templates

If you are using TheHive, you must import the new report templates in your instance as follows:

  • download the updated package
  • log in TheHive using an administrator account
  • go to Admin > Report templates menu
  • click on Import templates button and select the downloaded package

Running Into Trouble?

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!

Searching for an Elastic? Here, Take 6!

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!).

Source: https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-11-10

TheHive 3.4.0-RC1

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.

Prior to migrating to 3.4.0-RC1, please read the migration guide.

Cortex 3.0.0-RC3

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!

Warning: Regressions Ahead!

As outlined in our previous post about these new versions:

  • 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.

An Apology

Dear Users,

We owe you an apology. We thought we would never need to support Elasticsearch 7 or even 6. We thought we could stick with the latest version of Elasticsearch 5 as the underlying storage and indexing engine for TheHive and Cortex until we would be able to complete the transition to a graph database. Moving to such a database is a necessity for your favourite open source, free Security Incident Response Platform and its analysis and orchestration companion, a necessity that has grown out of our frustration with Elasticsearch and its limitations, with the breaking changes that ES 6 introduced which forbid a smooth transition and puts a significant toll on an open source initiative such as ours.

We initially thought we could complete the transition by October of last year and finally offer you long-desired features such as RBAC and multi-tenancy as well as establish a solid ground to implement some exciting ideas that would help you lower the barrier to entry for junior analysts, save more time and concentrate on your work instead of having to master copy/paste between various interfaces or moving from one tool to the other.

Sadly, things did not play out the way we wanted. As TheHive and Cortex were adopted by more and more organisations, feature requests kept piling up and being generous bees, we have always strived to keep our users happy within the confines of our limited resources. Certainly, our user community helped us significantly by contributing a huge number of analyzers to Cortex in no time, making the total amount fly past the 100 landmark. However, we had to rely mostly on ourselves for heavy-duty backend work while steadily releasing new versions to satisfy the appetite for capabilities that sounded reasonable and feasible within a realistic, acceptable timeframe. Multi-tenancy and RBAC also proved more complex than initially foreseen and since we hate a half-baked recipe (blame it on our French culture and our love for delicious food), we did not want to rush things out and add flimsy ‘patch’ code.

Source : https://kininaru-korean.net/archives/10305

So we focused on supporting graph databases and working on multi-tenancy and RBAC. You certainly noticed our silence these past weeks. And we completely lost sight of the end of life of ES 5.6 until we realised recently that it was no longer supported by Elastic, not even in critical bug fix mode. When ES 7 was released on April 10, the death sentence of ES 5.6 was pronounced and its coffin permanently nailed.

We know this is a lot to stomach. Welcome to the Upside Down! But remember: keep calm. Help is already on the way and hopefully this time around the cops will arrive before the movie is over. We are shifting our priorities to release new major versions of TheHive and Cortex in order to use a supported version of ES. This work should take a few weeks at least. In the meantime, if you are using TheHive and Cortex with their own, standalone ES instance and you have implemented sane network security measures to shield ES against unwanted remote access, you should be fine.

We also took the opportunity to look at what other external code we rely on and that would need to be updated as well, to avoid falling in the EOL trap again. Glad we looked! The current versions of TheHive and Cortex both use AngularJS 1.5 (here, take a stone and throw it the Hulk’s way on Nabil’s forehead). We are going to update our frontends to use AngularJS 1.7.

We will come up imminently with a concrete action plan to address our embarrassing miscalculation. Meanwhile, please accept our sincere apologies and rest assured that we won’t let you down.

ごめんなさい 🙏🏼

Cortex-Analyzers 1.15.3 get ready for URLhaus and Cuckoo

Few improvements have been introduced in this version :

  • Proofpoint analyzer has been updated to use python3 (#417)
  • Long report of Cuckoo Sandbox analyzer has been improved to be able to display Cuckoo v. 2.0.6 reports (#418)
  • URLhaus analyzer has also been updated to use the recently introduced API (#431)

On your Cortex server, update your analyzers with the following command:

$ cd /opt/Cortex-Analyzers && git pull
$ for I in analyzers/*/requirements.txt; do sudo -H /usr/bin/python2 -m pip install -r $I
$ for I in analyzers/*/requirements.txt; do sudo -H /usr/bin/python3 -m pip install -r $I

Updating analyzers should be followed by also updating report templates. Download new report templates and add the archive in TheHive report templates.

Detailed information

Cuckoo Sandbox

Thanks to @nicpenning Cuckoo analyzer is now able to display reports from version  2.0.6 of Cuckoo. With this version, remote connections part of the report has been fixed and is now well displayed

The new cuckoo analyzer template

Notice: This fix has been reviewed by our core team, unfortunately, we have not been able to test it.

URLhaus

Abuse.ch, the operator of URLhaus recently introduced a new API for their service in order to handle bulk queries and reduce costs for their main page that uses CDNs for delivery. Because of that, thanks to Nils Kuhnert, the URLhaus analyzer has been rewritten from scratch. Also, the templates changed because there are three different API endpoints used:

The short reports now display the threat type – which currently is always malware_download and, for the hash observable type, the malware family – if given by URLhaus:

Running Into Trouble?

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 Dockerization Will not be Televised

Do you know what the following set of commands achieve?

$ cd /opt/Cortex-Analyzers
$ sudo git pull
$ for I in $(find /opt/Cortex-Analyzers -name 'requirements.txt'); do sudo -H pip2 install -U -r $I; done \
&& for I in $(find /opt/Cortex-Analyzers -name 'requirements.txt'); do sudo -H pip3 install -U \
-r $I || true; done

The answer is obvious Doctor Watson, right? These highly readable commands (pun intended) allow you to update your Cortex analyzers and responders to the latest stable versions, downloading new ones in the process, going over all the Python 2 and Python 3 dependencies to install the missing ones and upgrade the old ones to make sure they work correctly. These operations take quite a long time and cause some headaches in the process (Hello, I have Python 3.X and this dependency is no longer required, or Hi, I have an old version of Python 2 and it seems I need this other dependency).

And if you are lucky enough to get it running smoothly, you are still not done as you need to log in to the Cortex UI as an organisation administrator (unlike TheHive, Cortex supports multi-tenancy), click on the Refresh analyzers button under Organization > Analyzers then go to Organization > Responders and click on Refresh responders.

So while the answer to the opening question might be simple, updating analyzers and responders is far from being straightforward, to say the least, even if we forget the ugly fact that both are stored in a repository “conveniently” named Cortex-Analyzers*:

thehive@thehive-training:/opt/Cortex-Analyzers$ ls -d a* r*
analyzers  responders

Unnecessary Complexity Must Die

Your lovely, hard-working bees hate unnecessary complexity. Our project’s front page blatantly states our mission to bring Security Incident Response to the masses. And we have to stand by our words even if TheHive and Cortex are free, open source solutions and we do not gain anything from them save for the huge satisfaction of helping our fellow incident handlers level the fight against cybercriminals & all kinds of other animals of the APT (Advanced Persistent Troll Threat) bestiary.

There is only one possible solution: simplify the installation and update process of the current, official 115 analyzers and responders we have as of this writing, the future ones and any private or unofficial ones written in other programming languages such as those developed in Go by Rosetelecom-CERT.

Docker all the Things!

Starting from Cortex 3.0, the next major release of your favourite analysis and active response engine, all analyzers and responders will be dockerized. It will no longer be necessary to install them along with their various dependencies. They will be dowloaded from our cortexengine Docker organisation. Sysadmins might also configure automatic updates.

As a side advantage of using Docker, analyzers, and responders will also be isolated from each other which gives more flexibility and possibilities.

© Steve Simson. This artwork and the title of this blog post are inspired by The Revolution will not be televised, a song from the late and great Gil Scott-Heron.

For those users who have private, custom analyzers and responders that they don’t want or can’t share with the community, several options will be available:

  • Continue managing their analyzers and responders in the same way as currently supported by Cortex 2 (i.e. launch them as processes, with no isolation whatsoever).
  • Dockerize them and store them locally on their Cortex instance.
  • Dockerize them and publish them on a Docker registry, either the official one or a private registry.

A Docker image of Cortex 3 will still be provided. It will contain a Docker engine to launch dockerized analyzers and responders using DIND (Docker in Docker).

It won’t be necessary to modify the code of the current, official analyzers and responders. A drone job will monitor the analyzer and responder repository and automatically build docker images when it detects changes.

The Cortex Web interface will be slightly modified to accommodate the whole process and allow adding in-house/private Certificate Authorities to allow Cortex to smoothly perform updates in those corporate environments where TLS/SSL inspection is enabled.

Nice Movie Trailer. When is it Coming to a Theatre near me?

We are working hard to get Cortex 3 out of the oven in Q1 (of this year, yes). We will reach out to you, dear reader, in due time, to help us test it and refine it before putting it on the digital shelf for free, as usual. We will provide a smooth migration path in order to move safely your current analyzers and responders and their configuration to Cortex 3.

So to paraphrase the late and great Gil Scott-Heron:

The dockerization will not be televised

The dockerization will not be televised

The dockerization will be live.

Since you are here

The success of TheHive and Cortex continue to grow, far more than we initially foresaw. As far as we know, 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 have tried addressing these requests through Creative Source, a nonprofit organisation (NPO). All but one company 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.

Some members of our core team are actively working on alternative options 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 freaking out highly bureaucratic, think-in-the-box-but-never-outside procurement departments.

Stay tuned 🐝


(*) When the idea behind Cortex was born into our hive mind, we did not initially think about active response capabilities. So we naturally called the repository which was supposed to contain analyzers Cortex-Analyzers . When, at a later stage, we added responders, we put them in the same repository for obvious laziness pretences  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Correction: February 15, 2019
Typographical errors have been corrected. Some rewording has been made for the sake of clarity.