Cortex4py 2 is Out!

Cortex, a free, open source software allows security analysts and threat hunters to analyze and enrich observables (IP addresses, hashes, domains, …) collected in the course of an investigation or received from third parties, for example through MISP, the de facto standard for threat sharing.

On March 29, 2018, we released Cortex 2, a major improvement over the previous version which brought, among other cool features, authentication, caching, multi-tenancy (RBAC) and rate limiting. Instead of deploying several Cortex 1 instances behind reverse proxies which would implement authentification, administrators can deploy a single Cortex 2, create multiple organizations and serve the needs of various information security populations while enjoying extra features.

On May 31, 2018, we published a brand new API guide so that developers can take advantage of the powerful REST API of the product. Sadly, Cortex4py, the FOSS Python library we provide to interact with the API was not compatible with Cortex 2. Until today.

Thanks to the hard work of our dear Nabil Adouani, we are happy to announce the immediate availability of Cortex4py 2.0.0, a complete rewrite of the library in Python 3. Cortex4py 2.0.0 is fully compatible with Cortex 2. However, it doesn’t work with Cortex 1.

While TheHive, the highly popular free and open source Security Incident Response Platform (SIRP) we develop has native support for many Cortex 2 instances, Python developers can leverage Cortex4py to interact with Cortex 2, manage organizations, users, analyzer configurations and analyze observables at scale from alternative SIRPs, SIEMs or custom scripts thanks to the 83 analyzers Cortex 2 has as of June 18, 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 20.01.27.png
Cortex 2: there is more than one way to interact with it

Use It

To install Cortex4py, use PIP3:

$ sudo -H pip3 install cortex4py

If you are using Python on a Windows operating system, please forgo the sudo command.

Usage

Cortex4py 2 comes with a usage guide which includes many examples. For example, if you want to fetch the last 10 successful jobs that have been executed against domain names and display the result summaries of those 10 jobs you could write something like:

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 19.58.45.png
Sample Python3 code to retrieve Cortex analyzer results

Migrating from Cortex4py 1

If you have already written scripts using Cortex4py 1.x (for Cortex 1), we tried to keep the already available methods. However, we recommend you adapt your code to leverage the new Cortex4py 2 classes and methods as soon as feasible. Moreover, the existing scripts must be updated to support authentication if you intend to use them with Cortex 2. Please read the Cortex4py 2 usage guide for more information.

Support

Cortex 2.0.0 is brand new software. As such, it might contain bugs and limitations. If you find any or encounter problems, please ask on our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

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.

Unveiling Cortex 2

TheHive Project’s Master Chefs are extremely happy to share, for free their latest recipe with the Cyber Threat Intelligence, Digital Forensics and Incident Response communities: Cortex 2.

As its predecessor, Cortex 2 is published under an AGPL v3 license and it introduces many important features that we brushed upon in a Dec 2017 post.

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Cortex 2 — Architecture

Update: Cortex 2.0.1 was released since this post went live. It corrects a few bugs we uncovered in 2.0.0 as described in the changelog. Please install Cortex 2.0.1 instead of 2.0.0.

Authentication

Cortex 2 supports all the authentication methods that TheHive supports: LDAP, Active Directory, local accounts, API Keys, and X.509 SSO.

To connect your favorite Security Incident Response Platform with Cortex 2, you will need to update TheHive to Cerana 0.7 (TheHive 3.0.7) which was released today as well. This version fixes a regression pertaining to case templates introduced by Cerana 0.6 and is the first version to fully support Cortex 2’s API changes and authentication.

To make TheHive 3.0.7 analyze observables at scale through Cortex 2, you have to create an account on Cortex 2 with the read and analyze roles (see the next section) and generate the associated API Key. Next, feed the key in TheHive’s /etc/thehive/application.conf as described in the documentation et voilà !

TheHive 3.0.7 remains compatible with Cortex 1 and you can connect it to a mixed set of Cortex 1 and/or Cortex 2 instances with no issues.

Organizations, Analyzers and Rate Limiting

Cortex 2 introduces multi-tenancy through organizations and each organization can have its own set of users, with different roles, its own set of analyzers and, if necessary, rate limits that will prevent analysts from burning quotas.

Multi-tenancy has several interesting use cases. For instance, if you are the CSIRT or CERT of a large multinational organization with several regional teams, you can create an organization for each region within your constituency and enable the analyzers that they may need to use. Let’s assume that you bought a VirusTotal subscription that limits you to 5000 requests per month. You can configure the corresponding analyzers to give each region a fair share of that quota and keeping some requests for your own use.

In case you are a commercial CSIRT or an MSSP, you could do the same for your customers by installing only one Cortex 2 instance and creating an organization for each customer.

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Configure an analyzer graphically and impose rate limits if necessary

User Roles

By default, Cortex 2 is shipped with the default cortex organization which sole purpose is to create other ones and manage the users within each organization and their associated powers. The cortex organization hosts all users with the superAdmin role and it cannot be used to configure or run analyzers.

As described in the new Quick Start Guide, after installing Cortex 2, updating its database and creating the first user who will have super admin powers, you’ll have to create your first organization and at least one user within that organization with orgAdmin rights.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.33.02
Create an organization

You can then log out and log in using the orgAdmin account to create further users within that organization, enable and configure analyzers etc. Please note that no analyzer is enabled by default and you need at least v 1.9.0 of the cortex-analyzers repository. To update your set of analyzers to 1.9.0, please run git pull.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 16.28.47
Manage users within an organization

Besides the superAdmin and orgAdmin roles, Cortex 2 introduces the read role which allows users to access analyzer reports and read them but not execute analyzers. For that, users need the analyze role (which implies the read role). orgAdmin users can also run analyzers. superAdmin users are limited to the default cortex organization. While they can create organizations and manage users within them, they cannot access analyzer configurations such as confidential API keys or job reports.

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Job reports

Report Persistence and Caching

Cortex 2 relies on Elasticsearch 5.x to store many configuration items but also all the analyzer reports that have been generated. Unlike its predecessor, you won’t lose your existing reports should you need to restart the service or the host it is running on.

Cortex 2 also introduces report caching. By default the cache.job parameter is set to 10 minutes in /etc/cortex/application.conf. That means that if an analysis on a given observable with a defined TLP is requested and that a report has been previously generated in the last 10 minutes, Cortex 2 will serve that report instead of running a new analysis. This feature can help prevent soliciting analyzers, particularly those which require a subscription or have quotas, when there is no need to do so. Please note that this parameter is global to all the analyzers and all the organizations that are configured in the Cortex 2 instance. We do have plans to make it more granular in future versions.

Migrating from Cortex 1

If you are migrating from Cortex 1.x, we recommend that you:

  1. Save the configuration of your analyzers (which ones are enabled and what their configuration items are, such as users/passwords or API keys).
  2. Install Cortex 2.
  3. Edit /etc/cortex/application.conf to add the secret key as shown in Step 1 of the Quick Start Guide and point Cortex to the location of the analyzers.
  4. Follow the remaining steps of the Quick Start Guide to enable the analyzers you need and reinject their configuration.

What’s Next?

In the upcoming weeks, 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.

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.

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.

Correction: March 30, 2018
Instructions on how to update the cortex-analyzers have been added. Also, Cortex 2.0.1 was released to correct a few bugs in the previous version since this post went live.

Cerana 0.2: X-Pack Auth, Multi-source Dashboards

TheHive Chefs are happy to announce the immediate availability of their latest recipe: Cerana 0.2 (a.k.a. TheHive 3.0.2).

While TheHive 3.0.0 brought you dynamic dashboards among other niceties, the latest (and, of course, the greatest) version of your Mom’s favourite Security Incident Response Platform fixes a bug spotted by our longtime supporter Megan Roddie (merci !). Indeed, Nabil was running low on coffee so he didn’t make the necessary changes to support the new sighted toggle introduced by Cerana for file observables.

Cerana 0.2 also adds X-Pack authentication for Elasticsearch, a feature contributed by srilumpa. Thanks! To enable this functionality, and assuming the X-Pack plugin for Elasticsearch is installed, add the following section to /etc/thehive/application.conf:

search.username = "jessica"​​​​​

​search.password = "drink-beat-repeat"

Last but not least, we decided to make dynamic dashboards even more powerful. You can now create new graphs that support multiple series from multiple entities (or sources).

multiline2
Multi-line Dashboards Example — Number of IOCs imported from MISP vs. those imported from other sources

As Christmas is approaching, go ahead and play with dynamic dashboards to impress your management as soon as 2018 rears its head or truly drive your CTI and DFIR activities and plan well ahead how you should improve automation or collaboration (or beg for additional headcount).

multiline1.png
Multi-line Dashboards Example — How to create one

Ain’t that nifty? Who said bees aren’t nice? Joyeux Noël !

 

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, contact us at support@thehive-project.org. Of course the funds may also be used to keep Nabil happy by providing a steady flow of caffeine. 😉

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.

Cortex 2: a Sneak Peek

Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no Internet connection during the last year or so, you certainly know a thing or two about Cortex, TheHive’s perfect sidekick, which allows you to analyze observables, at scale, using its 30+ analyzers.

As of this writing, the latest version of Cortex is 1.1.4. Cortex can be queried using its Web UI for quick assessment of an observable. But the true power of Cortex is unleashed when the engine is queried through its REST API, either from TheHive (which can leverage multiple Cortex instances), from alternative SIRPs (Security Incident Response Platforms), Threat Intelligence Platforms and programs thanks to Cortex4py. Indeed, when Cortex is called through the API, it can analyze large sets of observables. Each analysis generates a job. Jobs are queued on first-created, first-executed basis.

However, Cortex 1 has three limitations:

  1. It does not support authentication. If you install it and don’t shield it from abuse (using a firewall for example), anyone can submit analysis jobs and consume your query quotas for subscription-based, commercial services, for example. Non-CSIRT/CERT/SOC personnel or threat actors can also view all the jobs you’ve executed (what observables you have analyzed, using which analyzers and what the associated results were).
  2. It does not support rate-limiting. All it takes to ruin your quotas is an unexperienced analyst who’d create a case in TheHive from a MISP event containing thousands of attributes, select them all from the newly created case, and run them through various Cortex analyzers.
  3. It has no persistence. If you restart the Cortex service or the host it runs on, all your analysis results will disappear. Please note that if you query Cortex from TheHive, the latter will keep a copy of all the reports generated by the analyzers.

Moreover, analyzer configuration is not as easy as we’d like it to be. Enters Cortex 2.

Authentication, Organizations, Configuration and Rate Limiting

Cortex 2, due for release in February 2018, almost a year after the release of the first version, will support all the authentication methods TheHive supports: LDAP, Active Directory, local accounts, API keys and/or SSO using X.509 certificates (an experimental feature as of this writing).

Once created, users will be associated to an organization. Each organization has its own configuration: which analyzers are enabled, associated API keys and/or authentication credentials for services (VirusTotal, PassiveTotal, MISP, …) and a query quota.

For example, if you have an overall quota on VT for 10,000 queries/month, you can limit the number of queries to 5000 for org A, 3000 for org B and leave 2000 for other uses. Rate limits can be configured per month or per day.

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 17.16.06
Cortex 2 — Architecture

More on Organizations

Organizations will be ideal for multi-tenant Cortex instances deployed, for a example, by the central CSIRT of a large company. They can then create orgs for their regional SOCs. Commercial teams such as MSSPs will also be able to use a single instance to serve all their customers.

Graphical Interface Enhancements

Administrators will not have to edit /etc/cortex/application.conf by hand to enable and configure analyzers per org. They will be able to do so from the Web UI. The Web UI will also allow them to manage users, orgs and authentication tokens when applicable.

Report Persistence and Freshness

Cortex 2 will use ES 5 for storage, like TheHive. That way, you will no longer lose your existing jobs when you reboot the Cortex host or restart the service. You will also be able to query historical results to monitor changes and so on. We will also add an optional parameter to make Cortex 2 to serve the latest report generated by an analyzer if it is called again, on the same observable in the last X seconds or minutes. That way, we’ll avoid running the same queries again and again for the same observable and thus consuming quotas and CPU and storage resources.

Pricing

Cortex 2 is a significant development over Cortex 1 … but it’ll still cost you nothing as it will remain free and open source. We could feel you itching when you started reading this paragraph. Chill out! But if you are willing to support the project, you can donate to Creative Source, the non-profit organization we have created to sustain TheHive, Cortex and Hippocampe in the long run. Interested? Contact us at support@thehive-project.org then.

Introducing Cerana

Update: 2 days after publishing this blog post, we’ve released Cerana 0.1 (TheHive 3.0.1) which fixes a number of issues. We encourage you to use 3.0.1 instead of 3.0.0.

The friendly honeybees at TheHive’s code kitchen were pretty busy lately even though winter came and temperatures have been close to zero Celsius in Paris, France. As we wrote a couple of weeks ago on this very blog, we are happy to announce Cerana to the world, available immediately.

Cerana or TheHive 3.0.0 is the latest (and obviously greatest) release of a now highly popular open source, free Security Incident Response Platform (or SIRP for short). Its flagship feature in comparison to previous releases is Dynamic Dashboards.

Dynamic Dashboards

Dynamic Dashboards replace the Statistics module in Cerana to allow you to explore the data available in Elasticsearch, which TheHive uses for storage, in many ways. For example, you can have a usage breakdown of Cortex analyzers, the number of open cases per assignee, the number of alerts per source (MISP, email notifications, DigitalShadows, Zerofox, Splunk, …), the number of observables that have been flagged as IOCs in a given time period, how many attributes were imported from MISP instances, top 10 tags of imported MISP attributes or incident categories.

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Dynamic Dashboards

Dynamic Dashboards can be created by an analyst and kept private or shared with the other team members. Dashboards can also be exported and imported into another instance. This would facilitate community participation in the establishment of valuable data exploration graphs to drive DFIR activity and seek continuous improvement.

When you’ll migrate to Cerana, you won’t have to build dashboards from scratch. We recreated more or less those which were available under the Statistics view and included them in the Cerana build.

Cortex and MISP Health Status

Cerana will also allow you to monitor the health status of all the Cortex and MISP instances that it is connected to. In the bottom right corner of TheHive’s Web UI, the Cortex and MISP logos appear when you have configured the integration with those products as in previous releases. However, the logos will have a small outer circle which color will change depending on whether Cortex and/or MISP instances are reachable or not.

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Cortex & MISP Health

If TheHive can’t reach N out of M Cortex/MISP instances, the outer circle will be orange. If it can’t reach all M instances, the circle will red. If everything is fine, the circle will be green. The exact status of each Cortex/MISP instance can be seen in the About page. And when you try to run analyzers on a Cortex which cannot be reached, TheHive will tell you so as well.

about
Cortex & MISP: Version & Status

Sighted IOCs

In previous releases of TheHive, observables can be flagged as IOCs. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve seen them in your network. Think for example of a suspicious attachment which you’ve submitted to Cuckoo or Joe Sandbox through Cortex. The analyzer returns some C2 addresses to which the sample tries to connect to. You’d be right to add those C2 addresses to your case and flag them as IOCs. Then you search for them in your proxy logs and you find connection attempts to one out of four. In previous versions, you’d add a seen label but this would be inconsistent among analysts. One may use found instead. Another will add a description and no labels.

To avoid such situations and give you a simple way to declare an IOC as seen, Cerana adds a sighted toggle which you can switch on/off. We will leverage this toggle in future versions to indicate sightings when sharing back cases to MISP.

Other Features and Improvements

Cerana contains numerous other features and improvements such as:

  • Case template import, export
  • The ability to assign default values to metrics and custom fields to case templates
  •  The ability to assign by default tasks to their rightful owners in case templates
  • Show already known observables when previewing MISP events in the Alerts page
  • Add autonomous systems to the list of default datatypes
  • Single-sign on using X.509 certificates (in BETA currently)

We will update the documentation for Cerana in the upcoming weeks. So stay tuned.

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.

Introducing Cortex4py

Following popular demand, the chefs at TheHive Project‘s code kitchen are happy to announce the immediate availability of Cortex4py.

What Is It?

Cortex4py is a Python API client for Cortex, a powerful observable analysis engine where observables such as IP and email addresses, URLs, domain names, files or hashes can be analyzed one by one using a Web interface or en masse through the API.

Cortex4py allows analysts to automate these operations and submit observables in bulk mode through the Cortex REST API from alternative SIRP platforms (TheHive has native support for one or multiple Cortex instances) and custom scripts.

 

Use It

To install the client, use PIP:

$ sudo pip install cortex4py

 

How Much Does it Cost?

Cortex4py is released under an AGPL license as all the other products we publish to help the IR community fight the good fight. So apart from the effort it’ll cost you to install and use, the price of our software is nada, zero, rien. But if you are willing to contribute one way or another, do not hesitate to drop us an email at support@thehive-project.org or contact us via Twitter.

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.