TheHive, Cortex and MISP: How They All Fit Together

TheHive, Cortex and MISP work nicely together and if you’ve read our June-Dec 17 roadmap post, the integration of our products with the de facto threat sharing platform will get better in a few months.

During the FIRST conference presentation we gave last week, we displayed a picture that we will use here to try to explain how these three open source and free products integrate with one another.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…


TheHive is a Security Incident Response Platform (SIRP). It can receive alerts from different sources (SIEM, IDS, email. etc.) via its REST API. This is where alert feeders come into play.

Alert Feeders

Think of an alert feeder as a specialized program which consumes a security event (SIEM alert, email report, IDS alert, and so on), parses it and outputs an alert that its sends to TheHive through TheHive4py, the Python library we provide to interact with TheHive’s REST API.

We do not supply such feeders but developing them should be straightforward. If not, let us know  and we’ll do our best to help you out.


Any alert sent to TheHive will show up in its Alerts pane. In addition to the sources mentioned above, new or updated MISP events will show up as well in that area if you configured TheHive to connect to one or several MISP instances. If so, TheHive will poll those MISP instance(s) at every interval looking for new or updated events. If there are any, TheHive will generate an alert which will end up in the Alerts pane.

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The Alerts Pane

Alerts can be ignored, mark as read, previewed and imported. When an alert is imported, it becomes a case that needs to be investigated.


The Workflow that is at the Heart of TheHive

A case can be generated from an alert or created from scratch. It is subdivided into tasks (think identification, containment, eradication, check proxy logs, and so on) and observables (IP addresses, hashes, email addresses, domain names, URLs…). When analysts are working on tasks, they add logs as they go. In TheHive’s terminology, logs are text entries which may contain attachments to help analysts record what they have been doing. Logs can be written using Markdown or a rich-text editor.

Case Templates

You don’t need to add the same tasks over and over when working on cases belonging to a given category (DDoS, Malspam, APT, …). You can create custom templates to which you add tasks as shown below. This is very useful when you are dealing with alerts so that when you import them, you can select which case template you’d like to apply and there you go!

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A Sample Case Template

Observables can be tagged, flagged as IOCs, and analyzed. When the investigation is well in progress or completed, you may want to share the resulting IOCs or a subset of those with partners and peers. TheHive will support the ability to export that data to MISP in September 2017. Until then, you can still export your IOCs as text, CSV or as a MISP-compatible format that you can use to add them to your MISP instance using the freetext editor. TheHive can export IOCs/observables in protected (hxxps://www[.]somewhere[.]com/) or unprotected mode.

Every observable must have a TLP (Traffic Light Protocol) level. By default, any added observable is considered TLP:AMBER. Please note that the TLP is taken into account by some analyzers. Wait! Analyzers?


Cortex is our standalone analysis engine and a perfect companion for TheHive and MISP. Analysts can use it to analyze observables using its Web UI, in which case they can be submitted only one at a time. The Web UI should really be limited to quick assessments of observables before creating a case in TheHive (or in an alternate SIRP). The power of Cortex really comes into play when you use its REST API. TheHive speaks natively to Cortex (as MISP does). Moreover, TheHive can leverage one or several Cortex servers.

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Observable Page and List of Analyzers

As of this writing, Cortex has 23 analyzers which come in a total of 39 flavors and more will be available soon.

An analyzer can be written in any programming language supported by Linux though all of our current analyzers are written in Python. This is because we provide a Python library called Cortexutils which contains a set of utility classes that make it easier to write an analyzer in Python.


Analyzers such as VirusTotal, PassiveTotal or DomainTools can provide different analysis services. Let’s take VirusTotal as an example. You can scan a file or URL. That’s one flavor. You can also obtain the latest available report on for a file, hash, domain or IP address. That’s a second flavor. So the VirusTotal analyzer has two flavors.

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How about PassiveTotal? It has 8 flavors: unique resolutions lookup, SSL certificate history lookup, malware lookup, passive DNS lookup, data enrichment lookup, SSL certificate details lookup, OSINT lookup and WHOIS data lookup.

The MISP Search Analyzer

At this point, we need to mention a special analyzer that may create some confusion if not understood correctly: the MISP Search analyzer. Thanks to it, Cortex has the ability to search observables within a MISP instance as represented by the arrow that goes from the Analyzers to MISP.

Search for MISP Events Containing a Given Observable

When an observable is found in an event, Cortex will return the number of records found (i.e. the number of events where the observable has been found) and a list of links to those events with additional data.

Searching for a Hash Using the MISP Search Analyzer from the Cortex Web UI
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The Same Search Conducted from TheHive: Long Report
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The current version of the MISP Search analyzer can only search within a single MISP instance but in the near future, it will be able to support multiple ones.

MISP Expansion Modules

Besides its own analyzers (which include MISP Search described above), Cortex can also invoke MISP expansion modules. These are normally used by MISP to enrich attributes within events but Cortex can also take advantage of them to analyze observables.

There is some overlap between the native Cortex analyzers and MISP expansion modules. When choosing between a native analyzer or an expansion module, we highly recommend you select the former. The expansion modules are deactivated in the default Cortex configuration.


When you submit an observable for analysis, Cortex will create a job and, if successful, it will generate an analysis report in JSON format. TheHive has the ability to parse those results and present them in a human-friendly fashion thanks to report templates we offer for free. So when you’ll submit an observable to Cortex from TheHive, you’ll get back a short (or mini) report and a long one. The first can be thought of as a really tiny Exec Analyst Summary while the second provides more insight and details.

Calling Cortex from MISP

In addition to the expansion modules we have just mentioned, MISP 2.4.73 and up can enrich attributes using Cortex analyzers. The configuration is pretty straightforward. So if all you are concerned about is threat intelligence and sharing, you may augment your visibility into a given threat represented as a MISP event by leveraging all current 23 Cortex analyzers and any future ones.


TheHive, Cortex and MISP are three open source and free products that can highly aid you combat threats and keep the ‘monsters’ at bay.

TheHive, as a SIRP, allows you to investigate security incident swiftly in a collaborative manner. Several analysts can work simultaneously on tasks & cases . While cases can be created from scratch, TheHive can receive alerts from different sources thanks to alert feeders which consume security events generated by multiple sources and feed them into TheHive using TheHive4py Python library. TheHive can also sync to one or several MISP instances to receive new and updated events which will appear in the alert pane with all the other alerts generated by other sources. Analysts can then preview new alerts to decide whether they need to be acted upon. If so, they can transform them into investigation cases using templates.

To analyze the observables collected in the course of an investigation and/or imported from a MISP event, TheHive can rely on one or several Cortex analysis engines. Cortex is another standalone product that we have developed which sole purpose is to allow you to analyze observables at scale thanks to its large number of analyzers, MISP expansion modules and any analyzer you might have developed on the side. Cortex has a REST API that can be used to empower other security products such as  ‘analytics’ software, alternate SIRPs or MISP.

The highly popular threat sharing platform can indeed enrich attributes thanks to Cortex as it has a native integration with it. And in a few months, you will also be able to export cases from TheHive as MISP events that you can share with peers and partners.

If you do share, you do care about our collective mission to defend the  digital assets that are under our watch from harm. So let us fight together as one.



Cortex Passes the 20 Analyzers Mark

Thanks to the invaluable contributions of our growing and thriving user community, Cortex has now 6 more analyzers, bringing the total to 21. The new analyzers, released under our usual AGPL v3 license, are:

  • CIRCLPassiveDNS
  • CIRCLPassiveSSL
  • GoogleSafebrowsing
  • Nessus
  • Virusshare
  • Yara

All but one have been submitted by Nils Kuhnert of CERT-Bund. The Nessus analyzer has been contributed by our long-time friend Guillaume Rousse.

Cortexutils 1.1.0

While reviewing the submissions, we realized that a new version of the Cortexutils library was needed in order to support both Python 2 and 3. Hence we released version 1.1.0. You can grab it through PIP. To update your existing installation, please run the following command:

 sudo pip install cortexutils --upgrade

Note that Cortexutils 1.1.0 is required to benefit from these analyzers and future ones. If you are performing a fresh Cortex installation, follow the guide.


To install the new analyzers, grab the Cortex-Analyzers repository and unpack its content (or git pull the master  branch) in your existing /path/to/cortex-analyzers. Then follow the Cortex analyzers guide.

New Short and Long Report Templates for TheHive

Short and long reports for TheHive were also created to parse and display the results produced by the new analyzers. We also bundled in the new package a URL analysis template for Joe Sandbox which was missing and improved some of the older short templates in order to follow a taxonomy.

To import the new report templates in your instance of TheHive:

  • 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


The CIRCLPassiveDNS analyzer lets you check the CIRCL’s Passive DNS service for a given domain. It takes domains and URLs as input. Access to the service is allowed to trusted partners in Luxembourg and abroad. If you think you qualify, please contact the good CIRCL folks. To make it work, you’ll need the pypdns Python library.

In order to take advantage of CIRCLPassiveDNS, you need to add the following section to the Cortex configuration file (application.conf):


When called from TheHive, the following output is produced:


TheHive: CIRCLPassiveDNS Analyzer – Short and Long Report Samples


The CIRCLPassiveSSL analyzer lets you check CIRCL’s Passive SSL service for a given IP address or certificate hash. Access to the service is restricted to partners and security researchers worldwide. If you think you qualify, please contact the good CIRCL folks. This analyzer needs the pypssl Python library to work properly.

To use it, please add the following section to the Cortex configuration file (application.conf):


When called from TheHive, the following output is produced:


TheHive: CIRCLPassiveSSL Analyzer – Short and Long Report Samples


This analyzer lets you check URLs and domains against Google Safe Browsing. You need an API key to use it.

To leverage GoogleSafebrowsing, add the following section to Cortex’ configuration file:

GoogleSafebrowsing {

When you run the analyzer fromTheHive, you should see output similar to the samples below:


TheHive: GoogleSafebrowsing Analyzer — Short and Long Report Samples


The Nessus analyzer lets you leverage Tenable’s Nessus Vulnerability Scanner to scan an IP address or a FQDN. Of course, you must not scan assets that do not belong to you, unless you really know what you are doing. That’s why safeguards were built in the analyzer’s configuration:

Nessus {
   allowed_networks=[ 'x.y.z.t/8', 'a.b.c.d/24', ... ]

The nessrest Python library is needed to make REST API calls to Nessus. Analysts would use the analyzer to assess the vulnerabilities of potentially compromised machines or new, unknown assets that have been plugged into one of their constituency’s networks. Of course, penetration testers conducting large-scale reconnaissance can also benefit from this analyzer.


TheHive: Nessus Analyzer — Short and Long Report Samples


The Virusshare analyzer lets you verify whether a file or hash is available on It requires the progressbar2 Python library besides requests (which should be already installed if you have an existing Cortex installation). As stated by Nils:

This analyzer enables searching for md5 hashes in hash list. It does not download samples for you nor links directly to the sample – the author of virusshare prohibits the automatic download/site scraping and I respect that. It provides a button to start the virusshare search, though, but you need an account for that. You can request an invitation to the platform through contacting the admin via mail, directly.

To use it, add the following section to your Cortex application.conf:

Virusshare {

Quoting Nils again, in order to download the newest available hash lists from, you can run the script that comes with the analyzer.

./ /path/to/your/download/directory

Upon running the analyzer from TheHive, the report will contain a link to the corresponding Virusshare page if a match is found as shown below.

TheHive: Virusshare Analyzer — Long Report Sample


Last but not least, the Yara analyzer can check files against YARA rules using yara-python. To use it, add the following to your Cortex configuration file:

Yara {
    rules=["/path/a", "/path/b", "/path/my/rules.yar"]

You can specify path to directories and files. If you supply a directory, the analyzer expects to find an index.yar or index.yas file. The index file can include other rule files. An example can be found in the Yara-rules repository.


TheHive: Yara Analyzer — Short and Long Report Samples

Running Into Trouble?

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