Cortex 3.0.1: The 'Better Logging' Edition

Lo and behold, we aren’t dead & TheHive Project ain’t toast! So, foremost, Happy New Year folks (we are still in January, right?)! We have some nice gifts coming up for you, gifts that have required very heavy-duty work. Of course, you might complain that we haven’t been responsive as of late but hey, there’s only so much we can do, right?

Happy New Year Folks! (Photo by Saâd Kadhi)

We’ll talk about those gifts in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, there’s a new Cortex version in town and we urge you to upgrade to it, particularly if you consider deploying several Cortex nodes as a cluster. Indeed, Cortex 3.0.1 fixes a missing dependency that is required to set up such an architecture. Additionally (and this is the part where you should be paying attention), this version fixes the display of error messages pertaining to analyzer and responder operations, and also ensure that old responders and analyzers no longer show up once you clicked on that Refresh button.

Fixes and Enhancements

  • #244 Prevent the Play secret key from being displayed in the logs at startup. Nonetheless, you can still display it (for troubleshooting purposes or to make things easier for attackers that might have access to the logs and be interested in such a world-changing secret) by using the --show-secret option when starting Cortex
  • #243 fixes the display of error messages when analyzers & responders fail
  • #242 Remove references to Google Fonts
  • #238 The Docker image had 4 critical CVEs and 69 high CVEs (*cough*). Contributed by Micheal Hart
  • #239 Missing dependency for cluster bug
  • #234 fixes a bug where old, non-existent analysers were still showing in Cortex after an upgrade. Contributed by daskydasky
  • #241 Analyzer reports no output when it fails
  • #240 An encoding issue causes an invalid format in the catalog file
  • #230 Elastic4play has dropped the ES cluster configuration option. Contributed by Adeel Ahmad
  • #164 Handle second/minute-rates limits on Flavors and Analyzers

Running Into Trouble?

Shall you encounter any difficulty during the upgrade process, please ask on our user forum, get in touch with the community on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org.

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!

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 🙏🏼

A Short Story of Getting Work Done: TheHive 3.3.0

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).

Since RC5 which we have blogged about on Feb 26, 2019, below is an outline of the changes we made. Check TheHive Installation Guide for installation instructions.

The new Related Alerts tab in Case View introduced in 3.3.0-RC5

Fixed Issues

  • #899: fix a crashing issue encountered with Firefox
  • #907: dynamic (auto-refresh) of cases was broken in 3.3.0-RC5
  • #930: merging cases by CaseID was broken

Implemented Enhancements

  • #666: add support for filtering tags by prefix and wildcard search
  • #901: remove the possibility of creating cases from scratch (i.e. empty cases) when explicitly disabled by an admin
  • #908: add support for text-based widgets to the dashboards
  • #912: responders can now add tags to alerts when triggered thanks to the new AddTagToAlert operation

Looking for Help?

Something does not work as expected? Then please join our user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org.

Since You are Here

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.

Expect to hear from us soon…

TheHive 3.1.2 & Cortex 2.1.2 Released

We could not leave for the week-end without issuing a minor release or two so here we go.

TheHive 3.1.2

Starting from TheHive 3.0.1, an administrator has the ability to configure Cortex job polling by defining the time between two polls thanks to the cortex.refreshDelay parameter as well as the number of consecutive failures before giving up (via cortex.MaxRetryOnError). However, these settings prevent the service from starting correctly. TheHive 3.1.2 corrects this issue.

Cortex 2.1.2

When running a job in Cortex with the exact same details, the function findSimilarJob is called. It should return results from any previous jobs, but in the latest versions (2.1.0, 2.1.1) it does not because of a change that went past our QA.

In a similar fashion, the GUI search function was broken. Cortex 2.1.2 fixes both issues.

Excuse my French but I Need Help

Keep calm. We speak French. So if you encounter any difficulty to update TheHive or Cortex, please join our  user forum, contact us on Gitter, or send us an email at support@thehive-project.org. We are always ready to help as does our user community.

Cortex 2.1.0: The Response Edition

We released Cortex 2.1.0 as a release candidate back in July 31, 2018 along with TheHive 3.1.0-RC1. By then, the power duo which makes digital forensics, incident response and, to an extent, cyber threat intelligence, better, faster, happier, regular exercising gained the ability to perform active response.

We ate our own dog food for a couple of months. We found bugs. We added enhancements and we listened to the early adopters of these new major versions. And today we are thrilled to announce the availability of the stable release of Cortex 2.1.0 along with TheHive 3.1.0.

Cortex 2.1.0 restores the ability to query the analysis and response engine from MISP for enrichment purposes. A new version of the de facto standard for threat sharing should be released shortly as there are also some API-related issues on its side to make the integration fully working again.

mighty-morphin-power-rangers.jpg
Source : Consequence of Sound

Cortex 2.1.0 also gives you the ability to see the PAP (Permissible Actions Protocol) values for each analyzer as well as any custom cache values you might have configured.

You can check out the full changelog and we highly encourage you to install this new version and let us know what you think of it.

Troubles?

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