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.

Cerana 0.9 and Cortex 2.0.4 are Out!

We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Cerana 0.9 (TheHive 3.0.9) and Cortex 2.0.4. These hotfix releases address a number of issues and we encourage you to update your current installation at your earliest opportunity. For your comfort and sanity. Seriously.

We also took this opportunity to update Cortex analyzers to fix issues with CIRCL Passive SSL, Hybrid Analysis, and the Joe Sandbox URL Analysis template. Moreover, we have updated the cortexutils library to set the taxonomy level to info if it is invalid. To upgrade cortexutils​ to 1.2.4:

sudo pip install -U cortexutils && sudo pip3 install -U cortexutils

To update your Cortex analyzers:

cd /path/to/Cortex-analyzers && git pull

Note: the Bluecoat analyzer was removed since it does not comply with the updated Terms of Service of Symantec Web Pulse SiteReview. Symantec does no longer permit programmatic querying of the service.

Fixes in Cerana 0.9

  • #527: display long reports when the analyst clicks on the corresponding short reports. Meh!
  • #541: make the drop-down menu for case templates scroll when there is a truckload of them.
  • #452: prevent WSAPI failure.
  • #531: fix naming inconsistencies in the Live Stream.
  • #530: correct an error when trying to analyze a filename using the Hybrid Analysis analyzer.
  • #543: generate an error if unable to contact Cortex.
  • #518: merge observable sightings when merging cases.
  • #535: fix the tag color of the PhishTank analyzer which was transparent under certain conditions.

Fixes in Cortex 2.0.4

  • #89: let a read,analyze user change or display their API key.
  • #91: sort analyzers by name.
  • #92: redirect users to the index page when they click on the Cortex logo.
  • #93: under the Organization > Configurations page, the UI displays wrong green checkmarks for empty configurations.
  • #94: orgadmin users are not able to update their organization’s users after the users are created. The UI doesn’t display any error message.
  • #95: avoid ‘lax programming’, Nabil style😜, and strictly filter the list of analyzers in the Run dialog.
  • #90: fix Python dependency errors in docker.

Support

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 support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

CorrectionApril 14, 2018
An earlier version of this post did not mention that the Bluecoat analyzer was removed in the latest Cortex Analyzers repository release.

Cortex 2.0.3 Released and Analyzer Updates

There’s a new version of your ultimate observable analysis engine in town : Cortex 2.0.3 is out!

Cortex 2.0.3 contains a few important enhancements over its predecessor and fixes a number bugs as described in the full changelog summarised below. So get it while it’s still hot out of the digital oven and let us know how tasty it is.

analyzeallthethings
Source : Quickmeme.com

Implemented Enhancements

  • #81: reflect proxy changes in the global configuration at the analyzer level
  • #82: display invalid analyzers and let orgadmins delete them
  • #85: allow orgadmins to override the default global report cache.job period per analyzer through the Web UI
  • #86: allow a job to run with arbitrary parameters

Fixed Bugs

  • #75: a version upgrade of an analyzer makes all analyzers invisible in TheHive
  • #80: fix the analyzer configuration dialog to allow orgadmins to override the auto artifact extraction at the analyzer level
  • #83: hit Nabil on the head pretty hard until the analyzer refresh UI button works (well now it does so you can stop hitting poor Nabil’s head).

Analyzer Updates

We took the opportunity of a new release to make a few updates to the public analyzers. Cortex-Analyzers 1.9.3 contains the following changes:

  • Remove the Bluecoat analyzer to comply with the new ‘no scrapping’ ToS imposed by Symantec
  • Fix the default configuration of the Cymon Check IP analyzer
  • Fix the View all VT long template
  • Make the MISP Warning Lists Analyzer ignore case sensitivity when searching for hashes
  • Restrict the Abuse Finder and FileInfo analyzer dependencies to Python 2.7

You can read the full changelog if you like but if you want to enjoy the goods right away, git pull is your friend.

Support

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 support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

 

Cortex 2, TheHive and a Whole Slew of Updates

After announcing Cortex 2.0.0 and TheHive 3.0.7, the first version of your favorite SIRP that is (supposedly) compatible with the brand-new version of Cortex, last week, we thought it was time to relax and enjoy the upcoming, long Easter weekend, the sunny sky of Paris (if you can pierce the veil of the Forever Grey Cloud™ that is hanging over the city of lights), and great jazz music. Heck, I even tweeted about it … only to be proven wrong by Life (and Murphy).

We literally field tested Cortex 2 for 3 weeks, we squashed bugs here and there, until almost the very last minute before the release. And yet, our QA needs to be improved by leaps and bounds as we had to release Cortex 2.0.1 one day after unveiling 2.0.0 to correct some additional bugs. And then some members of the core team and of our growing user community took it for a spin. And all hell broke lose. Well, almost 🙂

good_code
Source: XKCD

Session collisions (when TheHive and Cortex 2 are used on the same machine), analyzer malfunctions, connectivity problems … issues that were not identified during the testing phase, even in a production environment, where everything worked as expected. And we call this ‘Computer Science’. Right, right…

So we worked hard, took out our Code Hammer (it’s like Thor’s but cyber) and blasted away all the bugs that we found out or that were reported to us (arigato gozaimasu!) and we are happy to announce the immediate availability of Cortex 2.0.2, TheHive 3.0.8, Cortexutils 1.2.3 and Cortex-Analyzers 1.9.2.

TL;DR Install or upgrade Cortex 2.0.2, update Cortexutils, git pull the Cortex-analyzers repo to get the latest version of the repository, upgrade to TheHive 3.0.8, follow the Quick Start Guide and have a drink.

If you have time (which is admittedly quite scarce nowadays), please read on the changelogs:

What’s Next?

As stated in the previous post, 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. We will also release a brand new version of TheHive4py.

Last but not least, we’ll take a hard look at ourselves and our QA. You expect us from us high quality and we hold ourselves to high standards. And we will deliver.

Support

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 support@thehive-project.org. We are here to help.

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.

case3.png
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.

status
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.