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!

 

 

Unveiling Synapse

When we’re not busy cooking new features, we go back to the trenches and face incidents like many of our fellow analysts who read our publications and use our tools. To do so, we swap our chef toques for firefighter helmets, not only because such shiny headwear is cool, but mainly because incident response (IR) is, at its very heart, firefighting (minus all the dangerous stuff).

If you think about it, when handling incidents you can see everything from cats in trees (spam) to major fire (APT). Thankfully, there are more cats to bring down than fire to extinguish. That being said, a big herd of cats could be a serious threat to your organization, to your mental health or both.

We tend to forget that incident handlers are humans, not robots. Unlike our metal cyberfriends, we need diversity. We can’t risk insanity like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times if we can avoid it. Unfortunately IR can be highly repetitive, especially if you only have cats to deal with.

Some could say ‘Nah, this is minor, nothing critical here’ but at some point, an analyst brainwashed by the same tasks again and again will be led to fault. In the worst case scenario, one could see an alert and immediately categorize it as false positive without any further consideration. Because ‘this alert is always a false positive’, until the day it is not…

Automation, a Solution?

Intuitively, we look in the direction of automation in order to minimize what we call ‘zombie’ tasks: highly repetitive and brainless tasks that need to be done. We believe that doing so will allow incident handlers to focus on the analysis and not on the tedious side of IR. Ultimately, we hope it will keep analysts stimulated and in a state of alert. Also, it should reduce time and effort spent on the low-hanging fruits.

One of the most dreary tasks in our opinion is to record the context around an incident.
What is the problem? When did it happen? What’s the origin? Who are the victims? How many are there? Answers to these questions let you have an overview of what is happening and are valuable to correlate incidents. So it is worth taking some minutes to add this information to your case. Sadly, most of the time it will look like a succession of ‘Ctrl+C; Alt+Tab; Ctrl+V’ from your incident source to TheHive. Exactly the kind of tasks we want to forego.

Specifications

Having identified the threat that apathetic analysts pose, the root cause (highly repetitive tasks) and a solution (automate the recording of incident context), the question of the implementation has been raised.

The first challenge to solve is the number of incident sources. Almost everything can trigger an incident: a firewall, an IDS, antivirus, SIEM, users, etc… So the application must be designed to accept several sources and must permit to easily integrate new ones. And instead of having to configure multiple alert feeders to supply alerts to TheHive, we would have only one. To some extent, it can be assimilated to a meta feeder.

And if the application works as intended, we still have a second challenge. Let’s say you, dear reader, and ourselves use the galaxy renowned Stargazer IDS. Maybe you’d like to include the full packet capture in the case but we wouldn’t. Using the same product doesn’t mean using it the same way. So we have a variety of sources and for each source, we have a variety of configurations and workflows. Hence any app we design needs to accept multiple configurations and workflows for any given source.

Finally: the third challenge. We want to make the most out of TheHive. Creating cases, creating alerts, assigning cases, adding logs, adding observables … all those actions are not an option.

Synapse

After several trials and failures, we came up with Synapse. Basically it is a Python 3 app which sits between TheHive and your incident sources:

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 09.54.28.png
Synapse Overview

To solve the first and third challenge, we rely on connectors. A connector is a Python object dedicated to interact with a security device. In the picture above, you can see the Exchange Connector and TheHive Connector. To extend the number of sources, you just have to develop the connector that corresponds to your device.

Regarding the second challenge, we rely on workflows. Workflows are python scripts who use connectors to automate repetitive tasks when tracking a case. Not happy with the current workflow? Develop your own using the connectors.

At this point, you probably wonder why there’s an API in the picture above. Well, the API is the link between the user and the workflows. By hitting a specific endpoint of the Synapse’s API, the corresponding workflow will be launched. That way the user can choose what to launch, especially if they are only interested in a particular workflow. Moreover, using an API allows us to listen to TheHive’s real-time stream and initiate some actions like closing a QRadar offense when the related case is solved.

At the moment, Synapse includes the Exchange connector and the associated Ews2Case workflow. The workflow features:

  • Case creation from emails
  • Case assignment
  • Adding email bodies to task logs
  • Adding email replies to the case
  • Adding email attachments as observables

And of course, everything is done to minimize the number of clicks! Check the workflow documentation to understand how it works under the hood.

We’re still working on the QRadar connector and the associated workflows but if you can’t wait, have a look at the work done by the community like pierrebarlet’s script.

Check it Out

As usual, Synapse is an open source and free software released under the AGPL (Affero General Public License).

Synapse has its own repository. Start with the user guide and read about the workflow you want to use as you’ll need to configure 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!

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.