We could not leave for the week-end without issuing a minor release or two so here we go.
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.
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 email@example.com. We are always ready to help as does our user community.
When you need to interact with TheHive’s REST API and you ain’t shy of working with Python, TheHive4py is the way to go. It’s a free, open source library we provide to allow you to easily create alert feeders, automate certain tasks like creating cases, assign them to analysts and much more. For example, Synapse, DigitalShadows2TH and Zerofox2TH leverage the library to send alerts to your favourite SIRP/SOAR.
Sometime ago, we decided that it was time to overhaul the whole library and we began working on version 2.0.0 which will be easier to use. It should also support the full set of TheHive’s REST API calls. In the meantime we decided to release version 1.5.0, shortly followed by version 1.5.1 to support some new functionality contributed by our user community and correct a few issues.
New Features Introduced in 1.5.0
#79: Add search support for tasks, contributed by neok0
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help.
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 🙂
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:
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.
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 email@example.com. We are here to help.
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.
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.confas described in the documentationet 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Save the configuration of your analyzers (which ones are enabled and what their configuration items are, such as users/passwords or API keys).
Follow the remaining steps of the Quick Start Guide to enable the analyzers you need and reinject their configuration.
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.
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.
Jeffrey Everling has identified a nasty privilege escalation vulnerability in all versions of TheHive, including Mellifera 13.2 (TheHive 2.13.2) and Cerana 0.2 (TheHive 3.0.2). Jeffrey reported it to us today Friday, Dec 22, 2017. Thanks but we could think of a better Christmas gift 😉
The vulnerability allows users with read-only or read/write access to escalate their privileges and eventually become administrators. To exploit it, an attacker must have access to an account on TheHive with read-only or read/write privileges.
The attacker needs to interact with the API in a specific though trivial way to obtain administrator privileges. After verifying that their request has been correctly processed, they connect to TheHive using the Web UI and they will see the administrator menu from where they can edit or lock user accounts, add case templates, etc.
We highly recommend you update TheHive to Cerana 0.3 (TheHive 3.0.3) which fixes the vulnerability. If you are still using Mellifera and have not made the move to Cerana yet, please update to Mellifera 13.3 (TheHive 2.13.3) which also corrects this flaw.
If you cannot immediately apply the hotfixes we have released, we have created a shell script that will allow you to spot anyone who exploited the vulnerability. You can download the script from the following location:
When you run the script, it will display all users that have changed their roles. Ifa single match is found, it means yourinstancehasbeenpotentially compromised. We advise you to create a crontab which will execute the script on a regular basis until you apply the hotfixes.
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.