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September 29, 2016
How do you figure out when someone was actually logged onto their PC? By “logged onto” I mean, physically present and interacting with their computer. The data is there in the security log, but it’s so much harder than you’d think. First of all, while I said it’s in the security log, I didn’t say which one. The bad news is, it isn’t in the domain controller log. Domain controllers know when you logon, but they don’t know when you logoff. This is because domain controllers just handle initial authentication to the domain and subsequent authentications to each computer on the network.
August 24, 2016
A common hacking method is to steal information by first gaining lower-level access to your network. This can happen in a variety of ways: through a print server, via a phished email, or taking advantage of a remote control program with poor security. Once inside, the hacker will escalate their access rights until they find minimally protected administrative accounts.
August 17, 2016
Cyber criminals are constantly developing increasingly sophisticated and dangerous malware programs. Statistics for the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015 shows that malware attacks have quadrupled.
July 28, 2016
Ideas to Retire is a TechTank series of blog posts that identify outdated practices in public sector IT management and suggest new ideas for improved outcomes. Dr. John Leslie King is W.W. Bishop Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan and contributed a blog hammering the idea of “do more with less” calling it a “well-intentioned but ultimately ridiculous suggestion.”
July 26, 2016
Windows gives you several ways to control which computers can be logged onto with a given account. Leveraging these features is a critical way to defend against persistent attackers. By limiting accounts to appropriate computers you can
July 07, 2016
There’s a wealth of intelligence available in your DNS logs that can help you detect persistent threats. So how can you use them to see if your network has been hacked, or check for unauthorized access to sensitive intellectual property after business hours?
June 30, 2016
Analytics is an essential component of a modern SIEM solution. The ability to crunch large volumes of log and security data in order to extract meaningful insight can lead to improvements in security posture. Vendors love to tell you all about features and how their particular product is so much better than the competition.
June 22, 2016
Detecting virus signatures is so last year. Creating a virus with a unique signature or hash is quite literally child’s play, and most anti-virus products catch just a few percent of the malware that is active these days. You need better tools, called endpoint detection and response (EDR), such as those that integrate with SIEMs, that can recognize errant behavior and remediate endpoints quickly.
June 13, 2016
In a recent webinar, we demonstrated techniques by which EventTracker monitors DNS logs to uncover attempts by malware to communicate with Command and Control (C&C) servers. Modern malware uses DNS to resolve algorithm generated domain names to find and communicate with C&C servers. These algorithms have improved by leaps and bounds since they were first see in Conficker.C. Early attempts were based on a fixed seed and so once the malware was caught, it could be decompiled to predict the domain names it would generate.
June 01, 2016
Aristotle put forth the idea in his Poetics that a drama has three parts — a beginning or protasis, middle or epitasis, and end or catastrophe. Far too many SIEM implementations are considered to be catastrophes. Having implemented hundreds of such projects, here are the three parts of a SIEM implementation which if followed will in fact minimize the drama but maximize the ROI.
May 25, 2016
Ransomware burst onto the scene with high profile attacks against hospitals, law firms and other organizations. What is it and how can you detect it? Ransomware is just another type of malware; there’s nothing particularly advanced about ransomware compared to other malware.
May 11, 2016
SC Magazine released the results of a research survey focused on the rising acceptance of SIEM-as-a-Service for the small and medium sized enterprise. The survey, conducted in April 2016, found that SMEs and companies with $1 billion or more in revenue or 5,000-plus employees faced similar challenges:
April 27, 2016
The popular press makes much of zero-day attacks. These are attacks based on vulnerabilities in software that is unknown to the vendor. This security hole is then exploited by hackers before the vendor becomes aware and hurries to fix it—this exploit is called a zero day attack.
April 20, 2016
Yet another recent report confirms the obvious, that SMBs in general do not take security seriously enough. The truth is a bit more nuanced than that, of course—SMB execs generally take security very seriously, but they don’t have the dollars to do enough about it—although it amounts to the same thing. This year, though, SMBs are going to have to look at security differently. Why? That is because enterprise execs are repeatedly seeing their own networks hurt because of less-than-terrific security from SMB partners tha
April 14, 2016
Traditional areas of risk — financial risk, operational risk, geopolitical risk, risk of natural disasters — have been part of organizations’ risk management for a long time. Recently, information security has bubbled to the top, and now companies are starting to put weight behind IT security and Security Operations Centers (SOC).
March 30, 2016
Do you embrace the matrix? Not this one, but the IT Organizational Matrix, or org chart. The fact is, once networks get to a certain size, IT organizations begin to specialize and small kingdoms emerge. For example, endpoint management (aka Desktop) may be handled by one team, whereas the data center is handled by another (Server team). Vulnerability scanning may be handled by a dedicated team but identity management (Active Directory? RSA tokens?) is handled by another.
March 23, 2016
Cloud security is getting attention and that’s as it should be. But before you get hung up on techie security details, like whether SAML is more secure than OpenID Connect and the like, it’s good to take a step back. One of the tenets of information security is to follow the risk. Risk is largely a measure of damage and likelihood. When you are looking at different threats to the same cloud-based data then it becomes a function of the likelihood of those risks.
March 04, 2016
The range of threats included trojans, worms, trojan downloaders and droppers, exploits and bots (backdoor trojans), among others. When untargeted (more common), the goal was profit via theft. When targeted, they were often driven by ideology.
February 24, 2016
On Facebook, when two parties are sort-of-kind-of together but also sort-of, well, not, their relationship status reads, “It’s complicated.” Oftentimes, Party A really wants to like Party B, but Party B keeps doing and saying dumb stuff that prevents Party A from making a commitment.
February 17, 2016
Windows supports the digitally signing of EXEs and other application files so that you can verify the provenance of software before it executes on your system. This is an important element in the defense against malware. When a software publisher like Adobe signs their application they use the private key associated with a certificate they’ve obtained from one of the major certification authorities like Verisign.
February 10, 2016
Here’s our list of the Top 5 SIEM complaints:1) We bought a security information and event management (SIEM) system, but it’s too complicated and time-consuming, so we’re:
February 04, 2016
Think about the burglar alarm systems that are common in residential neighborhoods. In the eye of the passive observer, an alarm system makes a lot of sense. They watch your home while you’re asleep or away, and call the police or fire department if anything happens. So for a small monthly fee you feel secure. Unfortunately, there are a few things that the alarm companies don’t tell you.
January 28, 2016
Winning a marathon requires dedication and preparation. Over long periods of time. A sprint requires intense energy but for a short period of time. While some tasks in IT Security are closer to a sprint (e.g., configuring a firewall), many, like deploying and using a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution, are closer to a marathon.
January 20, 2016
Given today’s threat landscape, let’s acknowledge that a breach has either already occurred within our network or that it’s only a matter of time until it will. Security prevention strategies and technologies cannot guarantee safety from every attack. It is more likely that an organization has already been compromised, but just hasn’t discovered it yet. Operating with this assumption reshapes detection and response strategies in a way that pushes the limits of any organization’s infrastructure, people, processes and technologies.
January 07, 2016
Ho hum. Another new year, time for some more New Year’s resolutions. Did you keep the ones you made last year? Meant to but somehow did not get around to it? This time how about making it easy on yourself?
December 30, 2015
The traditional method for calculating standard Return on Investment (RoI) is that it equals the gain minus the cost, divided by the cost. The higher the resulting value, the greater the RoI. The difficulty in calculating a return on security investment (RoSI), however, is that security tends not to increase profits (gain), but to decrease loss – meaning that the amount of loss avoided rather than the amount of gain achieved is the important element.
Following the standard RoI approach, RoSI can be calculated by the sum of the loss reduction minus the cost of the solution, divided by the cost of the solution. In short, a high result is better for RoI, and a low result is better for RoSI.
This is where it gets difficult: how do you measure the ‘loss reduction’? To a large extent it is based on guesswork and surveys. Bruce Schneier in The Data Imperative concluded, “Depending on how you answer those two questions, and any answer is really just a guess — you can justify spending anywhere from $10 to $100,000 annually to mitigate that risk.”
What we find as a practical outcome of delivering our SIEM-as-a-service offering (SIEM Simplified) is that many customers value the anecdotes and statistics that are provided in the daily reports and monthly reviews to demonstrate RoSI to management. Things such as how many attacks were repulsed by the firewalls, how many incidents were addressed by criticality, anecdotal evidence of an attack disrupted or misconfiguration detected. We publish some of these anonymously as Catch of the Day.
It’s a practical way to demonstrate RoSI which is easier to understand and does not involve any guesses.
December 23, 2015
Did you know that SIEM and Log Management are different?
The latter (log management) is all about collecting logs first and worrying about why you need them second (if at all). The objective is “let’s collect it all and have it indexed for possible review. Why? Because we can.”
The former (SIEM) is about specific security use cases. SIEM is a use-case driven technology. Use cases are implementation specific, unlike antivirus or firewalls.
Treating SIEM like Log Management, is a lot like a turducken.
Don’t want that bloated feeling like Aunt Mildred explains here? Then don’t stuff your SIEM with logs absent a use case.
Need help doing this effectively? A co-managed SIEM may be your best bet.
December 09, 2015
You have, no doubt, heard that cyber security is everyone’s job. So then, as the prime defender of your network, what specifically are you doing to empower people so they can all act as sentries? After all, security cannot be automated as much as you’d like. Human adversaries will always be smarter than automated tools and will leverage human ingenuity to skirt around your protections.
But, marketing departments in overdrive are busy selling the notion of “magic” boxes that can envelope you in a protective shell against Voldemort and his minions. But isn’t that really just fantasy? The reality is that you can’t replace well-trained security professionals exercising judgment with computers.
So what does an effective security buyer do?
Answer: Empower the people by giving them tools that multiply their impact and productivity, instead of trying to replace them.
When we were designing EventTracker 8, an oft repeated observation from users was the shortage of senior analysts. If they existed at all in the organization, they were busy with higher level tasks such as policy creation, architecture updates and sometimes critical incident response. The last task on their plates was the bread-and-butter of log review and threat monitoring. Such tasks are often the purview of junior analysts (if they exist). In response, many of the features of EventTracker 8 are designed specifically to enable junior administrators to make effective contributions to cyber security.
Still feeling overwhelmed by the daily tasks that need doing, consoles that need watching, alerts that need triaging? Don’t fret – that is precisely what our SIEM Simplified service (SIEMaas) is designed to provide – as much, or as little help as you need. Become empowered, be effective.
December 02, 2015
Account Lockouts in Active Directory
“User X” is getting locked out and Security Event ID 4740 are logged on respective servers with detailed information.
The common causes for account lockouts are:
Troubleshooting Steps Using EventTracker
Here we are going to look for Event ID 4740. This is the security event that is logged whenever an account gets locked.
2. Select search on the menu bar
3. Click on advanced search
4. On the Advanced Log Search Window fill in the following details:
Once done hit search at the bottom.
You can see the details below. If you want to get more information about a particular log, click on the + sign
Below shows more information about this event.
Now, let’s take a closer look at 4740 event. This can help us troubleshoot this issue.
Logon into the computer mentioned on “Caller Computer Name” (DEMOSERVER1) and look for one of the aforementioned reasons that produces the problem.
To understand further on how to resolve issues present on “Caller Computer Name” (DEMOSERVER1) let us look into the different logon types.
How to identify the logon type for this locked out account?
Just like how it is shown earlier for Event ID 4740, do a log search for Event ID 4625 using EventTracker, and check the details.
Logon Type 7 says User has typed a wrong password on a password protected screen saver.
Now we understand what reason to target and how to target the same.
Microsoft Windows Servers
Microsoft Windows Desktops
Ashwin Venugopal, Subject Matter Expert at EventTracker
Satheesh Balaji, Security Analyst at EventTracker
November 25, 2015
Late binding is a computer programming mechanism in which the method being called upon an object or the function being called with arguments is looked up by name at runtime. This contrasts with early binding, where everything must be known in advance. This method is favored in object-oriented languages and is efficient but incredibly restrictive. After all, how can everything be known in advance?
In EventTracker, late binding allows us to continue learning and leveraging new understanding instead of getting stuck in whatever was sensible at the time of indexing. The upside is that it is very easy to ingest data into EventTracker without knowing much (or anything) about its meaning or organization. Use any one of several common formats/protocols, and voila, data is indexed and available for searching/reporting.
As understanding improves, users can create a “Knowledge Pack” to describe the indexed data in reports, search output, dashboards, co-relation rules, behavior rules, etc. There is no single, forced “normalized” schema and thus no connectors to transform incoming data to the fixed schema.
As your understanding improves, the knowledge pack improves and so does the resulting output. And oh by the way, since the same data can be viewed by two different roles in very different ways, this is easily accommodated in the Knowledge Pack. Thus the same data (e.g., Login failures) can be viewed in one way by the Security team (in real time, as an alert, with trends) and in an entirely different way by the Compliance team (as a report covering a time-span with annotation to show due care).
See EventTracker in action!
Join our next live demo December 4th at 2:00 p.m. EST.