Friday, February 22, 2019

From my Gartner Blog - The Deception Paper Update is Out!

Good thing about when Anton is away is I’m always able to jump and announce our new research ahead of him 🙂

So, the update to our “Applying Deception Technologies and Techniques to Improve Threat Detection and Response” paper has finally been published. This is a minor update, but as with every updated paper, it has changed for better. Some of the highlights

  • New, and more beautiful pictures (thanks to our co-author Anna Belak for making our papers look 100% better on the graphics side!)
  • Additional guidance on how to test deception tools (tip: put your Breach and Attack Simulation tool to use!)
  • A better understanding on how the Deception Platforms are evolving and what are the current “must have” features you’ll find there

We also tuned key findings and recommendations, including these:

  • Evaluate deception against alternatives like NTA, EDR, SIEM and UEBA to detect stolen-data staging, lateral movements, internal reconnaissance and other attack actions within your environment.
  • Deploy deception-based detection approaches for environments that cannot use other security controls due to technical or economic reasons. Examples include IoT, SCADA, medical environments and highly distributed networks.

We are also working on a solutions comparison on this area. A lot of exciting stuff on that one, stay tuned. Meanwhile, please check the new paper and don’t forget to provide feedback!

 

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Friday, January 4, 2019

From my Gartner Blog - More on “AI for cybersecurity”

There is a very important point to understand about the vendors using ML for threat detection.

Usually ML is used to identify known behavior, but with variable parameters. What does that mean? It means that many times we know what bad looks like, but not how exactly it looks like.

For example, we know that data exfiltration attempts will usually exploit certain protocols, such as DNS. But data exfiltration via DNS can be done in multiple ways. So, what we do to detect it is to use ML to learn the normal behavior, according to certain parameters. Things like amount of data on each query, frequency of queries, etc. Anomalies on these parameters may point to exfiltration attempts.

On that case ML helps us find something we already know about, but the definition is fuzzy enough that prevents us from using simple rules to detect it. This is an example of unsupervised ML used to detect relevant anomalies for threat detection. There are also many examples of using supervised ML to learn the fuzzy characteristics of bad behavior. But as you can see, a human had to understand the threat, how it operates, and then define the ML models that can detect the activity.

If you are about to scream “DEEP LEARNING!”, stop. You still need to know what data to look at with deep learning, and if you are using it to learn what bad looks like, you still need to tell it what is bad. We ended up at the same place.

Although ML based detection is a different detection method, the process is still very similar to how signatures are developed.

What haven’t been done yet is AI that can find threats not defined by a human. Most vendors use misleading language to lead people to think they can do it, but that doesn’t exist. Considering this reality, my favorite question to these vendors is usually “what do you do to ensure new threats are properly identified and new models developed to identify them?”. Isn’t that interesting that people buy “AI” but keep relying on the human skills from the vendor to keep it useful?

If you are a user of these technologies, you’ll usually need to know what the vendor does to keep what the tools looks for aligned to new threats. For the mature shops, you also need to know if the tool allows you to do that yourself, if you want/need.

That’s a good way to start the conversation with a “Cybersecurity AI” vendor; see how fast they fall into the trap of “we can find unknown unknowns”.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From my Gartner Blog - The new (old) SIEM papers are out!

As Anton already mentioned here and here, our update of the big SIEM paper was turned into two new papers:

How to Architect and Deploy a SIEM Solution
SIEM is expected to remain a mainstay of security monitoring, but many organizations are challenged with deploying the technology. This guidance framework provides a structured approach for technical professionals working to architect and deploy a SIEM solution.
Published: 16 Oct 2018
Anton Chuvakin | Anna Belak | Augusto Barros

How to Operate and Evolve a SIEM Solution
Managing and using a SIEM is difficult, and many projects are stuck in compliance or minimal value deployments. Most SIEM challenges come from the operations side, not broken tools. This guidance supports technical professionals focused on security working to operate, tune and utilize SIEM tools.
Published: 05 Nov 2018
Augusto Barros | Anton Chuvakin | Anna Belak

 

 

We decided to split the document so we could expand on those two main activities, deploying and operating a SIEM, without the worry of building a document so big it would scare away the readers. A great secondary outcome of that is we were able to put together separate guidance frameworks for each one of those activities. Some of my favorite pieces of each doc:

Deploy

“User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA)-SIEM convergence allows organizations to also include UEBA-centric use cases and machine learning (ML) capabilities in their deployment projects.” (A hype-less way to talk about “OMG AI AI!”)

“Staff shortages and threat landscape drive many organizations to SaaS SIEM, co-managed SIEM and service-heavy models for their SIEM deployments and operation.” (Because, in case you haven’t noticed, SIEM NEEDS PEOPLE TO WORK)

“Adopt the “output-driven SIEM” model, where nothing comes into a SIEM tool unless there is a clear knowledge of how it would be used.” (I know it’s old, but hey, this is our key advice for those deploying SIEM! So, still a favorite)

“Deploy use cases requiring constant baselining and anomaly detection, such as user account compromise detection, using ML/advanced analytics functions previously associated with UEBA” (because it’s not all marketing garbage; these use cases are the perfect fit for UEBA capabilities)

Operate

“Creating and refining security monitoring use cases is critical to an effective SIEM. User-created and customized detection logic delivers the most value.” (because ongoing SIEM value REQUIRES use case management)

“Develop the key operational processes for SIEM: run, watch and adapt. When necessary, fill the gaps with services such as MSS and co-managed SIEM” (we promoted “tune” to “adapt”)

“Prepare and keep enough resources to manage and troubleshoot log collection issues. New sources will be added; software upgrades change log collection methods and formats; environment changes often cause collection disruption.” (ML capabilities, big data tech, all that is cool, but a big chunk of SIEM work is still being able to get the data in)

 

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

From my Gartner Blog - Endpoint Has Won, Why Bother With NTA?

One of my favorite blog posts from Anton is the one about the “SOC nuclear triad”. As he describes, SOCs should use logs, endpoint and network data on their threat detection and response efforts. But we also know that organizations don’t have infinite resources and will often have to decide about which tool to deploy first (or ever). Leaving logs aside for a moment, as it usually has additional drivers (i.e. Compliance), the decision eventually becomes: Endpoint vs Network.

Considering a fair comparison, I believe endpoint wins. Some of the evidence we see out there apparently confirms that. Just look at the number of EDR and NTA solutions available in the market. The number of calls I get about EDR, compared to NTA, is also higher. Not to mention that some surveys are also pointing to the same thing.

Endpoint also wins on technical aspects:

  • The network is not yours anymore: With cloud, including PaaS and SaaS, it becomes harder to find a network to plug your NTA technology too. The number of blind spots for network monitoring today are huge, and growing.
  • Encryption: To make things worse (or better, I should say), network traffic encryption is growing tremendously. Almost everything that used to be HTTP now is HTTPS. Visibility on the higher layers is very limited.
  • Endpoint has better signal to noise: This may be more contentious, but it seems that less deterministic detection seems to work better on the endpoint than on the network. What does that mean, in practical terms? That the detection approaches that go beyond simple signatures or indicators matching will generate better alerts, in terms of false positive rates, on the endpoint instead of on the network. Some people may disagree here, but that’s my impression from clients’ feedback about products from both sides.
  • You can see all network stuff on the endpoint: If you really want to see network traffic, why not capture on the endpoints? Some products have been doing that for years.

I think these are some of the reasons why MDR service providers select EDR as delivery mechanism for their services. Having an agent in place also gives them more fine-grained response capabilities, such as killing a process instead of blocking traffic to or from an IP address.

So, endpoint wins. Why would anyone still bother with NTA?

There are reasons that could reverse the preference from endpoint to network. You may prefer to rely on NTA when:

  • You need to protect IOT, OT/ICS, BYOD, mobile devices: Simply put, if you cannot install an agent on it, how would you do endpoint-based detection? There are many technologies being connected to networks that do not support or don’t have agents available. Sometimes they do, but you are not allowed to install the agent there.
  • Organizational challenges: Not all organizations are a perfectly friendly environment for endpoint monitoring. The “owners” of the endpoint technologies may simple reject the deployment of new agents. Your silo may not have enough power to force the deployment of agents but may have better access to network instrumentation. There are many situations beyond simple technical reasons that would force you to look for an alternative to endpoint technologies.
  • Price? Not sure here, but depending on the number of endpoints and the network architecture, it may be cheaper to do monitoring on the network level instead of on each endpoint. If you have a huge number of endpoints, but a network that is easy to instrument and monitor, the bill for NTA could be friendlier than the EDR bill.

So, there are two reasons to still invest in NTA. First, PERFECT visibility REQUIRES both. If you are concerned about super advanced threats disabling agents, using BIOS/EFI rootkits, you need to compensate with non-endpoint visibility too. Second, organizational or technology limitations may leave you with network as the only option.

 

Do you see any other reason why NTA would be the preferred option, instead of endpoint? Do you disagree that endpoint has won?

(this post, BTW is the result of our initial discussions on upcoming NTA research…)

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, September 7, 2018

From my Gartner Blog - The “How To Build a SOC” Paper Update is OUT!

Anton and I have been probing the social media for some time about the trends related to SOC and incident response teams. All that work finally made its way into our “How to Plan, Design, Operate and Evolve a SOC” paper. It is the same paper we published a couple of years ago, but updated to reflect some things we’ve seen evolving since the first version, such as:

  • SOAR tools evolution and growth in adoption
  • Further convergence between security monitoring and incident response
  • Higher adoption of services to supplement internal capabilities

We also updated the guidance figure to include more details for each phase:

Please provide feedback if you read it via https://surveys.gartner.com/s/gtppaperfeedback

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

From my Gartner Blog - Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit Brazil – 2018

The Gartner Security Summit Brazil is fast approaching and I’m happy to be part of it again. This time it’s even more special, for many reasons.

This is my first year as the chairman of the conference. It’s very rewarding to be work on the content that will be delivered,  selecting analysts and external speakers. I’m happy to have Anton coming this year. He has quite a fan base there, I’m sure they will all be excited to attend his sessions!

I was also able to bring two very interesting external speakers:

  • Dr. Deltan Dallagnol – One of the prosecutors working on the famous “Carwash Operation task force”
  • Dr. Jessica Barker – The human aspects of information security always fascinated me. Dr. Barker is one of the specialists in this field and she’s bringing her perspective on why things are not so simple as “users are dumb”.

We’ll also have an stellar team of Gartner analysts there. You can check who’s coming here.

Of course, I have my own share of sessions too:

TUESDAY, 14 AUGUST, 2018 / 09:15 AM – 10:15 AM – Scaling Trust and Resilience — Cut the Noise and Enable Action (The opening Keynote)

TUESDAY, 14 AUGUST, 2018 / 01:45 PM – 02:30 PM – Roundtable: How Did You Start Your Organization’s Detection and Response Capabilities?

TUESDAY, 14 AUGUST, 2018 / 03:45 PM – 04:30 PM – An Overview of the Threat Landscape in Brazil

WEDNESDAY, 15 AUGUST, 2018 / 09:15 AM – 10:00 AM – CARTA Inspired Cases in Brazil

WEDNESDAY, 15 AUGUST, 2018 / 12:15 PM – 01:15 PM – CISO Circle Lunch: Lessons Learned in the Equifax Breach and Other Incidents

WEDNESDAY, 15 AUGUST, 2018 / 01:45 PM – 02:30 PM – Roundtable: Lessons From Using Managed Security Services

 

If you’re planning to attend, please come and say hi :-)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

From my Gartner Blog - Threat Simulation Open Source Projects

It’s crazy how many (free!) OSS projects are popping up for threat and attack simulation! We are working on research about Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) tools, and we’ll certainly mention these projects, buy I thought it would be valuable to provide a list of links on the blog as well. Here are all the projects that I’ve managed to track in the past few weeks.

So what? No excuse to not run some of these and see how your environment and your detection and response practices react. Go ahead and try some of these :-)

 Invoke-Adversary – Simulating Adversary Operations – Windows Security

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