Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, LeanTaaS Blog, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Open Source Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Creating a Self-Defending Network Using Open Source Software

You’ve got a firewall and a DMZ, you’re all set, right?

By: Steve McMaster

This past weekend, I presented the idea of a self-defending network at Ohio LinuxFest 2012. The accompanying slides are now available here. So let’s talk about network security. You’ve got a firewall and a DMZ, you’re all set, right? Not so fast slugger. We preach a theory called “defense in depth” here at Hurricane Labs. And that means you need something to defend you when your firewall admins make a mistake. And something to protect you when that layer fails. And so on. So what are these other layers? Well one of them is having a good IDS/IPS system. An IDS/IPS listens to network traffic, generally the traffic inside your firewall, and either alerts on (IDS) or drops/blocks altogether (IPS) traffic that meets specific rules defining “bad traffic”. But what else can you do?

A coworker and I put a couple pieces of open source software (OSSEC and Snort) together to respond to certain types of automated attacks we were seeing in our IDS (we use Snort in this case). Prior to this, an engineer would manually respond to alerts by logging into our firewall and blocking the IP address causing the alert. This process was tedious, repetitive, and time consuming. By the time the firewall change would be pushed, generally the scan (it was usually a scan) was over and the attacker had moved on. So we took advantage of a feature in OSSEC called “active response”, which is used to react to events on the network. OSSEC was configured to watch for Snort alerts, and would run a script on our Internet routers (running Vyatta core 6.3) to block the IP for 10 minutes. This response runs almost immediately. We hand selected alerts that we had associated with simple scans, such as FTP Brute Force attacks, and set them up to block the addresses. But this wasn’t enough for us.

We started to ponder what sorts of scans were happening that our firewall was dropping. For example SIP or SSH scans, which don’t ever pass through the firewall, that were at best sucking up bandwidth and at worst causing problems if our firewall rules ever let something slip. Granted, those sorts of slips are uncommon, but mistakes are always possible and it’s best to plan for every type of failure.

Coincidentally, we also wanted to test a new IDS on the market called Suricata. Suricata was designed from the ground up to be an “open source next generation intrusion detection and prevention engine”, and we wanted to run it through its paces (which is a different article entirely). So, we configured a server running Suricata, but this one was configured to watch traffic on a SPAN session watching traffic outside the firewall. What we found in preliminary testing was that we saw a few types of scans on a regular basis – NMAP ping scans, SSH brute force scans, and SIP scans. So, similarly to what we did with FTP brute forcing (which for multiple reasons is better detected on the sensor inside the network) we configured OSSEC to watch logs from Suricata (which was relatively simple, as it logs in a format compatible with Snort alerts anyways). Poof! A network that defends itself.

What we’ve done is similar in premise to the Team Cymru Darknet Project. According to their website, a darknet is “a portion of routed, allocated IP space in which no active services or servers reside.” It is then assumed that any packets entering the network are unsolicited and more than likely undesirable. This can be used to reliably build a list of known malicious hosts. Unlike a true darknet, we’re using IP space that hosts active services, however we’ve tuned our monitoring to look specifically for traffic we know, by design, not to expect. This allows us to gain many of the benefits of a darknet without the resource investment required.

The advantage of this method is that we can run the “active response” on multiple targets. So, for example, we run two Internet-facing routers on our colocated data center network, and another on the edge of our office network. By detecting scans on both networks, the other network is automatically protected as well. This could be propagated to several other mechanisms as well. It could be used to build a dynamic BGP feed, or DNS blacklist, of hosts that are known to be scanning the Internet maliciously.

I’ve attached a few snippets to this article to help get you started on the path to building a self-defending network. These include configuration examples and rule signatures for OSSEC, Snort and Suricata.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hurricane Labs

Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"WineSOFT is a software company making proxy server software, which is widely used in the telecommunication industry or the content delivery networks or e-commerce," explained Jonathan Ahn, COO of WineSOFT, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The past few years have seen a huge increase in the amount of critical IT services that companies outsource to SaaS/IaaS/PaaS providers, be it security, storage, monitoring, or operations. Of course, along with any outsourcing to a service provider comes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that the vendor is held financially responsible for any lapses in their service which affect the customer’s end users, and ultimately, their bottom line. SLAs can be very tricky to manage for a number ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Admiral Calcote - also known as Lee Calcote (@lcalcote) or the Ginger Geek to his friends - gave a presentation entitled Characterizing and Contrasting Container Orchestrators at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. Okay, he isn't really an admiral - nor does anyone call him that - but he used the title admiral to describe what container orchestrators do, relating it to an admiral directing a fleet of container ships. You could also say that they are like the conductor of an orchestra, directing...
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things c...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...