Attacks/Breaches
2/26/2009
01:15 PM
50%
50%

Mandiant Appliance Accelerates Incident Response

MIR gets to the heart of system compromises, but its forensic tools are limited.

Incident response is a straightforward process when you're looking at a single infected machine. But what if hundreds, or even thousands, of hosts are affected? Mandiant Intelligent Response addresses this scenario, and our tests show it ought to help information security pros sleep at night.

At $86,500, MIR is aimed at enterprises. And prospective customers must realize that there's no "Find Evidence" button that users can click on to immediately solve a case. MIR requires an understanding of incident response and what attackers and malware do once they've compromised a system. That said, MIR makes finding evidence easier by providing the tools to do it effectively on one machine or a thousand.

OUR TAKE
MANDIANT INTELLIGENT RESPONSE
• Mandiant's MIR appliance significantly accelerates the incident response process.
• MIR's multiuser system allows investigators to collaborate on incidents, request more audits, and share notes.
• Users must have a strong understanding of incident response to use the product to its fullest potential.
• Deeper forensic investigations will require an additional forensic tool such as Forensic Toolkit or Encase.
MIR differs from competitors in a couple of important ways. First, it's a self-contained appliance that includes all necessary hardware and software for enterprise incident response. Second, it's built for incident response first; forensics abilities take a backseat. MIR will allow you to start an investigation, but it can't perform end-to-end forensic analysis and remediation. You'd need a separate tool--or one of MIR's software-based competitors--for that.

However, when responding to an incident is top priority, MIR has you covered. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface enables first responders and forensic investigators to quickly perform detailed audits of one host or many. Information and activities, such as process listings, memory acquisition, and rootkit detection, are at the analyst's fingertips.

The MIR appliance contains 2 TB of storage; dual Gigabit Ethernet network interfaces; USB 2.0, DVD-RW, and FireWire capabilities; and dual hot-swappable power supplies. MIR's software components include the Controller, a hardened Linux OS running an administrative Web interface for initial configuration and basic system administration; the Windows-based investigative Console; and the endpoint Agents. The Controller connects to each Agent to perform audits. Investigators use the Controller to review information gathered through audits and to request additional audits.

Currently, Agents are available only for Windows, but Linux and Mac OS X support is on the road map. The Console also is Windows-only, but the Controller contains an easily accessible, open API.

Mandiant

More than a sporty facede
Compromising Position

To test MIR, we compromised machines, then performed audits on a single host to learn traits of the compromise that we could then leverage to perform targeted audits across all machines, something that's very important when dealing with hundreds or thousands of hosts. MIR can significantly speed the incident-response process compared with the ad hoc response methodologies in place within many organizations. We could quickly get the information we needed to determine the host was compromised, then proceed with a more detailed forensic analysis using another tool, like Forensic Toolkit or Encase.

However, the true power of MIR is in its extensive audit and search capabilities. Audits include file, disk, and physical memory acquisition; event log collection; registry analysis; rootkit hook detection; and services, tasks, and user account listings. The scripting capability allowed us to tie several audits together in a repeatable process, which is important during the initial stage of an incident.

DIG DEEPER
Into The Breach
Get the most out of your forensic tools.

Once audits are run and results returned to the Controller, they're indexed, making searches very quick. MIR's powerful keyword search allows investigators to refine searches based on specific attributes, ranging from mundane things like host name and MAC address to advanced items like functions and addresses hooked by a rootkit. The list of searchable fields is impressive and well worth the entire appendix given to it in the user's guide.

John H. Sawyer is senior security engineer on the University of Florida IT Security Team. Write to us at iweekletters @techweb.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1421
Published: 2014-11-25
mountall 1.54, as used in Ubuntu 14.10, does not properly handle the umask when using the mount utility, which allows local users to bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3605
Published: 2014-11-25
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2014-6407. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2014-6407. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2014-6407 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to pre...

CVE-2014-6093
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0.x before 7.0.0.2 CF29, 8.0.x through 8.0.0.1 CF14, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0 CF02 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-6196
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM Web Experience Factory (WEF) 6.1.5 through 8.5.0.1, as used in WebSphere Dashboard Framework (WDF) and Lotus Widget Factory (LWF), allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML by leveraging a Dojo builder error in an unspecified WebSp...

CVE-2014-7247
Published: 2014-11-25
Unspecified vulnerability in JustSystems Ichitaro 2008 through 2011; Ichitaro Government 6, 7, 2008, 2009, and 2010; Ichitaro Pro; Ichitaro Pro 2; Ichitaro 2011 Sou; Ichitaro 2012 Shou; Ichitaro 2013 Gen; and Ichitaro 2014 Tetsu allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted file.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?