Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

10/19/2009
03:51 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

Using USBs For Incident Response

I was honored to be the keynote speaker this week at Operation WebLock, a cyber incident response two-day seminar hosted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The event focused on helping administrators and IT staff respond better to cyber-threats that could affect their networks and Florida's infrastructure -- a very worthwhile endeavor, and awesome that it was offered free to local business, government, and law enforcement.

I was honored to be the keynote speaker this week at Operation WebLock, a cyber incident response two-day seminar hosted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The event focused on helping administrators and IT staff respond better to cyber-threats that could affect their networks and Florida's infrastructure -- a very worthwhile endeavor, and awesome that it was offered free to local business, government, and law enforcement.The presentations included topics like incident response, social networks, working with law enforcement on cases, and using USB devices for attack. The last topic, presented by Steve Goldsby, was my favorite because we've all read about how malicious USB devices can be, and in the presentation, Steve gave live demonstrations of tools he uses during penetration tests. What I thought made this presentation unique was his examples of using USB U3 devices to exfiltrate data, as well as information on defense and how these devices could be used for good.

There was a good discussion on how companies can protect themselves against the threat of malicious USB devices. There's the approach I talked about last year, where some companies have taken the extreme approach and put epoxy into the USB ports making them completely unusable. But the other option is to implement a software-based solution, which can vary from commercial offerings to a free update from Microsoft. The recent update to Security Advisory 967940 and an associated software fix properly prevents devices from automatically running Autorun.inf files (something Conficker took advantage of).

One thing I want to point out about Steve's presentation is that while it is easy to look at the negative side of USB devices because of all the ways they can be used to attack you, they don't have to be evil. He gave an example of a good USB device--one with automated code for incident response. I know I've preached about incident response needing to be automated and repeatable. But by creating a USB device with all the tools bundled with a script that executes each one either by just inserting the device or by double-clicking the script, it makes it almost fool-proof for a first responder to use.

In the end, I think it was a good eye-opener for the attendees. Although many of them have read Steve Stasiukonis' story on how he used USB flash drives during a penetration test against a credit union, the "seeing is believing" mantra definitely applies.

More information on Operation WebLock can be found on their website.

John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/27/2020
Are You One COVID-19 Test Away From a Cybersecurity Disaster?
Alan Brill, Senior Managing Director, Cyber Risk Practice, Kroll,  10/21/2020
Modern Day Insider Threat: Network Bugs That Are Stealing Your Data
David Pearson, Principal Threat Researcher,  10/21/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11854
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
Arbitrary code execution vlnerability in Operation bridge Manager, Application Performance Management and Operations Bridge (containerized) vulnerability in Micro Focus products products Operation Bridge Manager, Operation Bridge (containerized) and Application Performance Management. The vulneravil...
CVE-2020-11858
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
Code execution with escalated privileges vulnerability in Micro Focus products Operation Bridge Manager and Operation Bridge (containerized). The vulneravility affects: 1.) Operation Bridge Manager versions: 2020.05, 2019.11, 2019.05, 2018.11, 2018.05, 10.63,10.62, 10.61, 10.60, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10 ...
CVE-2020-23945
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
A SQL injection vulnerability exists in Victor CMS V1.0 in the cat_id parameter of the category.php file. This parameter can be used by sqlmap to obtain data information in the database.
CVE-2020-7754
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
This affects the package npm-user-validate before 1.0.1. The regex that validates user emails took exponentially longer to process long input strings beginning with @ characters.
CVE-2020-6023
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-27
Check Point ZoneAlarm before version 15.8.139.18543 allows a local actor to escalate privileges while restoring files in Anti-Ransomware.