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.

Threat Intelligence

At RSAC, SOC 'Sees' User Behaviors

Instruments at the RSA Security Operations Center give analysts insight into attendee behavior on an open network.

RSA CONFERENCE 2018 – San Francisco – At RSAC 2018 the SOC is a demonstration site. It has some hard limits — no visibility to the external IP interfaces being the most significant — but it has tremendous visibility into what happens on the wireless network that supports the tens of thousands of attendees using the open system. And that network visibility translates into great visibility into the behavior of network security professionals in the wild.

A team of network security specialists including Cisco's Jessica Bair staff the SOC, watching traffic of various sorts flow to and from the devices carried by attendees, exhibitors, and staff. Because the SOC isn't blocking any traffic, there's great interest in the monitoring, which happens courtesy of RSA NetWitness Packets; potentially malicious traffic is further given static analysis by Threat Grid.

One of the things visitors notice in the SOC fishbowl is a screen filled with a rolling list of partially obfuscated passwords. That's when they see two important things about conference attendees, one of them good, one of them not so much.

Almost all of the passwords are either strong or very strong. That's great, and shows that security professionals, at least, have acted on the need for stronger passwords.

The problem comes in the fact that the passwords can be seen to be strong; they're being sent in clear text. It's a sign of a lesson half-learned and indicative of problems likely to plague all levels of the computer-using population of companies.

And passwords aren't the only data being sent in the clear. Other examples of documents analysts have seen traversing the network include business plans, resumes, and information on competitors, according to one of the engineers staffing the SOC. 

While the passwords and documents traversing the network represent a significant security risk, Bair quickly points out that there is no threat of long-term information release; the hard disks from the monitoring and analysis appliances are crushed at the end of the conference.

Of course, the monitoring infrastructure established in the SOC sees more that just potentially embarrassing clear text documents. Malware and possible malware were identified and analyzed through Cisco's Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) Anywhere with its Threat Intelligence Cloud. Information on potential malware seen was communicated among all nodes of the security network and other security networks related to the RSA Conference infrastructure for more rapid identification and (potential) remediation.

Ultimately, Bair likened the activity of the SOC to the basic instruction given to fighting women and men of the U.S. Army. "You have to do three things: Shoot, move, and communicate. If you're not doing all three three, you're [redacted] dead."

In cybersecurity terms, the system must actively defend the organization's assets, be agile in shifting its activities to meet evolving threats, and share information and commands with other networks looking for malware and malicious behavior. With all three, an organization has a chance to practice effective behavior. Without the three, then sooner or later your organization is truly [redacted] dead.

Related content:

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for a two-day Cybersecurity Crash Course at Interop ITX. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the agenda here. Register with Promo Code DR200 and save $200.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: George has not accepted that the technology age has come to an end.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-23351
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-08
The package github.com/pires/go-proxyproto before 0.5.0 are vulnerable to Denial of Service (DoS) via the parseVersion1() function. The reader in this package is a default bufio.Reader wrapping a net.Conn. It will read from the connection until it finds a newline. Since no limits are implemented in ...
CVE-2009-20001
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in MantisBT before 2.24.5. It associates a unique cookie string with each user. This string is not reset upon logout (i.e., the user session is still considered valid and active), allowing an attacker who somehow gained access to a user's cookie to login as them.
CVE-2020-28466
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
This affects all versions of package github.com/nats-io/nats-server/server. Untrusted accounts are able to crash the server using configs that represent a service export/import cycles. Disclaimer from the maintainers: Running a NATS service which is exposed to untrusted users presents a heightened r...
CVE-2021-27364
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. drivers/scsi/scsi_transport_iscsi.c is adversely affected by the ability of an unprivileged user to craft Netlink messages.
CVE-2021-27365
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-07
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.11.3. Certain iSCSI data structures do not have appropriate length constraints or checks, and can exceed the PAGE_SIZE value. An unprivileged user can send a Netlink message that is associated with iSCSI, and has a length up to the maximum length...