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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

10/14/2010
02:50 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Anti-Botnet Startup Quietly Emerges From Stealth Mode

Umbra Data offers 'Dark Side Intelligence' on botnet activity for service providers, ISPs, and enterprises

A startup led by former Trend Micro executives that offers botnet intelligence feeds and threat reports has come out of the shadows. Umbra Data, based in San Jose, Calif., offers a cloud-based service that continuously monitors and vets command and control (C&C) activity and can be integrated into either a service provider's offerings or enterprise security devices, such as routers and recursive DNS servers.

The company was founded in 2008 by former Trend Micro executive Paul Moriarty -- now CEO of Umbra Data -- who developed Trend's first anti-botnet products, and Marc Evans, former senior software architect at Trend and now CTO of Umbra Data. The company's Dark Side Intelligence service has been adopted by a university and, most recently, a service provider, Moriarty says.

Moriarty and Evans found what they saw as a major gap in the anti-botnet space. "There was a lot of botnet intelligence out there ... But it was all over the place, and you can't put it all on one big list -- a lot of stuff is not really actionable," Moriarty says.

So they built a sensor network that constantly tracks and scrutinizes C&C traffic for malicious activity. About one-fourth of the data the company gathers is from its own research and investigation, and the rest from other available intelligence sources. "We're using our own feeds and other available intelligence out there for consumption. The difference is we're providing it to you in a way that enables you to incorporate it into your existing network infrastructure," Moriarty says.

That includes feeding it into a Cisco router Access Control List, for instance, or a Check Point firewall rule. It doesn't require purchasing a separate appliance, something many cash- and resource-strapped organizations would rather avoid. The average of 7 to 12 percent of an enterprise's machines being bot-infected may not be enough to cost-justify them buying another appliance, Moriarty says.

But botnets, indeed, are a major vehicle for cybercrime activity. A handful of anti-botnet vendors, including Damballa Research and FireEye, offer anti-botnet appliances. In a report by The 451 Group, Joshua Corman, research director for the enterprise security practice, says it's difficult for some organizations to justify purchasing another appliance. "Very few people have the budget or the staff to add a net-new appliance to their arsenal. While there is some spending on anti-botnet products, like those from Damballa and FireEye, we believe a greater portion of the market wants to leverage these capabilities but cannot justify another appliance to do so," he wrote. "In many CISO discussions, we hear, 'I love the research, but can I consume this content via one of my existing appliance investments?' We've been encouraging the existing players to pursue licensing their content for some time now. Umbra Data is showing it has both botnet and market/budget intelligence."

Umbra Data's Dark Side Intelligence service publishes its findings in XML format, which can be fed into an organization's data leakage protection or other network security equipment. The company recently inked an OEM deal with a DLP appliance vendor, according to Moriarty, and is in discussions with a firewall vendor as well as a deep-packet inspection vendor.

Interestingly, of the around 120,000 IPs Umbra Data tracks, only about 30 percent are typically found to be malicious. The Dark Side Intelligence service offers a "block" list for any C&Cs that it confirms malicious and an "alert" list for bad guys who have some legitimate traffic as well. There's also a list for suspicious activity.

Umbra Data's Dark Side Intelligence has been shipping since early this year, and is priced from $50,000 to $350,000 per year, depending on the size of the organization.

Meanwhile, 451 Group's Corman says if Umbra Data's strategy works, it could be a game-changer in the anti-botnet market. "One interesting competitive twist comes from Umbra Data's strategy to only deliver a feed. Currently, if an enterprise has only enough budget for one or two more noncompliance-mandated projects, anti-botnet appliances compete for that slot with data-loss prevention, next-generation firewalls, network forensics, and packet-capture appliances, as well as other one-function 'uni-tasker' appliances. Umbra Data has already signed an OEM relationship with one such player," 451 Group's Corman wrote. "This could make any or all of those vendors potential partners. This changes the equation for those CISOs who wanted the anti-botnet capabilities, but didn't want a solo appliance for it. It could force the question, why buy an anti-botnet-only appliance if I can buy a box that does DLP and botnet C&C? The proof will be in the pudding."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Browsers to Enforce Shorter Certificate Life Spans: What Businesses Should Know
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
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
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-17366
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
An issue was discovered in NLnet Labs Routinator 0.1.0 through 0.7.1. It allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions or to cause a denial of service on dependent routing systems by strategically withholding RPKI Route Origin Authorisation ".roa" files or X509 Certificate...
CVE-2020-9036
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Jeedom through 4.0.38 allows XSS.
CVE-2020-15127
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Contour ( Ingress controller for Kubernetes) before version 1.7.0, a bad actor can shut down all instances of Envoy, essentially killing the entire ingress data plane. GET requests to /shutdown on port 8090 of the Envoy pod initiate Envoy's shutdown procedure. The shutdown procedure includes flip...
CVE-2020-15132
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Sulu before versions 1.6.35, 2.0.10, and 2.1.1, when the "Forget password" feature on the login screen is used, Sulu asks the user for a username or email address. If the given string is not found, a response with a `400` error code is returned, along with a error message saying that th...
CVE-2020-7298
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Unexpected behavior violation in McAfee Total Protection (MTP) prior to 16.0.R26 allows local users to turn off real time scanning via a specially crafted object making a specific function call.