Archive for the ‘Threats’ Category

IP Intelligence Lookup Chrome Extension

The topic of “IP intelligence” gets a nod in the book that @jayjacobs & I are writing and it was interesting to see just how many sites purport to “know something” about an IP address. I shamelessly admit to being a Chrome user and noticed there were no tools that made it possible to right-click on an IP address and do a simultaneous lookup across a these resources. So, I threw one together (it’s pretty trivial to write a contextMenus extension). It will create a new window and run search queries on the following OSI sources in new tabs:

  • www.sophos.ocm

(I’m kinda partial to the AlienVault IP Reputation database, tho.)

The source is up on github, but—if you’re in an organization that controls which Chrome add-ons you are allowed to use—I also published it to the Chrome Web Store (it’s free) so you can request a review and add by your endpoint management/security team if you find it handy.


I’m definitely open to suggestions/additions/rotten tomatoes being hurled in my direction.

Off By One : The Importance Of Fact Checking Breach Reports

I didn’t read through the Massachusetts 2011 Report on Data Breach Notifications [PDF] until recently, but once I went through the report my brain kept telling me “something is wrong”. Not something earth shattering, but more of a “something is off” signal. This happens more than I’d like as I tend to constantly background process what I intake visually.

As Twitter followers may lament, I have been known to transcribe useful tabular information from reports such as these, especially when I need to communicate them internally and I have done so with this report [gdocs] as well.

After working through the whole document, the last page of data is where I found the “off by one” error (see figure below). Someone performed “head math” vs copying & formatting from a spreadsheet. Never a good idea if you aren’t going to double-check the report thoroughly.


Off By One

My transcription (“Lost Stolen Misplaced” tab in the aforelinked workbook) assumes the “5” and “48” are correct and has the correct total (“53″). One of the problems when an error like this crops up is that you do not know where the error occurred, but since the sums of “12” and “277” are both correct in the spreadsheet and in the report, I think I’ve found the culprit. Unfortunately, a computational error such as this does foster suspicion on the accuracy of the rest of the report data.

It’s a lesson report writers should heed well: compute twice, publish once. Errant data can cut as deeply as a saw blade.

While I Have Your Attention

Since there aren’t many visualizations in  Massachusetts 2011 Report on Data Breach Notifications (3D numbers do not count), here are a few I made that I found helpful during my interpretation (2011 data unless otherwise specified):

# Residents Impacted By Breah Org

Number Of Breached By Org

Number of Breaches by Type 2008-2011

Residents Impacted By Breach Type





Slaying the BEAST in nginx

Just a quick post as I noticed that my nginx configuration was vulnerable to the BEAST attack thanks to the #spiffy SSL Certificate Tester from Qualys (I scored an “A”, btw :-).

The nginx docs show how to do this, now, and it’s pretty simple (very similar to the Apache configuration, in fact):

ssl_ciphers RC4:HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

Set it to prefer RC4 ciphers and — BOOM! — you’re done.

Like many other system admins, I should have done this a long time ago. And, like many other system admins, I’ve got many other things going on. I let this slip (even though I’ve kept up on nginx patches) and I shouldn’t have. Thankfully, this was a low risk item as the site doesn’t perform truly critical transactions.

I definitely encourage folks to use the SSL Labs tool to help ensure you’ve got your site’s configuration up to snuff.

Also, make sure to follow @ivanristic on Twitter if you care at all about web app security.

Metricon: Software Security’s Futures Plural

UPDATE – 2011-02-26: Alphonso has posted his slides and BeeWise is open!

Speaker: Alfonso De Gregorio

How do we build a future in software security?


/me: the slides that will be posted have a ton of detail that Alfonso sped through. you’ll get a very good feel from them


Metrics are the servants of risk management and RM is about making decisions

we have incomplete information about # & severity of vulns

software products are highly defective and have no accountability


Bugs & Carrots

discussion around what software vendors are incented to do/why

features > security

bug fix > vuln fix

time to market > test/verify



(Markets & Metrics)

we need to put a cost on the software flaws with laws/regs & change in liability models

create feedback mechanisms (/me: open group work on security architecture?)


investment metrics to-date have challenges, especially in severity and probability of events

market-based metrics would provide a different context (e.g. stock market pricing)

create an infosec security market?

  • bug challenges
  • auctions
  • vuln brokers
  • infosec insurance
  • exploit derivatives


info function / incentive function / risk balancing function efficiency – all factors in creating a vulnerability market

/me: make a table with bullets above as rows and factors list as columns to do a comparison

suggests an Exploit Derivatives market (future’s contracts for vulns)

[side-talk: discussion about derviatives vs future and how the profit incentives may be conflicting]

[side-talk: why will make software companies pay attention to what seems to be a market that only makes speculators rich?]

[side-talk: is this legal? can we get this baked into contracts?]

[side-talk: degraded convo down to responsibility of software companies]

[side-talk: interesting analogy to the airline industry needing to be in the oil futures market to software companies needing to be in this potential vuln/exploit market]

another example is weather derivatives


cites two examples of how prediction markets can incent change

cites  and a FIFA predction market


AwesomeChartJS Meets Microsoft Security Bulletins

I wanted to play with the AwesomeChartJS library and figured an interesting way to do that was to use it to track Microsoft Security Bulletins this year. While I was drawn in by just how simple it is to craft basic charts, that simplicity really only makes it useful for simple data sets. So, while I’ve produced three diferent views of Microsoft Security Bulletins for 2011 (to-date, and in advance of February’s Patch Tuesday), it would not be a good choice to do a running comparison between past years and 20111 (per-month).  The authors self-admit that there are [deliberate] limitations and point folks to the most excellent flot library for more sophisticated analytics (which I may feature in March).

The library itself only works within an HTML5 environment (one of the reasons I chose it) and uses a separate <canvas> element to house each chart. After loading up the library iself in a script tag:

<script src="/b/js/AwesomeChartJS/awesomechart.js" type="application/javascript">

(which is ~32K un-minified) you then declare a canvas element:

<canvas id="canvas1" width="400" height="300"></canvas>

and use some pretty straighforward javascript (no dependency on jQuery or other large frameworks) to do the drawing:
var mychart = new AwesomeChart('canvas1');
mychart.title = "Microsoft Security Bulletins Raw Count By Month - 2011"; = [2, 12];
mychart.colors = ["#0000FF","#0000FF"];
mychart.labels = ["January", "February"];

It’s definitely worth a look if you have simple charting needs.

Regrettably, it looks like February is going to be a busy month for Windows administrators.

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