Setup Razorback Release 0.3.0 in VirtualBox

If you’ve not yet heard of Razorback, start listening. Sourcefire, the company behind the incredibly popular and effective Snort IPS, are working on a new project to extend detection capabilities beyond their traditional IPS. The best part: much like Snort, Razorback is an open source project, which will likely be incorporated into Sourcefire commercial solutions at some point while still maintaining the free version. In the age of security budget cuts despite the so-called “Year of the Hack” free is a good thing.

So what is it? Razorback is an attempt to separate traffic capturing and detection. Traditional IPS solutions capture traffic and analyze it real time, which has limits in terms of exactly how much analysis and reconstruction it can perform. Razorback takes the approach of capturing data based on what type of data is being exchanged then submitting content for analysis to additional processes, such as ClamAV scans, dissecting PDFs, submitting file types to Virustotal, and more. Check out the Sourcefire team’s presentation at DefCon 18 if you want to learn more about it before diving in.

Razorback is young, but it’s growing up fast and the latest release overcomes one of the biggest obstacles in deploying the solution for testing: setup and configuration. Sourcefire has released a virtual machine appliance that can get you a Razorback installation up and running in less than 20 minutes. I’m going to walk you through doing just that with VirtualBox.

First you’ll need a PC with at least 8gb of RAM and two NICs. You’ll also need the ability to mirror the traffic you want to monitor via port span, hub or tap. You can download VirtualBox here and don’t forget the VirtualBox extensions here. The Razorback VM can be found here.

  1. Install VirtualBox then install the VirtualBox extensions. Defaults in both cases should be fine.
  2. Launch VirtualBox and click File > Import Appliance. Click the Choose button and browse to where you downloaded the Razorback virtual appliance file, Razorback-0.3.0-Release.ova, and click Open then Next. I’d suggest selecting the check box to re-initialize the MAC address of the appliance’s network card then click Import. It should only take a couple minutes to import the appliance.
  3. Once the appliance is imported, the first thing you’ll need to do is edit the VirtualBox network settings. Right-click the Razorback-0.3.0-Release machine name and select Settings. When the Settings window loads, select Network.Razorback VirtualBox Network SettingsFirst we want to make sure the first network adapter is set to Bridged Adapter. Make sure the “Name” field indicates the network card you want to be the management interface. Next click little triangle next to “Advanced.” You’ll need to change the “Adapter Type” to get it to work with FreeBSD so choose “PCnet-PCI II (Am79C970A).” Since this is only a management interface, don’t worry about Promiscuous Mode. Do NOT create or configure a second adapter for the monitor interface…yet. Choose OK when you’re done with the settings.
  4. Right-click the Razorback-0.3.0-Release VM and choose “Start” for your initial boot. It will take a couple minutes to boot and once it’s done you’ll see a command line menu and if you dither you’ll start to see some “razorback masterNugget” log events writing to the console. Click in the VM and press enter to see the menu again if it gets away from you. You should see a URL for the system management web interface.Razorback ConsolePort 8080 is the admin interface, port 80 is the user interface. If you don’t see the URL/IP address or if it’s not valid, reconfirm the network settings above.
  5. Open a web browser and browse to http://<Management IP>:8080/. Login as admin, password: razorback. Click Network > Interfaces > Add Interface. This is where you configure the Razorback management interface. The NIC should be le0. You can give it whatever interface name you like and setup DHCP or a static IP for the management interface. Scroll down and Click OK when you’re done.
  6. Shutdown the appliance. You can do so either from the command line menu or from the web UI.
  7. Once it’s shutdown, go back into VirtualBox Settings > Network (right-click the Razorback VM). Now we need to add a second adapter where your port mirror/span/tap should be. SaaC (Snort as a Collector) will monitor this interface. So click Adapter 2, enable it and set it to bridged. The “Name” should be the physical network card used for the port mirror. Click Advanced and set the “Adapter Type” to “PCnet-PCI II (Am79C970A).” This time we want to set “Promiscuous Mode” to “Allow All.” Click OK.
  8. Restart Razorback virtual appliance.
  9. This is where it gets tricky…if you don’t know vi. Basically, we need to edit /etc/rc.conf to configure Snort to monitor the proper interface. If you don’t know vi you can always learn the basics in 5 minutes here. From the Console Setup text menu on the Razorback VM, enter “9” to get Shell access. Type “vi /etc/rc.conf” and scroll to the bottom of the file. You’re looking for the lines following: “## TAP/Span interface on em1”.We need to change “em1” to the interface name “le1” on both the ifconfig_le1 and snort_interface lines as seen in the screen shot above. Save the file.
  10. Back to the browser, access the Administration web UI at http://<Management IP>:8080. This time, head to Services > Control Services and click the On/Off button next to Snort.Razorback Administration Control ServicesIf everything goes as planned the button should turn blue/on.
  11. Open up a new tab and browse to http://<Management IP>/ and login as admin, password razorback and watch for events and more importantly alerts.

That’s about all there is to it. Monitor performance as high bandwidth can really tax the system. If you have the resources, adding more RAM to the VM can help.

When you start to see events and alerts you’ll see something like this:Clicking on the Alert count will show you which inspector alerted and provide a little information as to why, in this case OfficeCat found an Office vulnerability. Drilling into the Metadata count can get you a good bit more detail. In this case the vulnerability was found in a downloaded file from Yahoo!Mail.And we can tell from the HTTP Response what file we need to be worried about. This type of data can be really handy for creating indicators of compromise ( you give it a go, please consider joining the Razorback mailing list and supporting the development with testing feedback.

Happy hunting!

Reflections on MIRcon

If you missed MIRcon 2011, you should tune in to Mandiant’s State of the Hack: What really happened at MIRcon webcast on October 28th. (Archived version should be available here.) There were some great talks from the likes of Richard Clarke, Michael Chertoff, and Tony Sager, and a lot of the greatest minds in incident response and cybersecurity either presented or were present. Kevin Mandia has assembled an insanely gifted and giving crew.

What did we learn? Organized crime, hacktivism and nation-states are the attackers and no target is invulnerable. Your only defense is to quickly identify and carefully disrupt attacks. Don’t be a soft target. The harder the attacker has to work, the more likely you’ll either stop them the next time or they’ll move on to a softer target. They understand and have seen firsthand the effects of cyber espionage: the skill, speed and agility of the attackers; the ineffectiveness of standard security infrastructure; the economic impact of personal, corporate and national data loss and compromise.

We cannot put a price on the ultimate impact of cybercrime. Sure, we all know someone who has had to deal with credit card fraud or has received one of those letters stating that your personal information “may” have been lost. That’s a huge hit on our economy. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s what you see in the media and has the most potential to effect you personally. Now think corporate. Stealing PII is valuable. Attacking corporate bank accounts is profitable too. I believe it was Michael Chertoff who referred to “outsider trading” in his talk: stealing confidential corporate communications to leverage that information against the victim company in business negotiations. If you’re a bidder and you know the lowest bid in advance you can pretty much guarantee a win.

It doesn’t stop there. Richard Clarke told a great story about driving down a highway in Dubai where he saw an eighteen wheeler carrying a predator drone. He later asked Dubai officials when they had starting buying predators. “We haven’t.” they said.  “The US won’t sell them to us. That was a Flying Dragon.” Guess who they bought that from?

The ultimate impact seems immeasurable and there are no indications that it’s going to let up. In that sense, MIRcon was as depressing as I had expected. Actually, a little more so. Kevin Mandia’s opening remarks left my co-worker turning to me saying, “Wow. Depressing. Wow.” and me nodding affirmatively. Had it ended there I probably would be looking to buy some farmland and chickens far away from the Interwebs. Instead the next two days were filled with quality presentations, amazing technology and it’s uses, and real-world stories of victories and defeats. By the time Kevin gave his closing remarks I was still depressed, don’t get me wrong. It’s bleak. But some people get it. Some battles are being won. And at least some of the people fighting those battles are interested in helping you wage those battles yourself and providing tools and guidance to do so. There’s a rich, military background in the core of Mandiant. It’s quite apparent they’ve never abandoned service to their country.

/salute Mandiant

Giving and Being Thankful – MIRcon 2011

MIRcon 2011 is fast approaching. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my presentation and I hope it offers some ideas for dealing with infected hosts with Mandiant’s Intelligent Response and other tools you either already have deployed or can have for free. Well free to you. They’re really paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of some of the brightest, most giving and caring professionals you’ll ever encounter in any field…and Mandiant gives away a bunch of very useful ones. Which is why I decided to present.

I likely wouldn’t be attending MIRcon this year if I weren’t presenting. Budgets are tight and I prefer not to be away from my family anymore than I have to. I don’t have the technical ability or in depth knowledge to create some of the incredible tools freely available to anyone who cares, like Redline, Web Historian, and the “blows my mind/how cool is that” Heap Inspector from Mandiant or the LiveCD distributions like the SANS Investigate Forensic Toolkit (SIFT), Snorby/InstaSnorby, or Security Onion to name only a few.

It’s often lamented that we, the defenders, don’t share enough and to an extent it’s true. The attackers are sharing and trading tools and tactics in shady undergrounds, while the defenders are cloistered in their walls with minimal awareness of how surrounding castles fair. Look at all the breaches that have happened this year. How many have resulted in details of exactly what happened, how it happened, what was lost and why it can happen to anyone. The more we understand attacker methodologies the better we can prepare, detect and respond. We shouldn’t have to learn that lesson over and over again from company to company, living Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” each time it happens to an organization. Cybercrime is a war…it helps if allies actually talk and share.

But where the security community has proven to be a shining example of sharing is in the tools market. For most commercial detection and prevention tools there are freely available alternatives. They may not be for the weak or squeamish or be easy to find, but they’re effective, can do the job and are getting better and easier to use every year. These tools enable professionals like me. They allow me to go deeper and further than I may have without them. They make me better at security. They make me smarter than I am. They make me want to try to give something back. Like this blog. Like presenting at MIRcon.

I’m not a fan of public speaking, mostly due to nerves and not enough experience/comfort doing it. But my incredible wife constantly reminds me with her words and actions how important it is that we give back. That we share what we do have or know or create if it can help someone else through a struggle or to overcome a problem. So I’ll take the butterflies and try to overcome the awe and wonder of speaking at a conference where the likes of Richard A. Clarke and Michael Chertoff are keynoting. It’s more than worth it to try and give a something back, even if it’s just a little.

To anyone who has given something of themselves for the betterment of security, thank you. I’m looking forward to being able to thank some people in person for their efforts at MIRcon.


Mouse Traps?

Wired reported on a blog entry by Netragard detailing a wonderfully clever social engineering attack that should open some eyes. I’m not sure it will, but it should. For the unaware, social engineering is the art of manipulating a person into doing something you want, in this case inserting a USB device into their work computer.

Fearing the awareness levels around USB flash drives and malware were too high, they opted for a different USB device…a mouse. Carefully disassembling the mouse, they added a mini USB hub to which they attached a mini flash drive. When the user plugs in the mouse, they get the added bonus of a free flash drive with malware. After reassembly, they repackaged the mouse and sent it on it’s way. Are you surprised that within three days of sending it to their target the malware phoned home?

It’s a truly brilliant attack and they are to be commended for their creative thinking. I would think with most targets this attack or a variant thereof (free printers anyone?) would have a 100% success rate. I’d also like to thank them for sharing the story. While it sounds like to the stuff of spy movies, it’s real. And if good guys can think up these kinds of attacks you can bet the bad guys can to.

Which gets me thinking about risk. Does risk matter at all when the reality is you’re faced with attacks like this? Lesser attacks are just as effective, like targeted spear phishing. At one point does risk just become a way of measuring security through obscurity? Or is it there already? We already assume a lot of risk. Have we crossed a threshold?

It does confirm what I’m reading a lot of lately, especially from the likes of Richard Bejtlich of TaoSecurity and Mandiant CSO. The future of defense is a balance between prevention AND detection, trust AND distrust. The new model is not foreign to us. It’s the same castle and inner-keep concept. The difference is we’ve been lulled by security vendors into thinking we can prevent attacks while all along we watch virus detection rates fluctuate but never striking anywhere near 100%. In fact,’s most recent tests of “proactive on-demand detection” topped out at 61% back in May.

The key to defense is in knowing where your sensitive data lives and building your architecture around protecting that data. It’s your Fort Knox. Guard it, monitor it, trend it, know it. Inbound and outbound access should be locked down to required use only. This is your inner-keep. If it falls, game over.

That doesn’t mean your people milling around inside the castle’s walls get left for the vikings. But you can never know everyone and everything going on out there. Focus on what you need to protect, position it so it can be protected and closely monitored and defend the rest to the best of your abilities. But always, always watch the keep.

SMBs take heed as you’ll likely have greater agility in adapting this approach. If you have a server, a point of sale host and one or more daily operations hosts, do they all need to talk? Isolate the server and the point of sale host. Those machines that get used mostly for surfing the web for research, lookups or entertainment? Keep them away from your server and point of sale. And keep casual use away from sensitive systems.

If you don’t try to protect your company’s data, no one will.


I happened to catch a @TheHackerNews tweet that linked to an article at titled “Facebook Now Helping Governments Spy On And Arrest Peaceful Activists.” An interesting read and probably less conspiracy theory than truth. I thought it worthy to share on Facebook.

After pasting the URL ( and typing up a little comment, I was ready to unleash this gem of knowledge to my friends and family.

I hovered over the “Share” button for a moment, then clicked.


Huh? WTF FB?

Zuckerberg, you’re scaring me.

Tough Love, End Users

Next time you get infected, take a few minutes and learn from the experience.

You get infected and luckily your antivirus detects it and tells you as much in a nifty little pop up window. (In a majority of cases, that’s about the only way you’ll know you got infected or came in contact with malware.) What do you do? Do you thank your antivirus software and carry on? Do you wonder whether it caught everything? Or if it will come back? Do you get curious about how or why? Do you care?

I’ll answer the last question. You better. Your computer holds keys to your financial data, whether you’ve ever logged on to an online banking or financial site from it. It contains information about you that can be used fraudulently and to gain more information about you. It can also reveal information about your friends, family and co-workers, thanks to the boom in social networking. Carelessness puts not only you, but everyone you interact with online at risk.

If your computer gets 0wned (fully controlled by an attacker) the attacker has more control over your computer than you do, because they know how to use it in ways you likely haven’t imagined. For example, at work, you might not have access to personally identifiable information (PII), but your actions can lead to a compromised host and an internal launching point for deeper attacks that will. The PII could be ex-filtrated without ever coming in contact with your computer. Scary, eh? Potentially very damaging to all involved too.

What can you do? Endpoint security software (firewalls, antivirus and IPS) can do a moderately effective job of protecting your host. In most cases, the fault of an infection isn’t that the security vendors “missed” it. They catch a lot and work hard at getting better and stopping more. Harder than you do I bet. Eh? Computers have software and hardware that can help detect and prevent malicious attacks. What do you use?

From the keyboard to the chair is your responsibility. Be responsible! Educate yourself. Learn to defend yourself and identify attacks on you. As long as you aren’t willing to put in some effort to learn about how you can be attacked, how you can identify those attacks, and how you can avoid them in the future, you are the biggest unpatchable vulnerability affecting your computer.

If you still don’t care, then thanks for stopping by and may your fortunes be secure. If you do care, then lets talk a little about attacks and defenses.

You’ve likely heard about phishing emails and spam containing malicious attachments or links. Some of these are very sophisticated and seem very trustworthy. Trust nothing when computing. Any email, attachment, or link you encounter via email or social networking should be considered untrustworthy until you’ve ascertained the source is valid and the source intended the information for you. Think about whether the person who posted that link on your Facebook profile is the type who would have validated the information. If there is even the slightest doubt about whether it’s secure, consider it insecure until you have verbally spoken with the sender and taken measures to identify if the link or file is malicious. (Virustotal allows you to submit potentially malicious files for scanning by more than 35 a/v vendors and gives you a good idea if the file is good or bad. They also have a URL scanner if you’re unsure about a link. Neither of these are 100% assurances however, so you start to see how this is about reducing risk, not eliminating it.)

Sometimes even the wisest are fooled if the scam is good enough or they are caught with their guard down. And sometimes the completely innocent are victimized. Drive by downloads take advantage of browsing-related vulnerabilities to exploit a computer without the user doing anything other than browsing to the wrong site at the wrong time. Malvertisements use social engineering to entice users to run a program, such as the Fake A/V attacks. And those of us who like Macs need to get over the false notion that Mac OS X is more secure. It’s binary code written by humans and potentially vulnerable to being exploited by humans. Mac’s are gaining popularity and with that will come attention and attacks.

A familiarity with what your programs are supposed to look like can help you identify anomalous behavior. Know what your antivirus alerts look like so when you see a fake one it’s obvious you’re being attacked. Patching is another solid defense. At the bare minimum always patch operating systems, browsers, and the Adobe products Flash, Shockwave, Reader and Acrobat as soon as patches become available…on all platforms.

I highly recommend Secunia PSI for Windows users. It’s free for home use and will monitor your computer for updates specific to your hardware and the software installed. It provides assistance with remediation as well, providing links to patches or details on how to close the gaps.

I bet you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has used the Internet for more than a year who hasn’t run into something malicious, whether they are aware of it or not. People cling to guns for self-defense from an enemy they’ll likely never encounter. Yet they’ll pay no attention to a virus detection or the fact that their computer “might” be infected. I realize education and awareness aren’t as exciting as guns, but they’ll protect you from a whole lot more than a gun probably ever will.

Educate yourself.

IE Zero Day Coming Your Way

Symantec, and subsequently Microsoft, released information about a new zero day vulnerability in Internet Explorer being exploited in the wild. This first salvo was targeted and appears to have been contained with the malicious payload servers in Poland taken down, but exploit code is available. Which is more than can be said about the patch. Internet Explorer 6 and 7 are currently the most vulnerable.

Welcome to the Bulls-Eye: Fast Net Service and the Power of Bandwidth

Fastest Net Service in U.S. Coming to Chattanooga. The title says it all. I have to give mad props to EPB for finally getting this rolling, despite Comcast’s (may you rest in peace) attempts to derail it at every turn. Competition is a bitch and Comcast just got slapped in our fine city. The result will prove a pleasant example of why this is better for the city and a utility company than a desperate cable company.

The business allure the fastest bandwidth in the U.S. will draw is obvious, but I feel like I need to warn the recipients of such powerful speeds. As far behind as the rest of the nation is in terms of competing with the speeds, you will highly likely become targets of cyber attack.

The power of bandwidth in cyberspace is immeasurable. Denial of service attacks with fractions of the number of participating bots needed today could unleash enormous damage. Spambots will also do well with high capacity. The bot rental business might even give us our own nickname!

I wonder how long it would take for the Chinese to steal 10 terabytes of data from a US gov’t or corporation with gigabit speeds?

So call me the lunatic on the corner wearing the sandwich board spouting nonsense or call me paranoid. Heed the warning and take caution in your Internet activities and care of your computing environment. It won’t hurt you if I’m wrong.

But if I’m right, it could save you the shame and embarrassment of a visit from the FBI.

End User Defense: Literacy is a Linebacker

Today marks the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series of entries focused on End User Defense. The end user is the single point of exploitation that cannot be protected with hardware/software and is vulnerable primarily due to ignorance and a lack of awareness; awareness of both the trends and tactics of attackers and the dangers that result. Let us begin with using what most Americans should already know as a layer of defense: the English language. It will require some mental CPU cycles for sure, but being attentive to detail is a skill everyone should practice.

Fake antivirus attacks have been growing steadily since they first started popping up (literally) in 2006. Due to the success of this style of attack campaign, fake antivirus programs are getting new and improved capabilities. The original campaigns had one focus: defraud users of money with fear and a little social engineering/manipulation. As of late, the original focus is still going strong and quite profitable, but the attacks are also carrying more dangerous payloads beyond the obvious, turning infected machines into bots for additional nefarious purposes.

One of the easiest ways to thwart a fake antivirus attack is to use what we know against them: the English language. It’s no mystery that the majority of these attacks originate in Eastern Europe and Asia. Language barriers often get in the way of these attacks being as refined and accurate as they could be which leaves an opening for us as users to identify and evade an attack. The reality is the most obvious giveaway that something is not right when you’re presented with a trojan is the words used to engineer the user. This holds true in web based attacks as well as spam/phishing e-mail attacks

The gang at F-Secure recently had a great blog post citing some examples. You might have to look a bit for the errors, but most of them are fairly obvious that they shouldn’t have made it through a development and testing cycle from a legitimate corporation.

Our defense is to exploit the attacker’s weakness crossing the language barrier to identify and avert an attack before it’s too late. If you ever get a pop-up or prompt that seems a bit unexpected and attempts to catch you off guard, look at the language being presented. Is it grammatically correct? Are words misspelled or misplaced or just don’t sound right when read aloud? If so, then there’s a good chance it’s malicious.

The best way to avert such an attack of pop-ups or prompts is ALT-F4 (press and hold the ALT key while pressing F4). ALT-F4 is a shortcut key in Window that closes whatever application has focus (meaning the window that is currently selected and staring you down). That key combination will close the window without requiring you to click or otherwise interact with the attack. Clicking the red X at the top of the window is risky as many attacks use graphics that are linked to malware to entice the user to click the evil red X instead of the Windows one (if you’re even presented with a real Windows one).

Not all applications with typos are evil, so be alert. Pay attention to the details. If you’re getting a pop-up for something you think is legit and interests you, take note of the company providing the service/product and Google the company. A little leg work to validate your perception doesn’t take long and sure beats reinstalling Windows and the potential loss of data or worse.

You, Your Company, and Some Asshats in Eastern Europe

We in security see slivers of this just about everyday. The Washington Post has an article titled Eastern European Cyber Criminals Target US Businesses. It’s the same old (spear) phishing scheme…with a little trojan or browser based exploit thrown in. As easy as it was to infect and defraud residential users, it’s apparently just as easy and more profitable if they target the place where you work. It’s really a twofer as the untold story here could lie in the status of the Comptroller or Treasurer’s personal finances when all was said and done.

Fraud via computer technology is a big money game. If you have money and use a computer consider yourself a target. Yes, it is that simple. From online shopping and online banking to social networking, everything you do online sprinkles little pieces of you and your money all over the web. Sure they use trojans/rootkits to gather the intelligence, but they have to get them on the machines in the first place and to do that you need to go phishing.

So please, think before you do anything online. They are after your money as much as your employer’s. Don’t open attachments you aren’t expecting….period. Confirm with the person purportedly sending it by phone or in person before opening it. Likewise, don’t click on links in e-mail. If you don’t know how to tell the real destination of a link in an e-mail, then don’t risk the click. Before logging into to pay bills ask yourself if your computer has had any issues lately? Blue screens? Errors or popups? If you’re not 100% certain your computer is clean, get help. The following won’t stop everything, but they’ll definitely help and they’re free.

AVG Free Edition

Avira Antivir Free

F-Secure Online Scanner

Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner (They rate a lot better than anyone is giving them credit for in detections of current threats.)

TrendMicro HouseCall

Be smart, because I promise you there are people much smarter than you who want your money…and you and your actions are the only thing standing in their way.