Long Overdue 2015 Update

cc15badgeIt’s been an extremely busy start to the year but I wanted to make a quick post to talk about what I’ve been up to so far.

Last month I got to attend my first SANS DFIR specific event when I took the FOR508 with Rob Lee in Monterey. I’ve taken the 508 previously but this was a much needed refresher. As I’ve discussed in a few different articles the FOR408 focuses on analyzing activity on a Windows computer and the 508 builds upon that base to cover quickly triaging large numbers of systems remotely, a “greatest hits” of memory analysis, timeline automation and analysis, volume shadow copy analysis and covers deep dive artifact analysis on Windows systems like I’ve never seen covered anywhere else. The deep dive section may be things you don’t remember verbatim but the combination of being exposed to them and having the course books as a reference means you’ll quickly be able to analyze those artifacts when the time comes.

In addition to being my first DFIR specific conference, this was my first class with Rob Lee. He was funny, friendly and took the time to chat with students in class and online. Throughout the entire class Rob shared real world stories of exactly how what he was teaching us has been used out in the real world.

For the day 6 challenge Rob and the 572 instructor Phil Hagen tried something they had never tried before, they combined the classes! The data for the day six challenge for both classes is from the same event (508 students have the disk and memory artifacts and 572 students have the network artifacts) so their idea was that teams could work together with 508 students giving 572 students indicators to look for and 572 students helping answer what activity was going on. The plan worked flawlessly and everyone involved seemed to have a really good time. I was fortunate to have some brilliant individuals on my team and we won the challenge and the Lethal Forensicator coins 🙂

Monterey was a great time but as soon as I got back home it was back to the books. Back in December I answered the CactusCon call for papers with a proposal for my first ever public con talk. CactusCon called my bluff so this past Friday I gave a talk on “Getting Started with Memory Forensics”. There were approximately 40 people in the room for my talk and I received some great feedback afterwards. This was my first CactusCon and they did a fantastic job from start to finish. They had multiple tracks of talks, a Dave Kennedy keynote speech, a lockpick village and an area outside for attendees to solder the parts kits onto their badges. I had a great time and I’ve got nine months to come up with a good idea for a talk for the 2016 version.

That’s what’s been keeping me occupied so far this year. I’d say that now I can breathe a little but I doubt very seriously that it’s going to slow down.

2015 is Upon Us

I planned on doing a few blog posts in December but due to a few great December surprises I wasn’t online much. My month started off by taking a much needed relaxing week of vacation in San Diego with my wife. On the last day of our trip I got the type of email everyone hopes for: “I know this is last minute, but would you like to go to the SANS CDI conference in DC next week?”.

CDI was my first east coast SANS conference and it was well worth the trip. I got to spend a lot of time with some absolutely amazing people and it was truly one of the best weeks of my life. I’m not sure yet what conferences I’ll be going to in 2015 but I can’t wait to find out.

It was a great end to a fantastic year. I got the opportunity to attend several SANS trainings in person as well as online. Got a chance to attend some other penetration testing training. Got to attend my first Blackhat and Defcon thanks to the generosity of Don over at ethicalhacker.net and made some great friends with similar interests to mine.

I improved my knowledge and skills dramatically in 2014 but still have a lot of work to do in some areas including exploit development and reverse engineering. I’m also starting to play with things like using binwalk to analyze firmware and I just got a Riff Box to try to learn to JTAG mobile devices.

Thank you so much to everyone I’ve interacted with this year and hopefully 2015 will be even better.

New Network Forensics Challenge

Recently on the SANS DFIR mailing list one of the members announced he had put together a Network Forensics challenge for anyone who wanted to participate. The challenge is at http://blog.mywarwithentropy.com/2014/11/spy-hunter-holiday-challenge-2014.html where you can download a large pcap and a PDF with instructions.

I’ve only had a small amount of time to play with the pcap but it’s very well done and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into it.

SANS SEC575 Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking Review

IMG_1654I recently attended the SANS SEC575 Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking class in Las Vegas and I wanted to post some of my thoughts on the course.

Day One: Architecture and Management

Day one started off with a quick overview of mobile device issues that would be addressed in the course and a lab which has the students extract sensitive data from a network capture file with mobile device traffic. After that there are four “what you need to know” sections about iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices. The sections cover technical specifications, key points, protection mechanisms etc. These sections are well done and provide a solid foundation for the rest of the class.

The next section in the book covers building your own lab using devices, emulators and simulators. There are two exercises where you configure an Android emulator and interact with it using ADB commands. The labs throughout the entire course were very well done and helped reinforce the topics being taught.

The next portion of the book discussed Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems used for enforcing device policy settings. This section included an exercise that had you take a policy for a company and create a profile enforcing the rules of that policy using the iPhone Configuration Utility.

Mobile Malware was next up and we started off covering some basics, progressed to examining specific historical malware attacks and finished by discussing preventative measures to protect your devices. That concluded the class portion of day one but the day one book also has an Appendix on policies and practices as well as a section on miscellaneous topics.

Day Two: Security Controls and Platform Access

Day two begins with a lengthy section on mitigating the threat from stolen devices and includes an exercise where the students recover the swipe pattern from a locked Android. Backups, fingerprints and passcodes were all discussed as well.

Next up was a section on unlocking, rooting and jailbreaking iOS and Android devices. The section started off with general topics and then covered a specific iOS jailbreak and a root for an Android Nexus 7.

The next section was small but packed with great information on data storage and filesystems. Plist, SQLite and XML were all covered as were locations within the filesystem which could contain sensitive data. This section concluded with a lab where the students searched an iPhone backup to look for key pieces of information.

Most of the remainder of day two was spent covering capturing and analyzing mobile application network activity using tools such as Burp Suite, NetworkMiner and Wireshark. There were two well-done exercises in the afternoon which gave the students a chance to utilize these tools.

Tacked on to the end of the day two book was a section on Blackberry classic PIN cracking and backup access as well as a few other miscellaneous topics.

Day Three: Application Analysis

Day three brought 280 pages of hardcore application analysis and I loved every minute of it. Before I give an overview of the day’s content I would like to state that a majority of the class had little to no programming experience and still got a lot out of this section. You don’t need to be a programmer to go through the exercises you just need to understand the concepts taught and use analytical thinking.

The first section is on static application analysis (Android and iOS) and ends with an exercise analyzing an Android application.

The next section is on automating app analysis and has a lab where the student analyzes a piece of Android malware and then another where the student finds a vulnerability in an Android application that can be exploited.

Next up was a lengthy section on manipulating an application’s behavior which includes a lab on modifying Android applications.

The day ends with a short but awesome “App Analysis Walkthrough” where the author goes through the steps he took each day on a near real world analysis of an iOS application and a small section on filesystem monitoring.

By the end of the day your brain is cooked but you’ve learned quite a bit about analyzing mobile device applications in different ways.

Day Four: Penetration Testing Mobile – Part 1

Day’s four and five of this course are really interesting. Day’s one through three covered topics that were largely mobile device related but there is obviously a lot of crossover between mobile device hacking and traditional hacking and that is where day’s 4 and 5 come in.

Day four is a one day mini primer on Wireless hacking and it is FANTASTIC. It starts off with a section on wireless network scanning where it discusses topics like using monitor mode on Linux, Windows and OS X and intros a few basic tools. The first section ends with a lab where students use Kismet to figure out the SSID of a network which is hiding it.

Next up is a short but sweet section on mapping probe requests which includes a lab where the students generate a visual graph of client probe requests.

The next few sections progress through the different levels of encryption.

• On an open network with a captive portal? You’ll cover ways around it.
• On a WEP encrypted network? You’ll crack it in a lab.
• On a WPA-PSK encrypted network? You’ll discusses your options and you’ll crack one in a lab.
• Facing a WPA Enterprise network? You’ll discuss setting up your own modified RADIUS server to grab login credentials.

The day ends with a section and lab on mobile device fingerprinting.

I seriously couldn’t imagine a better one day walkthrough of wireless topics. For the small number of students who had attended the SANS SEC617 wireless or other in depth wireless courses it was a nice refresher but for everyone else it was a fantastic mini wireless course hidden within a course on Mobile Device Security.

Day Five: Penetration Testing Mobile – Part 2

What day four was to wireless day five was to web application type attacks. Day five covers network manipulation attacks like ARP spoofing, sidejacking attacks, SSL/TLS attacks, client side injection attacks, HTTP parameter tampering, XSS attacks and SQL injection.

While the tools the students use are web application testing standards like Burp Suite and SQLmap the labs have you attacking the transactions and infrastructure for mobile device applications you’re running in emulators.

Just like day four they did a fantastic job of boiling down what would have been a week’s worth of content into a day worth great overviews and hands on experience.

Day Six: Hand-on Mobile Security Event (Capture The Flag)

The CTF for day 6 of the 575 course uses the Netwars scoring engine and is very well done. Every student in class got a chance to practice the skills they had been exposed to over the past five days and it really seemed to help add to the learning process. There were the moments of frustration found in any CTF but everyone seemed to really enjoy the day.

Summary

The 575 was a very enjoyable class. There were some topics which I was already a little bit familiar with but now have a much better understanding of after a week of hands on learning and instruction from a world class expert.

The class was taught by Chris Crowley who did a great job teaching and entertaining. He seemed sincerely interested in helping students get what they wanted out of the class, had many sidebar conversations with students at break and after hours and spent the better part of one lunch period going over the previous day’s labs for a few students who wanted to see a walk through. I would take a class from Chris again in a heartbeat.

Giveway #2 Winner and Upcoming SANS course review

netwars-logoCongratulations to James Lieu for winning the paperback copy of “Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets & Solutions“.

Last week I attended the SANS SEC575 Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking course at Network Security 2014 in Las Vegas. It was an enjoyable class and I just finished the first draft of my index (the book for day #3 is close to 300 pages!). I plan on writing up a review of the course in the next few days.

In addition to the class I was able to spend time with some great people and participate in both nights of Core Netwars. Netwars would be fun no matter what but it was made even better by sitting with friendly and knowledgeable people. I ended up getting about half a dozen questions into level 3 and finished 14th on the alumni scoreboard. While I always feel like I could have done better Netwars is a great way to see the progress that I’ve made from year to year and I felt a lot more comfortable than I have in previous years.

Book Giveaway #2

hackingExposed7Congratulations to book giveaway #1 winner Matt Williams (@mattwilliams31) who won a paperback copy of Richard Bejtlich’s “The Practice of Network Security Monitoring: Understanding Incident Detection and Response“.

Book Giveaway #2 is for a paperback copy of “Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets & Solutions“.

Once again I’m limiting the book giveaways to U.S. residents only to keep the shipping costs down but I will do a giveaway later this year that will be open to everyone.

The drawing is open until 10/26/2014 so good luck!

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Book Review: Blue Team Handbook: Incident Response Edition

blueTeamHandbookEarlier this year I wrote an extremely short post discussing the Red Team Field Manual (RTFM) book. I’m currently on my third copy of the book (I’ve given the first two away) and I have a copy in my backpack at all times. I recently saw some traffic on a SANS mailing list about similar book geared towards blue teamers and had to check it out.

Like the RTFM, “Blue Team Handbook: Incident Response Edition” is small, affordable and is more of a collection of steps and command examples than a traditional book meant to be read from start to finish. The Blue Team Handbook covers topics such as Windows and Linux volatile data system investigation, network traffic analysis techniques, suspicious network traffic patterns and Snort configuration and usage. Amazon now lists an updated version 2.0 of the book with 20 new pages including information on database incident response.

The book is currently listed for under $14 on amazon and is perfect to keep with the RTFM in my backpack. If having a printed collection of incident response methodology and commands is something you’d like to have the Blue Team Handbook is worth checking out. When I inevitably give my current copy away I’ll have an excuse to get the new version with the database coverage 🙂

Blackhat and Defcon Article Posted on EthicalHacker.net and Book Giveaway #1

pnsm_cover_WEBMy “A First-Timer’s Experience at Black Hat and DEFCON” article I talked about in my last post is now live on the front page of ethicalhacker.net along with a picture of Kevin Mitnick and I. When the article went live earlier this week I couldn’t help inserting a mental caption of “A hacker & a hack” when I saw the picture 🙂

Even though it wasn’t a technical article I’m still quite honored to have an article on the front page of ethicalhacker.net and it’s a nice reminder of the progress I’ve made over the past two and a half years. To spread around a little of the good fortune I’m going to give away some books that I already had copies of but got additional copies of at Blackhat.

I’m limiting the book giveaways to U.S. residents only to keep the shipping costs down but after all the book’s are given away I’ll think of a small giveaway that I’ll open up for everyone.

Giveaway #1 is for one paperback copy of “The Practice of Network Security Monitoring” by Richard Bejtlich. It’s a phenomenal book that I’m sure the winner will enjoy. I’ve set this giveaway up to run between 9/21 and 10/11 so good luck to all.

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Pentesteracademy.com x86 Assembly Language and Shellcoding on Linux Course Review

Most people interested in information security have likely visited SecurityTube.net before but for those who haven’t it’s a great aggregator for videos of tutorials, demonstrations and conferences. The site’s owner Vivek Ramachandran has produced a ton of free content and a few paid courses. Late last year he transitioned all of his premium courses to a new site at pentesteracademy.com where you can access all of his courses for a monthly $39 fee.

I recently finished going through his “x86 Assembly Language and Shellcoding on Linux” course and wanted to share my thoughts on it. Before watching his videos I knew almost nothing about Assembly language or shellcode but I did know that I needed to have a good understanding of both in order to be any good at reverse engineering and exploit development.

The first seven or so videos cover a lot of system architecture and explain what the different registers are and how they’re used. This is a very tricky section because he’s explaining things that you’ll need to know for the rest of the course but they’re hard to visualize since he hasn’t started the demonstrations yet. I never felt lost during his explanations but once the demonstrations started in videos eight and nine you start applying the information from the first section of slides and it all falls into place.

Videos 8 through 21 walk the student through assembly language concepts like understanding and using the stack, loops, math, strings etc. At the end of those videos I wouldn’t say I was “good” at assembly language but I was at least getting comfortable with it. Before I started I would have looked at assembly language and had no clue what I was looking at. Now I can look at it and while I may not understand what the code is accomplishing I understand each of the little pieces and what they’re doing. Now when I look at the reverse engineering book I’m getting ready to read I don’t feel like I’m reading Klingon.

There is plenty of assembly in videos 22 through 37 but the main focus is on shellcode. Vivek explains what shellcode is, what changes you need to make in your assembly in order for your shellcode to work and writes some hello world shellcode using different techniques like JMP-CALL-POP. Once again I didn’t feel like an expert but I sure understand a lot more. Vivek then covers InfoSec specific content like encoders (both using others and making your own) and polymorphism. The series ends with a look at analyzing other’s shellcode and writing custom crypters.

I’ve gone through several of Vivek’s other videos but this is the first time I’ve gone through one of his courses start to finish. The course is exactly what I needed and I’ve already recommended to a friend who is working on learning reverse engineering but would like a better understanding of assembly. If you’re like me and hitting a point in your InfoSec studies where you realize that you need to understand some of the low level material in order to learn advanced topics this is a great resource. He really does start from square one so no prior knowledge is expected.

One of the reasons I initially signed up for pentesteracademy.com was that I was a big fan of Vivek’s word on securitytube and wanted to support his efforts. I also seem to learn a lot better from video explanations and demonstrations that I do from books. I paid $99 for the first month and $39 a month after that but he occasionally runs specials where the first month is $39. He’s been adding a lot of new content to ongoing courses and coming up with new courses so I don’t think it’s possible to go through everything unless watching videos is your full time job. I think his web app hacking course alone is up to almost 70 videos and still going.

While I was in the arsenal room at Blackhat last month I looked over and saw Vivek checking things out. I went over to him and introduced myself, thanked him for everything he taught me and had a nice conversation with him. He was incredibly friendly, gracious and humble and thanked me for my support. I saw him again at Defcon and he approached me, said “Hi Matt” and asked how I was enjoying the conference. He is a genuinely nice guy.

Even with no bonus points for being a nice guy his site is an amazing training value. He has several free videos in each series so you can get a feel for his teaching style. He just started a free “Make Your Own Hacker Gadget” series that I’m going to follow along with.

If you like video instructionals and have things like “Learn assembly”, “Learn to write exploits” and “Improve my Python” on your to-do list then pentesteracademy.com is well worth your time to check out.

On a completely unrelated topic, I had an absolute blast at Blackhat and Defcon and have already reserved a room at the Defcon site for next year. I did a write up on my experiences as a first timer which should appear on ethicalhacker.net soon. I also grabbed several signed books there which I had already purchased copies of so I’ll probably do a giveaway here for my unsigned copies of those once the article hits.

Vegas Here I Come!

In a serious contender for the  “my favorite email of the year” award I was recently contacted by Don from ethicalhacker.net and asked if I was interested in a free briefings pass for Black Hat this year. I’ve never been to Black Hat or Defcon so I jumped at the chance.

I’ll be attending Black Hat and Defcon so if anyone has any tips for a first-timer please let me know. The only thing I’m sure of so far is that I’ll keep my Wi-Fi off the entire time 🙂

I haven’t had a ton of time to study recently but what time I have had I’ve used on C and assembly language. I went through a small book on C programming to get more familiar with the language and am currently watching SecurityTube’s “x86 Assembly Language and Shellcoding on Linux” course.

I’m halfway through the course and Vivek has done an outstanding job of explaining and demonstrating the concepts of assembly language in a way that has made it easy for me to learn. I’ll probably do a more in depth review after I’ve watched more videos but I can say that at $39 a month pentesteracademy.com is a great value for learning resources.