BSidesDFW_2011 - My Thoughts
Saturday, November 5th.
Check out the website - speakers, planners, sponsoring vendors, etc.
I arrived late to the fun as my daughter had a soccer game early in the morning; I deemed it a good idea to go to that first, so that delayed my start. Then poor choice of routes, road construction (thus the reference to route choice) and heavy traffic on side roads (see road construction), further delayed me, and I pulled up to the Microsoft Technology Center in the wonderful mood that traffic/road issues helps me to find when I'm trying to get somewhere. Yes, folks, that's sarcasm. Drives me nuts, truth be told.
Anyway, I'm an adult, and it's not anyone's fault, so I pulled myself together and went in. I was greeted warmly at the front desk, and situated with my raffle ticket, drink tickets for the after party, and given my APT (Advanced Persistent Texans) t-shirt. Shortly thereafter I had the opportunity to meet Michelle Klinger, the main organizer, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. Great bunch of folks.
Since I was running late, I missed Lodovico Marziale's talk on Registry Decoder. That was a major bummer. I really wanted to learn more about it, and ways to use it, straight from the folks that made it. But I wiped away my tears, and headed upstairs to Michael Gough's talk on "The BIG ONE!!!"
This was an interesting talk, to put it simply. Michael made some very salient points about needing a PLAN, needing to educate top-level management on their role, and train them on what happens in a breach (both good and bad). A big emphasis should be placed on not pointing the finger or - even worse - getting rid of InfoSec personnel when a breach occurs. It's typically seen that InfoSec is to blame for the breach, where in reality it truly is a shared responsibility by different parts of the business. It's important - for a number of reasons - to give the InfoSec team the time and resources to address and remediate the issue. Far too often, we're blamed, and key personnel are removed (aka, fired/terminated/expunged/beheaded - ok, maybe not that last one); this really doesn't help and in fact causes more problems (such as voluntary departures by additional people, public sabotage, and other ongoing problems not directly related).
Another key takeaway was the need for a PLAN (I'm thinking flow charts and everything, maybe even swimlanes! ;)) As Michael described it, if X happens, we will do Y; he related this to plans at a former employer, back when Slammer hit. They actually shut down their internet connection on a Thursday, and didn't enable it again until Monday. That was the plan, and they did it. It cost them a ton of money, but saved the company 3 tons of money (interpretive paraphrase, but you get the point); some people didn't believe they would do it, and gave flack when they did, but in the long run it was worth it.
That was right before lunch, so once I made it through the food line (mmm, BBQ OR mmm, pizza) - hey, as a side note, the fine folks running the event had gotten hooked up with some local beer from McKinney, so anyone interested was able to have a tasty brew as well - I went looking for faces I might know. Sure enough, I saw Kyle Maxwell. He introduced me to a friend of his, Chris Gathright. After a good lunch, there was a raffle drawing, and prizes were given (just not to me).
Kyle and I hung out and talked until Andrew Case's talk on Data Exfiltration. I had to decide between Andrew's talk and Branden Williams' talk on the Anatomy of an Advanced Attack; Andrew's won out. Kyle and I were the only DFIR types in there, and Kyle had been the only one in Lodovico's presentation, but we expected that. For me, most of what Andrew brought up was just a review of information, as it was on host-based forensics (I was hoping for some network exfiltration after a breach, but it wasn't based on that).
However, he did some very cool stuff that I've not done before. He used scalpel to index the image looking for a "header" of a website URL and identify disk offsets. He then used Sleuthkit tools to map between the disk offset and file system, to find what files those existed in; turns out, pagefile had numerous hits on gmail indices. So, he DD'd out sections of the pagefile, and ran scalpel against those with a custom file fignature; this allowed him to successfully carve out multiple emails that were of interest and relevance. He also used Restore Points to help map out USB history; since he had RPs containing setupapi.log and registry files, he was able to pull usage history on almost a per-use basis, to show how many times several devices were used, and when. Now that's cool! Plus he mentioned a "setupapi extractor tool" that I need to find; I've always gone through setupapi.log with Notepad++ which worked quite well, but I'm always up for some new tool to make my job easier.
I wasn't sure which talk to attend next, but I was in the Track 1 room, and Michael Gough had another talk scheduled there, about Hacking a CardKey system; Ian Robertson was part of this as well. Sounded interesting, so I stuck around (Kyle went to sit in on the lightning talks); I'm glad I did, as it was interesting, scary, and informative. So as the story goes, "Peggy" (you know, from the commercials) was poking around on the internet and found some open ports (that didn't seem like they should be open), and was able to connect to them using some protocols that should didn't seem like should be allowed. Hmmm. "Peggy" was interested, and so set about finding out what was going on. Turns out, these were on cardkey systems, and they were infinitely pwnable. In the course of the research, "Peggy" and friends were able to build a mobile app that would unlock these systems (or the doors/gates they secured) at will. Ouch. "Peggy" reported the findings to the appropriate parties, and fortunately did not end up in jail. Whew!
By working with vendors, "Peggy" and friends have been able to help get some changes made that will at least provide the option of AES encryption. Just a side note, never assume you know who's at these things, or that they're one type of people/experience - I was surprised when someone asked what AES was, and why they didn't just use an encrypted password that couldn't be broken; the questioner seemed to have some other very technical knowledge, but it was apparently in a different area that I expected. Anyway, the crux of the biscuit is that these systems are STILL very vulnerable, and if you have any, make darn sure they're not on the internet, or upgrade the ethernet module so that AES is an option (then make sure to enable and configure it). There are still concerns, but at least that's a big help. By the way, I wasn't in on it, but Michael gave a lightning talk about Yubikey usage, and was giving away some free upgrades to LastPass Premium in the cardkey talk. A lot of folks also received Yubikeys, as Yubico was a sponsor. LastPass and Yubikey is a good combo.
The keynote was by Martin McKeay, giving a thought-provoking talk on fundamental flaws in Information Security. This wasn't a technical talk, which he stated up front. It was still very good, though. Don't want that to sound wrong, with the "though" in there. I think folks kind of expect to get down into the nitty gritty at these conferences, and Martin acknowledged that. So I'll put it this way - technical or not, it was a good talk.
My key takeaway was that, as an industry (with a career path) we're very young; only 23 years old. Firefighters, which we're often compared to (and Martin did as well), have centuries of experience, science, and testing behind them. Granted, their knowledge is changing, but they have a strong foundation and a long history. By and large, they KNOW what a fire will do. However, our landscape is changing on an almost-daily basis, our forefathers/frontrunners discovered and made stuff up on the fly, and we're largely continuing in that vein. We need to KNOW infosec, and if what we're doing works. We lack solid metrics, statistics, and facts. Martin pointed to the Verizon Data Breach reports as the best we, as an industry, have, but they really present a small cross-section of what's happened. Same for the Verizon PCI report. I feel kind of like Number 5, saying, "Need more input."
There was an after-party, but I did not stay for that. For whatever reason, I was really feeling tired (maybe being in a Microsoft building all day...), and it being a weekend, spending time with my family is important to me, so I headed on the house. I enjoyed the event, I think it was well-done, fun, great speakers, good swag, and best of all - free. I'm definitely looking forward to next year's.