STIXv2 Support in SPARK

SPARK Version 1.17.0 adds extensive STIXv2 support.

This allows you to easily extend SPARK’s signature bases with IOCs from any sandbox, analysis or threat intel platforms that support STIXv2 export by placing the exported *.json files in the ./custom-signatures folder.

For now, the supported observable object types are:

  • file:name with = != LIKE and MATCHES
  • file:parent_directory_ref.path with = != LIKE and MATCHES
  • file:hashes.sha-256 / file:hashes.sha256 with = and !=
  • file:hashes.sha-1 / file:hashes.sha1 with = and !=
  • file:hashes.md-5 / file:hashes.md5 with = and !=
  • file:size with < <= > >= = !=
  • file:created with < <= > >= = !=
  • file:modified with < <= > >= = !=
  • file:accessed with < <= > >= = !=
  • win-registry-key:key with = != LIKE and MATCHES
  • win-registry-key:values.name with = != LIKE and MATCHES
  • win-registry-key:values.data with = != LIKE and MATCHES
  • win-registry-key:values.modified_time with < <= > >= = !=

These types are applied in different modules:

  • FileScan: file:*
  • Registry: win-registry-key:* and file:name (applied to data field)

You can find a list of products that support the STIX data exchange format here.

Important Update Process Changes

As we have announced in May, the old “thor-upgrade.exe” is already out-of-support and the old update servers accessed by “thor-upgrade.exe” will be decommissioned at the end of October.

The new all-round utility “thor-util.exe” now supports all of the features provided by the old “thor-upgrade.exe” including NTLM Authentication with corporate proxy servers.

You can use “thor-util.exe upgrade –help” to see all options of the “upgrade” feature.

Also note that “thor-util” has an “encrypt” feature that allows you to encrypt custom signature files and the “report” feature that creates HTML reports from plain text log files. 

The only valid update servers that should be accessible to get updates from November onward are:

  • update1.nextron-systems.com
  • update2.nextron-systems.com

The “thor-util” utility is part of the THOR and SPARK packages and can also be downloaded from the Customer Portal in the “Downloads” section.

If you are a customer and don’t have access to the Customer Portal yet, please contact us or the respective partner.

New Feature: THOR-util and SPARK-Core-util Signature Encryption

The new THOR-util version 1.2.4 supports the encryption of your custom signatures so that you can deploy your own IOC files and YARA rules in an encrypted form.

We use a public key in the utilities to encrypt the files for our scanners so that admins, Antivirus engines and attackers won’t be able to read the contents of the files.

 

The feature is also available in SPARK Core, our free scanner.

After encryption, place the encrypted IOC files in the “./custom-signatures” directory and the encrypted YARA rules in the “./custom-signatures/yara” directory.

The use of the function is simple. Just point it to a file, a list of files or use wildcards to select a set of files for encryption. The extension of the output file depends on the extension of the input file.

  • IOC Files: .txt > .dat
  • YARA Rules: .yar > .yas
  • Sigma Rules: .yml > .yms

Examples:

thor-util.exe encrypt case44.yar
thor-util.exe encrypt case44-hashes.txt
thor-util.exe encrypt case44-hashes.txt case44.yar
thor-util.exe encrypt case44.*

You can use the “upgrade” feature in both tools to get the newest version of the utility.

thor-util upgrade

ASGARD IOC Management

The upcoming ASGARD version 1.5 comes with a IOC management section in which you can manage your own set of IOCs in text files, YARA and Sigma rules.

You can then select each of the folders when creating a new scan run with THOR or SPARK. Selecting one of these folders will not include the sub folders.

You can schedule and run scans with different IOC, Sigma and YARA rule sets. You can review the included custom signatures in the scan details. 

The following features are not yet implemented in v1.5 but on the roadmap for ASGARD v1.6:

  • Signature verification
  • Exclude the standard rule set (shipped with THOR and SPARK)

THOR Version 8.49.0 Changes

There are a few relevant changes in the upcoming THOR version 8.49.0 that we would like to announce.

Interpreter and Module Upgrades

The integrated Python interpreter will be upgraded to Version 2.7.15. We have also upgraded several modules. All our tests showed no signs of problems even with the oldest Windows version like Windows 2003 Server. (officially unsupported)

If you encounter any issues, please let us know.

4th Generation License Format Support

THOR 8.49.0 supports the newest license format which allows us to:

  • set a start date for the period of validity
  • enable or disable certain modules and features in THOR and SPARK
    (e.g. we could license a SPARK version that only scans endpoint logs with Sigma rules)

THOR-util Report Generation

The new included THOR-util version 1.2 allows to generate HTML reports from scan log files. It can also generate reports for a directory that contains THOR or SPARK scan logs (up to 50 per HTML report). We’ve discussed this feature in detail in a previous blog post.

Noresume Becomes the New Default

The Scan Resume feature has caused many problems during incident response engagements in the past. The feature activates a journal in THOR DB that tracks the state of the scan and resumes the scan automatically if it was interrupted by a user or terminated due to a system shutdown. This feature seemed to be helpful but actually caused some problems.

THOR logs are created in “write” (w) mode, not in “append” (a) mode. When an administrator started THOR on a system, terminated the scan and then restarted it shortly after, the first part of the local log file was overwritten by the second scan. Sometimes a scan was interrupted on a system due to different reasons. When an administrator received the order to start a new scan on that system, the scan resumed the last scan and the log file and report contained only info of the resumed part of the scan.

We therefore decided to not resume scans by default. If you still want to maintain the old behaviour, please use the new “–resume” parameter. The old “–noresume” parameter is still valid but has no effect and is marked “obsolete” in the help.

Analysis Cockpit Web Session

We’ve just recently published a web session that gives an overview on our whole product portfolio and describes the features of our Analysis Cockpit in detail. (18 minutes, English language)

The main features of the Analysis Cockpit are:

  • THOR / SPARK Log Baselining
  • Automatic case creation based on similarities of the events
  • Filtered Forwarding of Logs to a SIEM system

SPARK uses Sigma Rules in Eventlog Scan

Sigma is a rule format for threat detection in log files. It is for log data what “Snort rules” are for network traffic or “YARA signatures” are for file data. It is easy to write and read. Writing a Sigma rule is a matter of minutes.

On the right you can see a simple Sigma rule that checks the “System” eventlog for traces of password dumper activity. The detection section contains 1+ identifiers (selection, keywords, quarkspwdump) that can be defined freely by the rule author. These selectors are used in the condition to build the rule.

It also contains a description, references, possible false positives and a level.

Analysts use Sigma to generate search queries for their SIEM or log management solution. The Sigma repo contains a converter that allows to convert the generic rules to ElasticSearch, Splunk, QRadar, Logpoint, Windows Defender ATP (WDATP) and ArcSight.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could apply Sigma rules on the endpoint?

Well, the upcoming version 1.14 of SPARK, which will be released at the end of July,  does that. It applies Sigma rules to the local Eventlog. This way you’re able to apply searches that you have once defined for your SIEM to the local Eventlogs.

This way you are able “query” the standalone systems that are not connected to your SIEM and uncover otherwise common blind spots in your environment.

 

We ship the current rule set, which is part of the public Sigma repository and contains more than 200 rules with our SPARK program package in an encrypted form. (*.yms)

You can add your own Sigma rules to the “./custom-signatures/sigma/” folder in the SPARK program directory.

To activate Sigma scanning, use the new “–sigma” parameter.

Currently only SPARK supports this feature and there are no plans to implement this in THOR as well.

The feature is currently free for all customers but may become a premium feature that has to be licensed separately by the end of the year depending on the customer’s plan. 

See the comparison table for a complete overview on all features.

THOR-Util with HTML Report Generation

The new version of “thor-util” (used with THOR/SPARK) / “spark-core-util” (used with SPARK Core) support a feature that allows a user to convert any scanner log file into a convenient report. 

  • Convert THOR / SPARK / SPARK Core scan logs into HTML reports
  • Convert a single text log file into an HTML report
  • Convert multiple log files (50 max.) in a directory into a single HTML report 
  • Provide a file with filters to suppress false positives in the reports
  • Even LOKI logs can be converted (no support)
  • Hash values linked to Virustotal searches
  • IP values linked to VirusTotal searches
  • Header sections linked to elements via ankers

You can access this feature in the upcoming enterprise products (THOR 8.47.2 and SPARK 1.13) and the free product SPARK Core (SPARK Core 1.13). 

The following screenshot shows a typical text log file. It can be processed in log analysis solutions but it is difficult to read for an analyst. Most analysts search these log files for “(Alert|Warning):” or use grep to get the most relevant messages.

Our tools “thor-util” and “spark-core-util” will help you with this task. 

Generate an HTML report for a single log file

thor-util report --logfile PROMETHEUS_thor.log

Generate an HTML report for multiple log files

thor-util report --logdir ./logs

You can also provide a file with regular expressions that are applied during log parsing as filters to suppress false positives in the reports. 

The new tools will be in all productive packages at the end of this week. 

THOR Util Replaces THOR-Upgrade

We are currently upgrading our update infrastructure in many different ways.

We have added 2 new dedicated update servers – update1 (Karlsruhe, Germany) and update2 (Lenexa, USA). The old update locations will still be supported for a few months but have to be regarded as obsolete.

As a customer, please make sure to allow the following update servers in your proxy / firewall:

  • update1.nextron-systems.com (443/tcp)
  • update2.nextron-systems.com (443/tcp)

In this regard, our old utility called “thor-upgrade.exe” will be out-of-support by the end of July 2018.Please make sure to use the “THOR util” for all update tasks.

Major changes:

  • Supports all download types (THOR, SPARK for Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Verifies Download via RSA signature
  • Runs on all platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Allows updates and the download of a full program packages with config files
  • No support for proxy NTLM authentication

It is already part of all download packs.

Since THOR v8.46.9 and SPARK v1.11 all binaries are signed with a 2048 bit RSA key. The signatures are integrated in the download packs as separate “*.sig” files.

The new version 1.1.6 of THOR util checks the signatures during the upgrade / download and interrupts the process if an invalid signature is found.

You can verify the signatures yourself, by using the the new “verify” function.
These changes make our updates more reliable and secure.

If you have any question, don’t hesitate to contact us via support@nextron-systems.com

ASGARD Management Center version 1.4

Release notification of the ASGARD Management Center version 1.4

We have release version 1.4 for ASGARD.

This version has major improvements in usability, flexibility, stability and performance.

  • Plan and run THOR and SPARK scans on up to 10.000 endpoints – with a single 1RU appliance
  • Plan and run THOR and SPARK scans on up to 5.000 endpoints – with a virtual appliance
  • Improved the user interface with more information from a single pane
  • Schedule start date/time for single and group scans
  • Define frequency rhythm of scheduled scans (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.)
  • We added our own MySQL database to better track asset data
  • Improved ASGARD logging
  • Improved the ASGARD extension for GRR (added log status and scan duration to ASGARD)
  • You can now download the Scan Log from Scan Control
  • Import / export function to and from your CMDB system
  • Added full macOS support (Darwin) for SPARK scans
If you would like to see the core functions in action, check out our demo video:

https://youtu.be/G1VX9AloJNA

Plan and run THOR and SPARK scans
Set the frequency of your planned scans
Monitor your progress

Scan information

THOR 8.44 features TLS Syslog Transmission & ZIP YARA Scanning

The new THOR version 8.44 comes with some interesting new features.

TLS/SSL Syslog Transmission

THOR version 8.44.0 supports the Syslog log transmission in an SSL/TLS encrypted form. Just set the value “TCPTLS” as protocol in the 4th position of the target definition.

thor.exe -s mysyslogserver:6514:SYSLOG:TCPTLS

The documentation has been updated accordingly.

TLS Syslog Log Transmission

ZIP YARA Scanning

Until today the ZIP file checks were limited to file name IOC or anomaly checks. The new version 8.44.2 supports the scanning of ZIP file contents with the YARA rule base. However, for the time being the ZIP YARA scanning has some limitations:

  1. The feature is limited to files which decompressed size does not exceed the defined maximum file size (default 4.5 Megabytes)
  2. The feature is limited to certain scan modes: –intense, –fsonly, –dropzone

If the feature proves to be stable, we will activate it in the default scan mode in a future minor release.

ZIP YARA Scanning