Information Systems

Cyber At tacks

“Dr. Amoroso’s fi fth book Cyber Attacks: Protecting National Infrastructure outlines the chal- lenges of protecting our nation’s infrastructure from cyber attack using security techniques established to protect much smaller and less complex environments. He proposes a brand new type of national infrastructure protection methodology and outlines a strategy presented as a series of ten basic design and operations principles ranging from deception to response. The bulk of the text covers each of these principles in technical detail. While several of these principles would be daunting to implement and practice they provide the fi rst clear and con- cise framework for discussion of this critical challenge. This text is thought-provoking and should be a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned with cybersecurity in the private or government sector.”

— Clayton W. Naeve, Ph.D. , Senior Vice President and Chief Information Offi cer,

Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,

Memphis, TN

“Dr. Ed Amoroso reveals in plain English the threats and weaknesses of our critical infra- structure balanced against practices that reduce the exposures. This is an excellent guide to the understanding of the cyber-scape that the security professional navigates. The book takes complex concepts of security and simplifi es it into coherent and simple to understand concepts.”

— Arnold Felberbaum , Chief IT Security & Compliance Offi cer,

Reed Elsevier

“The national infrastructure, which is now vital to communication, commerce and entertain- ment in everyday life, is highly vulnerable to malicious attacks and terrorist threats. Today, it is possible for botnets to penetrate millions of computers around the world in few minutes, and to attack the valuable national infrastructure.

“As the New York Times reported, the growing number of threats by botnets suggests that this cyber security issue has become a serious problem, and we are losing the war against these attacks.

“While computer security technologies will be useful for network systems, the reality tells us that this conventional approach is not effective enough for the complex, large-scale national infrastructure. “Not only does the author provide comprehensive methodologies based on 25 years of expe- rience in cyber security at AT&T, but he also suggests ‘security through obscurity,’ which attempts to use secrecy to provide security.”

— Byeong Gi Lee , President, IEEE Communications Society, and

Commissioner of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC)

Cyber At tacks Protecting National Infrastructure

Edward G. Amoroso

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Amoroso, Edward G. Cyber attacks : protecting national infrastructure / Edward Amoroso. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 978-0-12-384917-5 1. Cyberterrorism—United States—Prevention. 2. Computer security—United States. 3. National security—United States. I. Title. HV6773.2.A47 2011 363.325�90046780973—dc22 2010040626

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CONTENTS v

CONTENTS Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Acknowledgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

Chapter 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 National Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Botnet Threat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 National Cyber Security Methodology Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Deception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Consistency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Depth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Discretion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Implementing the Principles Nationally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Chapter 2 Deception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Scanning Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Deliberately Open Ports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Discovery Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Deceptive Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Exploitation Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Procurement Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Exposing Stage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Interfaces Between Humans and Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 National Deception Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

vi CONTENTS

Chapter 3 Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 What Is Separation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Functional Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 National Infrastructure Firewalls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 DDOS Filtering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 SCADA Separation Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Physical Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Insider Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Asset Separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Multilevel Security (MLS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Chapter 4 Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Diversity and Worm Propagation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Desktop Computer System Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Diversity Paradox of Cloud Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Network Technology Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Physical Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 National Diversity Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

Chapter 5 Commonality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Meaningful Best Practices for Infrastructure Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Locally Relevant and Appropriate Security Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Culture of Security Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Infrastructure Simplifi cation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Certifi cation and Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Career Path and Reward Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Responsible Past Security Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 National Commonality Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107

Chapter 6 Depth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Effectiveness of Depth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Layered Authentication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 Layered E-Mail Virus and Spam Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

CONTENTS vii

Layered Access Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Layered Encryption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Layered Intrusion Detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 National Program of Depth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

Chapter 7 Discretion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Trusted Computing Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 Security Through Obscurity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Information Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Information Reconnaissance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 Obscurity Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Organizational Compartments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 National Discretion Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

Chapter 8 Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Collecting Network Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 Collecting System Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Security Information and Event Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 Large-Scale Trending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Tracking a Worm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 National Collection Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161

Chapter 9 Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Conventional Security Correlation Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 Quality and Reliability Issues in Data Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Correlating Data to Detect a Worm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170 Correlating Data to Detect a Botnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 Large-Scale Correlation Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174 National Correlation Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

Chapter 10 Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 Detecting Infrastructure Attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Managing Vulnerability Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184

viii CONTENTS

Cyber Security Intelligence Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186 Risk Management Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 Security Operations Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 National Awareness Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

Chapter 11 Response. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Pre- Versus Post-Attack Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 Indications and Warning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 Incident Response Teams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198 Forensic Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 Law Enforcement Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Disaster Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 National Response Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

Appendix Sample National Infrastructure Protection Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207

Sample Deception Requirements (Chapter 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 Sample Separation Requirements (Chapter 3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 Sample Diversity Requirements (Chapter 4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 Sample Commonality Requirements (Chapter 5) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212 Sample Depth Requirements (Chapter 6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 Sample Discretion Requirements (Chapter 7) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 Sample Collection Requirements (Chapter 8) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 Sample Correlation Requirements (Chapter 9) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 Sample Awareness Requirements (Chapter 10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 Sample Response Requirements (Chapter 11) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

PREFACE ix

PREFACE

Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.

Thomas Paine in Common Sense

Before you invest any of your time with this book, please take a moment and look over the following points. They outline my basic philosophy of national infrastructure security. I think that your reaction to these points will give you a pretty good idea of what your reaction will be to the book. 1. Citizens of free nations cannot hope to express or enjoy

their freedoms if basic security protections are not provided. Security does not suppress freedom—it makes freedom possible.

2. In virtually every modern nation, computers and networks power critical infrastructure elements. As a result, cyber attackers can use computers and networks to damage or ruin the infrastructures that citizens rely on.

3. Security protections, such as those in security books, were designed for small-scale environments such as enterprise computing environments. These protections do not extrapo- late to the protection of massively complex infrastructure.

4. Effective national cyber protections will be driven largely by cooperation and coordination between commercial, indus- trial, and government organizations. Thus, organizational management issues will be as important to national defense as technical issues.

5. Security is a process of risk reduction, not risk removal. Therefore, concrete steps can and should be taken to reduce, but not remove, the risk of cyber attack to national infrastructure.

6. The current risk of catastrophic cyber attack to national infra- structure must be viewed as extremely high, by any realistic measure. Taking little or no action to reduce this risk would be a foolish national decision. The chapters of this book are organized around ten basic

principles that will reduce the risk of cyber attack to national infrastructure in a substantive manner. They are driven by

x PREFACE

experiences gained managing the security of one of the largest, most complex infrastructures in the world, by years of learning from various commercial and government organizations, and by years of interaction with students and academic researchers in the security fi eld. They are also driven by personal experiences dealing with a wide range of successful and unsuccessful cyber attacks, including ones directed at infrastructure of considerable value. The implementation of the ten principles in this book will require national resolve and changes to the way computing and networking elements are designed, built, and operated in the context of national infrastructure. My hope is that the sugges- tions offered in these pages will make this process easier.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT xi

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The cyber security experts in the AT&T Chief Security Offi ce, my colleagues across AT&T Labs and the AT&T Chief Technology Offi ce, my colleagues across the entire AT&T business, and my graduate and undergraduate students in the Computer Science Department at the Stevens Institute of Technology, have had a profound impact on my thinking and on the contents of this book. In addition, many prominent enterprise customers of AT&T with whom I’ve had the pleasure of serving, especially those in the United States Federal Government, have been great infl uencers in the preparation of this material.

I’d also like to extend a great thanks to my wife Lee, daugh- ter Stephanie (17), son Matthew (15), and daughter Alicia (9) for their collective patience with my busy schedule.

Edward G. Amoroso Florham Park, NJ September 2010

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1 Cyber Attacks. DOI: © Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

10.1016/B978-0-12-384917-5.00001-9 2011

INTRODUCTION Somewhere in his writings—and I regret having forgotten where— John Von Neumann draws attention to what seemed to him a contrast. He remarked that for simple mechanisms it is often easier to describe how they work than what they do, while for more complicated mechanisms it was usually the other way round .

Edsger W. Dijkstra 1

National infrastructure refers to the complex, underlying delivery and support systems for all large-scale services considered abso- lutely essential to a nation. These services include emergency response, law enforcement databases, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, power control networks, mili- tary support services, consumer entertainment systems, fi nancial applications, and mobile telecommunications. Some national services are provided directly by government, but most are pro- vided by commercial groups such as Internet service provid- ers, airlines, and banks. In addition, certain services considered essential to one nation might include infrastructure support that is controlled by organizations from another nation. This global interdependency is consistent with the trends referred to collec- tively by Thomas Friedman as a “fl at world.” 2

National infrastructure, especially in the United States, has always been vulnerable to malicious physical attacks such as equipment tampering, cable cuts, facility bombing, and asset theft. The events of September 11, 2001, for example, are the most prominent and recent instance of a massive physical attack directed at national infrastructure. During the past couple of decades, however, vast portions of national infrastructure have become reliant on software, computers, and networks. This reli- ance typically includes remote access, often over the Internet, to

1

1 E.W. Dijkstra, Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective , Springer-Verlag, New York, 1982, pp. 212–213. 2 T. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century , Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2007. (Friedman provides a useful economic backdrop to the global aspect of the cyber attack trends suggested in this chapter.)

2 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

the systems that control national services. Adversaries thus can initiate cyber attacks on infrastructure using worms, viruses, leaks, and the like. These attacks indirectly target national infra- structure through their associated automated controls systems (see Figure 1.1 ).

A seemingly obvious approach to dealing with this national cyber threat would involve the use of well-known computer security techniques. After all, computer security has matured substantially in the past couple of decades, and considerable expertise now exists on how to protect software, computers, and networks. In such a national scheme, safeguards such as fi re- walls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, passwords, scanners, audit trails, and encryption would be directly embed- ded into infrastructure, just as they are currently in small-scale environments. These national security systems would be con- nected to a centralized threat management system, and inci- dent response would follow a familiar sort of enterprise process. Furthermore, to ensure security policy compliance, one would expect the usual programs of end-user awareness, security train- ing, and third-party audit to be directed toward the people build- ing and operating national infrastructure. Virtually every national infrastructure protection initiative proposed to date has followed this seemingly straightforward path. 3

While well-known computer security techniques will certainly be useful for national infrastructure, most practical experience to date suggests that this conventional approach will not be suf- fi cient. A primary reason is the size, scale, and scope inherent in complex national infrastructure. For example, where an enter- prise might involve manageably sized assets, national infrastruc- ture will require unusually powerful computing support with the ability to handle enormous volumes of data. Such volumes

Indirect Cyber Attacks

Direct Physical Attacks

“Worms, Viruses, Leaks”

“Tampering, Cuts,

Bombs”

National Infrastructure

Automated Control

Software

Computers

Networks

Figure 1.1 National infrastructure cyber and physical attacks.

3 Executive Offi ce of the President, Cyberspace Policy Review: Assuring a Trusted and Resilient Information and Communications Infrastructure , U.S. White House, Washington, D.C., 2009 ( http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA501541 ).

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 3

will easily exceed the storage and processing capacity of typical enterprise security tools such as a commercial threat manage- ment system. Unfortunately, this incompatibility confl icts with current initiatives in government and industry to reduce costs through the use of common commercial off-the-shelf products.

In addition, whereas enterprise systems can rely on manual intervention by a local expert during a security disaster, large- scale national infrastructure generally requires a carefully orches- trated response by teams of security experts using predetermined processes. These teams of experts will often work in different groups, organizations, or even countries. In the worst cases, they will cooperate only if forced by government, often sharing just the minimum amount of information to avoid legal conse- quences. An additional problem is that the complexity associated with national infrastructure leads to the bizarre situation where response teams often have partial or incorrect understand- ing about how the underlying systems work. For these reasons, seemingly convenient attempts to apply existing small-scale security processes to large-scale infrastructure attacks will ulti- mately fail (see Figure 1.2 ).

As a result, a brand-new type of national infrastructure protec- tion methodology is required—one that combines the best ele- ments of existing computer and network security techniques with the unique and diffi cult challenges associated with complex, large- scale national services. This book offers just such a protection methodology for national infrastructure. It is based on a quarter century of practical experience designing, building, and operating

Small-Scale

Small Volume

Possibly Manual

Local Expert

High

Focused

High Volume

Large-Scale

Process-Based

Distributed Expertise

Partial or Incorrect

Broad

Collection

Emergency

Expertise

Knowledge

Analysis

Large-Scale Attributes Complicate Cyber Security

Figure 1.2 Differences between small- and large-scale cyber security.

National infrastructure databases far exceed the size of even the largest commercial databases.

4 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

cyber security systems for government, commercial, and con- sumer infrastructure. It is represented as a series of protection principles that can be applied to new or existing systems. Because of the unique needs of national infrastructure, especially its mas- sive size, scale, and scope, some aspects of the methodology will be unfamiliar to the computer security community. In fact, certain elements of the approach, such as our favorable view of “security through obscurity,” might appear in direct confl ict with conven- tional views of how computers and networks should be protected.

National Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Attacks Conventional computer security is based on the oft-repeated tax- onomy of security threats which includes confi dentiality, integrity, availability, and theft. In the broadest sense, all four diverse threat types will have applicability in national infrastructure. For example, protections are required equally to deal with sensitive information leaks (confi dentiality ), worms affecting the operation of some criti- cal application (integrity), botnets knocking out an important system (availability), or citizens having their identities compromised (theft). Certainly, the availability threat to national services must be viewed as particularly important, given the nature of the threat and its rela- tion to national assets. One should thus expect particular attention to availability threats to national infrastructure. Nevertheless, it makes sense to acknowledge that all four types of security threats in the conventional taxonomy of computer security must be addressed in any national infrastructure protection methodology.

Vulnerabilities are more diffi cult to associate with any taxon- omy. Obviously, national infrastructure must address well-known problems such as improperly confi gured equipment, poorly designed local area networks, unpatched system software, exploit- able bugs in application code, and locally disgruntled employ- ees. The problem is that the most fundamental vulnerability in national infrastructure involves the staggering complexity inher- ent in the underlying systems. This complexity is so pervasive that many times security incidents uncover aspects of computing functionality that were previously unknown to anyone, including sometimes the system designers. Furthermore, in certain cases, the optimal security solution involves simplifying and cleaning up poorly conceived infrastructure. This is bad news, because most large organizations are inept at simplifying much of anything.

The best one can do for a comprehensive view of the vulner- abilities associated with national infrastructure is to address their

Any of the most common security concerns— confi dentiality, integrity, availability, and theft— threaten our national infrastructure.

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 5

relative exploitation points. This can be done with an abstract national infrastructure cyber security model that includes three types of malicious adversaries: external adversary (hackers on the Internet), internal adversary (trusted insiders), and supplier adversary (vendors and partners). Using this model, three exploi- tation points emerge for national infrastructure: remote access (Internet and telework), system administration and normal usage (management and use of software, computers, and networks), and supply chain (procurement and outsourcing) (see Figure 1.3 ).

These three exploitation points and three types of adversaries can be associated with a variety of possible motivations for initi- ating either a full or test attack on national infrastructure.

Remote Access

System Administration and

Normal Usage

External Adversary

Three Exploitation Points

National Infrastructure

Three Adversaries

Supply Chain

Internal Adversary

Software

Computers

NetworksSupplier Adversary

Figure 1.3 Adversaries and exploitation points in national infrastructure.

Five Possible Motivations for an Infrastructure Attack

● Country-sponsored warfare —National infrastructure attacks sponsored and funded by enemy countries must be considered the most signifi cant potential motivation, because the intensity of adversary capability and willingness to attack is potentially unlimited.

● Terrorist attack —The terrorist motivation is also signifi cant, especially because groups driven by terror can easily obtain suffi cient capability and funding to perform signifi cant attacks on infrastructure.

● Commercially motivated attack —When one company chooses to utilize cyber attacks to gain a commercial advantage, it becomes a national infrastructure incident if the target company is a purveyor of some national asset.

● Financially driven criminal attack —Identify theft is the most common example of a fi nancially driven attack by criminal groups, but other cases exist, such as companies being extorted to avoid a cyber incident.

● Hacking —One must not forget that many types of attacks are still driven by the motivation of hackers, who are often just mischievous youths trying to learn or to build a reputation within the hacking community. This is much less a sinister motivation, and national leaders should try to identify better ways to tap this boundless capability and energy.

6 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

Each of the three exploitation points might be utilized in a cyber attack on national infrastructure. For example, a supplier might use a poorly designed supply chain to insert Trojan horse code into a software component that controls some national asset, or a hacker on the Internet might take advantage of some unprotected Internet access point to break into a vulnerable ser- vice. Similarly, an insider might use trusted access for either sys- tem administration or normal system usage to create an attack. The potential also exists for an external adversary to gain valu- able insider access through patient, measured means, such as gaining employment in an infrastructure-supporting organiza- tion and then becoming trusted through a long process of work performance. In each case, the possibility exists that a limited type of engagement might be performed as part of a planned test or exercise. This seems especially likely if the attack is country or terrorist sponsored, because it is consistent with past practice.

At each exploitation point, the vulnerability being used might be a well-known problem previously reported in an authoritative public advisory, or it could be a proprietary issue kept hidden by a local organization. It is entirely appropriate for a recognized authority to make a detailed public vulnerability advisory if the benefi ts of notifying the good guys outweigh the risks of alert- ing the bad guys. This cost–benefi t result usually occurs when many organizations can directly benefi t from the information and can thus take immediate action. When the reported vulner- ability is unique and isolated, however, then reporting the details might be irresponsible, especially if the notifi cation process does not enable a more timely fi x. This is a key issue, because many government authorities continue to consider new rules for man- datory reporting. If the information being demanded is not prop- erly protected, then the reporting process might result in more harm than good.

Botnet Threat Perhaps the most insidious type of attack that exists today is the botnet . 4 In short, a botnet involves remote control of a collec- tion of compromised end-user machines, usually broadband- connected PCs. The controlled end-user machines, which are referred to as bots , are programmed to attack some target that is designated by the botnet controller. The attack is tough to stop

4 Much of the material on botnets in this chapter is derived from work done by Brian Rexroad, David Gross, and several others from AT&T.

When to issue a vulnerability risk advisory and when to keep the risk confi dential must be determined on a case- by-case basis, depending on the threat.

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 7

because end-user machines are typically administered in an inef- fective manner. Furthermore, once the attack begins, it occurs from sources potentially scattered across geographic, political, and service provider boundaries. Perhaps worse, bots are pro- grammed to take commands from multiple controller systems, so any attempts to destroy a given controller result in the bots sim- ply homing to another one.

The Five Entities That Comprise a Botnet Attack ● Botnet operator —This is the individual, group, or country that creates the botnet, including its setup and operation.

When the botnet is used for fi nancial gain, it is the operator who will benefi t. Law enforcement and cyber security initiatives have found it very diffi cult to identify the operators. The press, in particular, has done a poor job reporting on the presumed identity of botnet operators, often suggesting sponsorship by some country when little supporting evidence exists.

● Botnet controller —This is the set of servers that command and control the operation of a botnet. Usually these servers have been maliciously compromised for this purpose. Many times, the real owner of a server that has been compromised will not even realize what has occurred. The type of activity directed by a controller includes all recruitment, setup, communication, and attack activity. Typical botnets include a handful of controllers, usually distributed across the globe in a non-obvious manner.

● Collection of bots —These are the end-user, broadband-connected PCs infected with botnet malware. They are usually owned and operated by normal citizens, who become unwitting and unknowing dupes in a botnet attack. When a botnet includes a concentration of PCs in a given region, observers often incorrectly attribute the attack to that region. The use of smart mobile devices in a botnet will grow as upstream capacity and device processing power increase.

● Botnet software drop —Most botnets include servers designed to store software that might be useful for the botnets during their lifecycle. Military personnel might refer to this as an arsenal . Like controllers, botnet software drop points are usually servers compromised for this purpose, often unknown to the normal server operator.

● Botnet target —This is the location that is targeted in the attack. Usually, it is a website, but it can really be any device, system, or network that is visible to the bots. In most cases, botnets target prominent and often controversial websites, simply because they are visible via the Internet and generally have a great deal at stake in terms of their availability. This increases gain and leverage for the attacker. Logically, however, botnets can target anything visible.

The way a botnet works is that the controller is set up to com- municate with the bots via some designated protocol, most often Internet Relay Chat (IRC). This is done via malware inserted into the end-user PCs that comprise the bots. A great challenge in this regard is that home PCs and laptops are so poorly administered. Amazingly, over time, the day-to-day system and security admin- istration task for home computers has gravitated to the end user.

8 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

This obligation results in both a poor user experience and gen- eral dissatisfaction with the security task. For example, when a typical computer buyer brings a new machine home, it has prob- ably been preloaded with security software by the retailer. From this point onward, however, that home buyer is then tasked with all responsibility for protecting the machine. This includes keep- ing fi rewall, intrusion detection, antivirus, and antispam software up to date, as well as ensuring that all software patches are cur- rent. When these tasks are not well attended, the result is a more vulnerable machine that is easily turned into a bot. (Sadly, even if a machine is properly managed, expert bot software designers might fi nd a way to install the malware anyway.)

Once a group of PCs has been compromised into bots, attacks can thus be launched by the controller via a command to the bots, which would then do as they are instructed. This might not occur instantaneously with the infection; in fact, experi- ence suggests that many botnets lay dormant for a great deal of time. Nevertheless, all sorts of attacks are possible in a bot- net arrangement, including the now-familiar distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). In such a case, the bots create more inbound traffi c than the target gateway can handle. For example, if some theoretical gateway allows for 1 Gbps of inbound traffi c, and the botnet creates an inbound stream larger than 1 Gbps, then a logjam results at the inbound gateway, and a denial of service condition occurs (see Figure 1.4 ).

Any serious present study of cyber security must acknowl- edge the unique threat posed by botnets. Virtually any Internet- connected system is vulnerable to major outages from a botnet-originated DDOS attack. The physics of the situation are especially depressing; that is, a botnet that might steal 500 Kbps

Broadband Carriers

Capacity Excess Creates Jam

Bots

Target A’s Designated

Carrier

1 Gbps Ingress

Target A

1 Gbps DDOS Traffic Aimed at Target A

Figure 1.4 Sample DDOS attack from a botnet.

Home PC users may never know they are being used for a botnet scheme.

A DDOS attack is like a cyber traffi c jam.

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 9

of upstream capacity from each bot (which would generally allow for concurrent normal computing and networking) would only need three bots to collapse a target T1 connection. Following this logic, only 16,000 bots would be required theoretically to fi ll up a 10-Gbps connection. Because most of the thousands of bot- nets that have been observed on the Internet are at least this size, the threat is obvious; however, many recent and prominent bot- nets such as Storm and Confi cker are much larger, comprising as many as several million bots, so the threat to national infrastruc- ture is severe and immediate.

National Cyber Security Methodology Components Our proposed methodology for protecting national infrastruc- ture is presented as a series of ten basic design and operation principles. The implication is that, by using these principles as a guide for either improving existing infrastructure components or building new ones, the security result will be desirable, includ- ing a reduced risk from botnets. The methodology addresses all four types of security threats to national infrastructure; it also deals with all three types of adversaries to national infrastructure, as well as the three exploitation points detailed in the infrastruc- ture model. The list of principles in the methodology serves as a guide to the remainder of this chapter, as well as an outline for the remaining chapters of the book: ● Chapter 2: Deception —The openly advertised use of deception

creates uncertainty for adversaries because they will not know if a discovered problem is real or a trap. The more common hid- den use of deception allows for real-time behavioral analysis if an intruder is caught in a trap. Programs of national infrastruc- ture protection must include the appropriate use of deception, especially to reduce the malicious partner and supplier risk.

● Chapter 3: Separation —Network separation is currently accomplished using fi rewalls, but programs of national infra- structure protection will require three specifi c changes. Specifi cally, national infrastructure must include network- based fi rewalls on high-capacity backbones to throttle DDOS attacks, internal fi rewalls to segregate infrastructure and reduce the risk of sabotage, and better tailoring of fi rewall fea- tures for specifi c applications such as SCADA protocols. 5

5 R. Kurtz, Securing SCADA Systems , Wiley, New York, 2006. (Kurtz provides an excellent overview of SCADA systems and the current state of the practice in securing them.)

10 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

● Chapter 4: Diversity —Maintaining diversity in the products, services, and technologies supporting national infrastruc- ture reduces the chances that one common weakness can be exploited to produce a cascading attack. A massive program of coordinated procurement and supplier management is required to achieve a desired level of national diversity across all assets. This will be tough, because it confl icts with most cost-motivated information technology procurement initia- tives designed to minimize diversity in infrastructure.

● Chapter 5: Commonality —The consistent use of security best practices in the administration of national infrastructure ensures that no infrastructure component is either poorly managed or left completely unguarded. National programs of standards selection and audit validation, especially with an emphasis on uniform programs of simplifi cation, are thus required. This can certainly include citizen end users, but one should never rely on high levels of security compliance in the broad population.

● Chapter 6: Depth —The use of defense in depth in national infrastructure ensures that no critical asset is reliant on a single security layer; thus, if any layer should fail, an addi- tional layer is always present to mitigate an attack. Analysis is required at the national level to ensure that all critical assets are protected by at least two layers, preferably more.

● Chapter 7: Discretion —The use of personal discretion in the sharing of information about national assets is a practical technique that many computer security experts fi nd diffi cult to accept because it confl icts with popular views on “security through obscurity.” Nevertheless, large-scale infrastructure protection cannot be done properly unless a national culture of discretion and secrecy is nurtured. It goes without saying that such discretion should never be put in place to obscure illegal or unethical practices.

● Chapter 8: Collection —The collection of audit log informa- tion is a necessary component of an infrastructure security scheme, but it introduces privacy, size, and scale issues not seen in smaller computer and network settings. National infrastructure protection will require a data collection approach that is acceptable to the citizenry and provides the requisite level of detail for security analysis.

● Chapter 9: Correlation —Correlation is the most fundamen- tal of all analysis techniques for cyber security, but modern attack methods such as botnets greatly complicate its use for attack-related indicators. National-level correlation must be performed using all available sources and the best available

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 11

technology and algorithms. Correlating information around a botnet attack is one of the more challenging present tasks in cyber security.

● Chapter 10: Awareness —Maintaining situational awareness is more important in large-scale infrastructure protection than in traditional computer and network security because it helps to coordinate the real-time aspect of multiple infrastructure components. A program of national situational awareness must be in place to ensure proper management decision- making for national assets.

● Chapter 11: Response —Incident response for national infra- structure protection is especially diffi cult because it gener- ally involves complex dependencies and interactions between disparate government and commercial groups. It is best accomplished at the national level when it focuses on early indications, rather than on incidents that have already begun to damage national assets. The balance of this chapter will introduce each principle, with

discussion on its current use in computer and network security, as well as its expected benefi ts for national infrastructure protection.

Deception The principle of deception involves the deliberate introduc- tion of misleading functionality or misinformation into national infrastructure for the purpose of tricking an adversary. The idea is that an adversary would be presented with a view of national infrastructure functionality that might include services or inter- face components that are present for the sole purpose of fakery. Computer scientists refer to this functionality as a honey pot , but the use of deception for national infrastructure could go far beyond this conventional view. Specifi cally, deception can be used to protect against certain types of cyber attacks that no other security method will handle. Law enforcement agen- cies have been using deception effectively for many years, often catching cyber stalkers and criminals by spoofi ng the reported identity of an end point. Even in the presence of such obvi- ous success, however, the cyber security community has yet to embrace deception as a mainstream protection measure.

Deception in computing typically involves a layer of clev- erly designed trap functionality strategically embedded into the internal and external interfaces for services. Stated more simply, deception involves fake functionality embedded into real inter- faces. An example might be a deliberately planted trap link on

Deception is an oft-used tool by law enforcement agencies to catch cyber stalkers and predators.

12 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

a website that would lead potential intruders into an environ- ment designed to highlight adversary behavior. When the decep- tion is open and not secret, it might introduce uncertainty for adversaries in the exploitation of real vulnerabilities, because the adversary might suspect that the discovered entry point is a trap. When it is hidden and stealth, which is the more common situa- tion, it serves as the basis for real-time forensic analysis of adver- sary behavior. In either case, the result is a public interface that includes real services, deliberate honey pot traps, and the inevi- table exploitable vulnerabilities that unfortunately will be pres- ent in all nontrivial interfaces (see Figure 1.5 ).

Only relatively minor tests of honey pot technology have been reported to date, usually in the context of a research effort. Almost no reports are available on the day-to-day use of decep- tion as a structural component of a real enterprise security program. In fact, the vast majority of security programs for com- panies, government agencies, and national infrastructure would include no such functionality. Academic computer scientists have shown little interest in this type of security, as evidenced by the relatively thin body of literature on the subject. This lack of interest might stem from the discomfort associated with using computing to mislead. Another explanation might be the relative ineffectiveness of deception against the botnet threat, which is clearly the most important security issue on the Internet today. Regardless of the cause, this tendency to avoid the use of decep- tion is unfortunate, because many cyber attacks, such as subtle break-ins by trusted insiders and Trojan horses being maliciously inserted by suppliers into delivered software, cannot be easily remedied by any other means.

The most direct benefi t of deception is that it enables foren- sic analysis of intruder activity. By using a honey pot, unique insights into attack methods can be gained by watching what is occurring in real time. Such deception obviously works best in a hidden, stealth mode, unknown to the intruder, because if

Interface to Valid Services

Trap Interface to Honey Pot

Should Resemble Valid Services

Vulnerabilities Possible

Uncertainty

Real Assets

Honey Pot

???

Figure 1.5 Components of an interface with deception.

Deception is less effective against botnets than other types of attack methods.

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 13

the intruder realizes that some vulnerable exploitation point is a fake, then no exploitation will occur. Honey pot pioneers Cliff Stoll, Bill Cheswick, and Lance Spitzner have provided a major- ity of the reported experience in real-time forensics using honey pots. They have all suggested that the most diffi cult task involves creating believability in the trap. It is worth noting that connect- ing a honey pot to real assets is a terrible idea.

An additional potential benefi t of deception is that it can introduce the clever idea that some discovered vulnerability might instead be a deliberately placed trap. Obviously, such an approach is only effective if the use of deception is not hidden; that is, the adversary must know that deception is an approved and accepted technique used for protection. It should therefore be obvious that the major advantage here is that an accidental vulnerability, one that might previously have been an open door for an intruder, will suddenly look like a possible trap. A further profound notion, perhaps for open discussion, is whether just the implied statement that deception might be present (perhaps without real justifi cation) would actually reduce risk. Suppliers, for example, might be less willing to take the risk of Trojan horse insertion if the procuring organization advertises an open research and development program of detailed software test and inspection against this type of attack.

Separation The principle of separation involves enforcement of access policy restrictions on the users and resources in a computing environ- ment. Access policy restrictions result in separation domains, which are arguably the most common security architectural concept in use today. This is good news, because the creation of access-policy-based separation domains will be essential in the protection of national infrastructure. Most companies today will typically use fi rewalls to create perimeters around their presumed enterprise, and access decisions are embedded in the associated rules sets. This use of enterprise fi rewalls for separation is com- plemented by several other common access techniques: ● Authentication and identity management —These methods are

used to validate and manage the identities on which separa- tion decisions are made. They are essential in every enterprise but cannot be relied upon solely for infrastructure security. Malicious insiders, for example, will be authorized under such systems. In addition, external attacks such as DDOS are unaf- fected by authentication and identity management.

Do not connect honey pots to real assets!

14 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

● Logical access controls —The access controls inherent in oper- ating systems and applications provide some degree of sepa- ration, but they are also weak in the presence of compromised insiders. Furthermore, underlying vulnerabilities in appli- cations and operating systems can often be used to subvert these methods.

● LAN controls —Access control lists on local area network (LAN) components can provide separation based on infor- mation such as Internet Protocol (IP) or media access control (MAC) address. In this regard, they are very much like fi rewalls but typically do not extend their scope beyond an isolated segment.

● Firewalls —For large-scale infrastructure, fi rewalls are particu- larly useful, because they separate one network from another. Today, every Internet-based connection is almost certainly protected by some sort of fi rewall functionality. This approach worked especially well in the early years of the Internet, when the number of Internet connections to the enterprise was small. Firewalls do remain useful, however, even with the massive connectivity of most groups to the Internet. As a result, national infrastructure should continue to include the use of fi rewalls to protect known perimeter gateways to the Internet. Given the massive scale and complexity associated with

national infrastructure, three specifi c separation enhancements are required, and all are extensions of the fi rewall concept.

Required Separation Enhancements for National Infrastructure Protection

1. The use of network-based fi rewalls is absolutely required for many national infrastructure applications, especially ones vulnerable to DDOS attacks from the Internet. This use of network-based mediation can take advantage of high-capacity network backbones if the service provider is involved in running the fi rewalls.

2. The use of fi rewalls to segregate and isolate internal infrastructure components from one another is a mandatory technique for simplifying the implementation of access control policies in an organization. When insiders have malicious intent, any exploit they might attempt should be explicitly contained by internal fi rewalls.

3. The use of commercial off-the-shelf fi rewalls, especially for SCADA usage, will require tailoring of the fi rewall to the unique protocol needs of the application. It is not acceptable for national infrastructure protection to retrofi t the use of a generic, commercial, off-the-shelf tool that is not optimized for its specifi c use (see Figure 1.6 ).

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