NETRESEC Network Security Blog - Tag : Bro


Sniffing Decrypted TLS Traffic with Security Onion

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a NIDS like Snort, Suricata or Zeek inspect HTTP requests leaving your network inside TLS encrypted HTTPS traffic? Yeah, we think so too! We have therefore created this guide on how to configure Security Onion to sniff decrypted TLS traffic with help of PolarProxy.

Network drawing with Clients, SecurityOnion and the Internet

PolarProxy is a forward TLS proxy that decrypts incoming TLS traffic from clients, re-encrypts it and forwards it to the server. One of the key features in PolarProxy is the ability to export the proxied traffic in decrypted form using the PCAP format (a.k.a. libpcap/tcpdump format). This makes it possible to read the decrypted traffic with external tools, without having to perform the decryption again. It also enables packet analysis using tools that don't have built-in TLS decryption support.

This guide outlines how to configure PolarProxy to intercept HTTPS traffic and send the decrypted HTTP traffic to an internal network interface, where it can be sniffed by an IDS.

STEP 1 ☆ Install Ubuntu

Download and install the latest SecurityOnion ISO image, but don't run the "Setup" just yet.

STEP 2 ☆ Add a Dummy Network Interface

Add a dummy network interface called "decrypted", to which decrypted packets will be sent.

ip link add decrypted type dummy
ip link set decrypted arp off up
Add the commands above to /etc/rc.local before "exit 0" to have the network interface automatically configured after reboots.

dummy interface in rc.local

STEP 3 ☆ Install Updates

Install updates in Security Onion by running "sudo soup".

STEP 4 ☆ Run the Security Onion Setup

Run the Security Onion setup utility by double-clicking the "Setup" desktop shortcut or executing "sudo sosetup" from a terminal. Follow the setup steps in the Production Deployment documentation and select "decrypted" as your sniffing interface.

Sniffing Interface Selection Window

Reboot and run Setup again to continue with the second phase of Security Onion's setup. Again, select "decrypted" as the interface to be monitored.

STEP 5 ☆ Install PolarProxy Service

Download and install PolarProxy:

sudo adduser --system --shell /bin/bash proxyuser
sudo mkdir /var/log/PolarProxy
sudo chown proxyuser:root /var/log/PolarProxy/
sudo chmod 0775 /var/log/PolarProxy/

sudo su - proxyuser
mkdir ~/PolarProxy
cd ~/PolarProxy/
curl https://www.netresec.com/?download=PolarProxy | tar -xzf -
exit

sudo cp /home/proxyuser/PolarProxy/PolarProxy.service /etc/systemd/system/PolarProxy.service

Edit /etc/systemd/system/PolarProxy.service and add "--pcapoverip 57012" at the end of the ExecStart command.

--pcapoverip 57012 in PolarProxy.service

Start the PolarProxy systemd service:

sudo systemctl enable PolarProxy.service
sudo systemctl start PolarProxy.service

STEP 6 ☆ Install Tcpreplay Service

The decrypted traffic can now be accessed via PolarProxy's PCAP-over-IP service on TCP 57012. We can leverage tcpreplay and netcat to replay these packets to our dummy network interface in order to have them picked up by Security Onion.

nc localhost 57012 | tcpreplay -i decrypted -t -
However, it's better to create a systemd service that does this automatically on bootup. We therefore create a file called /etc/systemd/system/tcpreplay.service with the following contents:
[Unit]
Description=Tcpreplay of decrypted traffic from PolarProxy
After=PolarProxy.service

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/bin/sh -c 'nc localhost 57012 | tcpreplay -i decrypted -t -'
Restart=on-failure
RestartSec=3

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Start the tcpreplay systemd service:

sudo systemctl enable tcpreplay.service
sudo systemctl start tcpreplay.service

STEP 7 ☆ Add firewall rules

Security Onion only accepts incoming connections on TCP 22 by default, we also need to allow connections to TCP port 10443 (proxy port), and 10080 (root CA certificate download web server). Add allow rules for these services to the Security Onion machine's firewall:

sudo ufw allow in 10443/tcp
sudo ufw allow in 10080/tcp

Verify that the proxy is working by running this curl command on a PC connected to the same network as the Security Onion machine:

curl --insecure --connect-to www.netresec.com:443:[SecurityOnionIP]:10443 https://www.netresec.com/
Note: You can even perform this test from a Win10 PC, since curl is included with Windows 10 version 1803 and later.

Add the following lines at the top of /etc/ufw/before.rules (before the *filter section) to redirect incoming packets on TCP 443 to PolarProxy on port 10443.

*nat
:PREROUTING ACCEPT [0:0]
-A PREROUTING -i enp0s3 -p tcp --dport 443 -j REDIRECT --to 10443
COMMIT

Note: Replace "enp0s3" with the Security Onion interface to which clients will connect.

After saving before.rules, reload ufw to activate the port redirection:

sudo ufw reload

Verify that you can reach the proxy on TCP 443 with this command:

curl --insecure --resolve www.netresec.com:443:[SecurityOnionIP] https://www.netresec.com/

STEP 8 ☆ Redirect HTTPS traffic to PolarProxy

It's now time to configure a client to run its HTTPS traffic through PolarProxy. Download and install the PolarProxy X.509 root CA certificate from PolarProxy's web service on TCP port 10080:

http://[SecurityOnionIP]:10080/polarproxy.cer

Install the certificate in the operating system and browser, as instructed in the PolarProxy documentation.

You also need to forward packets from the client machine to the Security Onion machine running PolarProxy. This can be done either by configuring a local NAT rule on each monitored client (STEP 8.a) or by configuring the default gateway's firewall to forward HTTPS traffic from all clients to the proxy (STEP 8.b).

STEP 8.a ☆ Local NAT

Use this firewall rule on a Linux client to configure it to forward outgoing HTTPS traffic to the Security Onion machine:

sudo iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -p tcp --dport 443 -j DNAT --to [SecurityOnionIP]

STEP 8.b ☆ Global NAT Network drawing Firewall, PolarProxy, Clients

If the client isn't running Linux, or if you wanna forward HTTPS traffic from a whole network to the proxy, then apply the following iptables rules to the firewall in front of the client network. See "Routing Option #2" in the PolarProxy documentation for more details.

  1. Add a forward rule on the gateway to allow forwarding traffic to our PolarProxy server:
    sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i eth1 -d [SecurityOnionIP] -p tcp --dport 10443 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
  2. Add a DNAT rule to forward 443 traffic to PolarProxy on port 10443:
    sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i eth1 -p tcp --dport 443 -j DNAT --to [SecurityOnionIP]:10443
  3. If the reverse traffic from PolarProxy to the client doesn't pass the firewall (i.e. they are on the same LAN), then we must add this hide-nat rule to fool PolarProxy that we are coming from the firewall:
    sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth1 -d [SecurityOnionIP] -p tcp --dport 10443 -j MASQUERADE
For other network configurations, please see the various routing setups in the PolarProxy documentation.

STEP 9 ☆ Inspect traffic in SecurityOnion

Wait for the Elastic stack to initialize, so that the intercepted network traffic becomes available through the Kibana GUI. You can check the status of the elastic initialization with "sudo so-elastic-status".

You should now be able to inspect decrypted traffic in Security Onion using Kibana, Squert, Sguil etc., just as if it was unencrypted HTTP.

Bro HTTP traffic in Kibana Image: Kibana showing HTTP traffic info from decrypted HTTPS sessions

MIME types in Kibana Image: MIME types in Kibana

NIDS alerts in Kibana Image: NIDS alerts from payload in decrypted traffic shown in Kibana

Snort alerts in Squert Image: Snort alerts from decrypted traffic shown in Squert

Security Considerations and Hardening

Security Onion nodes are normally configured to only allow access by SOC/CERT/CSIRT analysts, but the setup described in this blog post requires that "normal" users on the client network can access the PolarProxy service running on the Security Onion node. We therefore recommend installing PolarProxy on a dedicated Security Onion Forward Node, which is configured to only monitor traffic from the proxy.

We also recommend segmenting the client network from the analyst network, for example by using separate network interfaces on the Security Onion machine or putting it in a DMZ. Only the PolarProxy service (TCP 10080 and 10443) should be accessable from the client network.

PolarProxy could be used to pivot from the client network into the analyst network or to access the Apache webserver running on the Security Onion node. For example, the following curl command can be used to access the local Apache server running on the Security Onion machine via PolarProxy:

curl --insecure --connect-to localhost:443:[SecurityOnionIP]:10443 https://localhost/
We therefore recommend adding firewall rules that prevent PolarProxy from accessing the analyst network as well as the local Apache server.

Hardening Steps:

  • Configure the Security Onion node as a Forward Node
  • Segment client network from analyst network
  • Add firewall rules to prevent PolarProxy from accessing services on the local machine and analyst network

For additional info on hardening, please see the recommendations provided by Wes Lambert on the Security-Onion mailing list.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 20 January 2020 09:40:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #SecurityOnion #Security Onion #PCAP #Bro #PolarProxy #Snort #Suricata #TLS #SSL #HTTPS #tcpreplay #PCAP-over-IP #IDS #NIDS #netcat #curl

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Examining an x509 Covert Channel

Jason Reaves gave a talk titled “Malware C2 over x509 certificate exchange” at BSides Springfield 2017, where he demonstrated that the SSL handshake can be abused by malware as a covert command-and-control (C2) channel.

Jason Reaves presenting at BSides Springfield 2017

He got the idea while analyzing the Vawtrak malware after discovering that it read multiple fields in the X.509 certificate provided by the server before proceeding. Jason initially thought these fields were used as a C2 channel, but then realized that Vawtrak performed a variant of certificate pinning in order to discover SSL man-in-the-middle attempts.

Nevertheless, Jason decided to actually implement a proof-of-concept (PoC) that uses the X.509 certificate as a C2 channel. Jason’s code is now available on GitHub along with a PCAP file demonstrating this covert C2 channel. Of course I couldn’t resist having a little look at this PCAP file in NetworkMiner.

The first thing I noticed was that the proof-of-concept PCAP ran the SSL session on TCP 4433, which prevented NetworkMiner from parsing the traffic as SSL. However, I was able to parse the SSL traffic with NetworkMiner Professional just fine thanks to the port-independent-protocol-identification feature (a.k.a Dynamic Port Detection), which made the Pro-version parse TCP 4433 as SSL/TLS.

X.509 certificates extracted from PCAP with NetworkMiner
Image: X.509 certificates extracted from PCAP with NetworkMiner

A “normal” x509 certificate size is usually around 1kB, so certificates that are 11kB should be considered as anomalies. Also, opening one of these .cer files reveals an extremely large value in the Subject Key Identifier field.

X.509 certificate with MZ header in the Subject Key Identifier field

Not only is this field very large, it also starts with the familiar “4D 5A” MZ header sequence.

NetworkMiner additionally parses details from the certificates that it extracts from PCAP files, so the Subject Key Identifier field is actually accessible from within NetworkMiner, as shown in the screenshot below.

Parameters tab in NetworkMiner showing X.509 certificate details

You can also see that NetworkMiner validates the certificate using the local trusted root certificates. Not surprisingly, this certificates is not trusted (certificate valid = FALSE). It would be most unlikely that anyone would manage to include arbitrary data like this in a signed certificate.


Extracting the MZ Binary from the Covert X.509 Channel

Even though NetworkMiner excels at pulling out files from PCAPs, this is definitively an occasion where manual handling is required. Jason’s PoC implementation actually uses a whopping 79 individual certificates in order to transfer this Mimikatz binary, which is 785 kB.

Here’s a tshark oneliner you can use to extract the Mimikatz binary from Jason's example PCAP file.

tshark -r mimikatz_sent.pcap -Y 'ssl.handshake.certificate_length gt 2000' -T fields -e x509ce.SubjectKeyIdentifier -d tcp.port==4433,ssl | tr -d ':\n' | xxd -r -p > mimikatz.exe

Detecting x509 Anomalies

Even though covert channels using x509 certificates isn’t a “thing” (yet?) it’s still a good idea to think about how this type of covert signaling can be detected. Just looking for large Subject Key Identifier fields is probably too specific, since there are other fields and extensions in X.509 that could also be used to transmit data. A better approach would be to alert on certificates larger than, let’s say, 3kB. Multiple certificates can also be chained together in a single TLS handshake certificate record, so it would also make sense to look for handshake records larger than 8kB (rough estimate).

Bro IDS logo

This type of anomaly-centric intrusion detection is typically best done using the Bro IDS, which provides easy programmatic access to the X.509 certificate and SSL handshake.

There will be false positives when alerting on large certificates in this manner, which is why I recommend to also check if the certificates have been signed by a trusted root or not. A certificate that is signed by a trusted root is very unlikely to contain malicious data.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 12:13:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #malware #C2 #SSL #TLS #certificate #NetworkMiner #PCAP #X.509 #PIPI #Bro #IDS #tshark

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Recommended Books

» The Practice of Network Security Monitoring, Richard Bejtlich (2013)

» Applied Network Security Monitoring, Chris Sanders and Jason Smith (2013)

» Network Forensics, Sherri Davidoff and Jonathan Ham (2012)

» The Tao of Network Security Monitoring, Richard Bejtlich (2004)

» Practical Packet Analysis, Chris Sanders (2017)

» Windows Forensic Analysis, Harlan Carvey (2009)

» TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, Kevin Fall and Richard Stevens (2011)

» Industrial Network Security, Eric D. Knapp and Joel Langill (2014)