Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

The Impact of the Cloud on Digital Forensics - Part 2

Looking at potential tools that can contribute to the cloud security perimeter

As mentioned in  Part 1 of this article, one of my functions is to research current and up and coming solutions within the technology realm, particularly that of distributed computing and cloud computing.

It is a strong possibility that malicious users will eventually identify and exploit potential flaws within the cloud computing model. CSPs, in their pursuit to secure market share may have underestimated the possibilities of attack and misuse of their cloud resources by a malicious user or users.

The likelihood that the creation, storage, processing and distribution of illicit material will present major legal issues, is also a grave reality [4]

Digital Forensic Examiners also know that any effective forensic system has to have an effective means of monitoring and collecting a wide range of data as; there is no directive which states what may be pertinent to any one case a priori.

With regard to possibility of insider attacks, collecting data at the entry points of a network will not contribute to tracing insider attacks.

When our admin director signed me up to attend the webinar, The Case for Network Forensics - from Solera Networks a few weeks ago; to be honest I thought that it would be a variation of some tools already in use by another start-up.

The synopsis of this webinar had me recall a paper I read a while ago by a Gartner consultant [5] which stated, "Cloud services are especially difficult to investigate, because logging and data for multiple customers may be co-located and may also be spread across an ever-changing set of hosts and data centres," then, I figured it was only a matter of time before a start-up proved this statement wrong.

Enter Solera's discussion on network forensics. One takeaway was that the core nature of this product is that it is like a Security camera - and it records everything.

Ok I thought, digital forensics examiners typically have vast amounts of data to sift through in a traditional system anyway; how will this company's tools expedite the sorting and analysis to output what we need that is specific to an investigation within the cloud; which will be accepted in a court of law?

Also digital evidence by itself can be extremely fragile, in that it can be altered, damaged, or destroyed by improper handling or examination. As forensic examiners we know how critical it is to ensure that precautions are taken to document, collect, preserve and examine evidence. As you know any failure in this process can render a case inadmissible in court.

I took my questions to Peter Schlampp VP Marketing and Product Management and Alan Hall Director Marketing [6] from Solera, who provided insight as follows.

Within the cloud Solera's tools does not use a typical custom silicate, but rather will see packets as they are seeing it as if on a traditional system NIC.  Integrated into a cloud service providers environments this system claims to ensure that the customer are the only one seeing aspects of their data and no one else.

Of course I wondered about the VM managers at the cloud service provider (CSP) who manages the VMs at this point, as they can see customers' data.

The response, I received was as follows: Data tracks on the customer view, will be that of who interacted with their system in the cloud and what types of connections came in to the system hosted in the cloud. In other words it records traffic between virtual host on a physical host.

The system also has an integration with Sourcefire's defense center, although I haven't conducted a PEN-TEST in over a year, I still keep updated on current processes and technologies within the IT Security - Pen-Testing world; knowing that SNORT is utilized, was an immediate plus for me.

In the event of an incident, an investigator can drill down to event level which shows the frame of traffic; an alert from a Sourcefire event will then go directly to a Solera networks device.

Data provided from this can provide answers to: How did the connection get initiated? How do you know what happened afterwards? And for a host that was compromised one can potentially follow paths.

Despite this I still express some concerns with regard to levels of assurance for data held within the cloud amongst others. In order to get objective feedback, I approached one of my mentors Mark Pollitt for his sage input. Although he expressed his concern regarding the Solera's pitch of "network forensics for amateurs," he did state that "anything that will make analysis easier and capable of being done (even just as triage) by less skilled operators is very useful."

Whilst not an endorsement, it put my mind at ease in the sense that: the company had a vision which was on track with regard to a direction for virtualization, the cloud and forensic examination.

As a technologist there is nothing like more data and case study results to satisfy my reserve, so I presented these concerns to Schlampp and Hall, who responded with food for thought as follows:

Advanced Solera Networks network forensics technology now gives the ability to make data more understandable to a common individual. Packet detail is now rendered as web pages, emails, IMs, MS Office docs, etc. That means we can utilize support staff that can interpret this "human visible" or "human readable" data and clearly understand that the data obviously contain information we don't want leaked from our organization. With the advances Solera Networks makes, users have more front line incident response personnel that can determine if the appropriate triage requires escalation to those limited personnel that possess the in-depth skills. Those skills, combined with a complete forensics record from Solera Networks appliances, can uncover exactly what happened and more importantly, help determine the proper course of action and do so quickly to close the gap in response time between incident and remediation.

In a perfect world, effective network forensics requires the ability to "capture it all, all of the time." When we don't know what we don't know, capturing it all is the only way to ensure we have the complete data to interrogate and create the accurate story of what happened. However, what we end up with in practical use is usually something short of "everything."

We have to factor in things like amount of storage at our disposal, how fast our networks are running, what data or systems we have determined as most valuable in our organization, data protection regulations, etc. Accounting for these and other factors, Solera Networks has real-time network forensics technology that lets you make choices on what to capture - all data on every segment; selective segments of data based on port, specific applications, protocols, IP addresses, etc.; or, even get as granular as analyzing every packet for specific information like a hex pattern and only retaining those packets.

Selective capture requires a trade-off between creating more manageable "haystacks of data" and "missing the needle" altogether because it is in a different haystack of data that we didn't have the foresight to capture. Because of Solera Networks approach network forensics technology has evolved to the point where we can stick with one haystack and have the tools to find the exact needle in near real-time.

With any new product only time can tell the benefits it will provide. With regard to digital forensics and the drive to adopt cloud computing systems, any tool that will improve results, reduce false positives and give an investigator data that is relevant, factual and which can be presented and accepted in a court of law will be valued. I believe that these tools combined with a system such as that of ForNet [7] could chart a part for forensics investigations within the cloud ecosystem.

Accordingly ForNet :"helps with the postmortem of any security incident including insider attacks. It can also store potential evidence for months, which is much longer than any existing solution. With an integration of its XML based query routing protocols, coalescing of synopses, and a user interface, an analyst can locate evidence relating to an incident efficiently and transparently."

References

1.Politt MM. Six blind men from Indostan. Digital forensics research workshop (DFRWS); 2004.

2.Digital Forensics:Defining a Research Agenda -Nance,Hay Bishop 2009;978-0-7695-3450-3/09 IEEE

4. Cloud Computing Storms: Biggs, Vidalis; IJICR Vol 1, Issue 1, March 2010

5. GARTNER. 2008. Tough questions: Gartner tallies up seven cloud-computing security risks.

6.Peter Schlampp VP Marketing and Product Management,Alan Hall Director Marketing - Solera Networks

7.ForNet: A Distributed Forensic Network, Kulesh Shanmugasundaram - Project ForNet NYU Polytechnic University.

More Stories By Jon Shende

Jon RG Shende is an executive with over 18 years of industry experience. He commenced his career, in the medical arena, then moved into the Oil and Gas environment where he was introduced to SCADA and network technologies,also becoming certified in Industrial Pump and Valve repairs. Jon gained global experience over his career working within several verticals to include pharma, medical sales and marketing services as well as within the technology services environment, eventually becoming the youngest VP of an international enterprise. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford, holds a Masters certificate in Business Administration, as well as an MSc in IT Security, specializing in Computer Crime and Forensics with a thesis on security in the Cloud. Jon, well versed with the technology startup and mid sized venture ecosystems, has contributed at the C and Senior Director level for former clients. As an IT Security Executive, Jon has experience with Virtualization,Strategy, Governance,Risk Management, Continuity and Compliance. He was an early adopter of web-services, web-based tools and successfully beta tested a remote assistance and support software for a major telecom. Within the realm of sales, marketing and business development, Jon earned commendations for turnaround strategies within the services and pharma industry. For one pharma contract he was responsibe for bringing low performing districts up to number 1 rankings for consecutive quarters; as well as outperforming quotas from 125% up to 314%. Part of this was achieved by working closely with sales and marketing teams to ensure message and product placement were on point. Professionally he is a Fellow of the BCS Chartered Institute for IT, an HITRUST Certified CSF Practitioner and holds the CITP and CRISC certifications.Jon Shende currently works as a Senior Director for a CSP. A recognised thought Leader, Jon has been invited to speak for the SANs Institute, has spoken at Cloud Expo in New York as well as sat on a panel at Cloud Expo Santa Clara, and has been an Ernst and Young CPE conference speaker. His personal blog is located at http://jonshende.blogspot.com/view/magazine "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...