Cloud: building from security

Continuing this series of posts related to the cloud, it’s time to talk about how to face the world of possibilities that the cloud offers. This article aims to shed some light on such a huge task and to show different aspects to be taken into account. It is an interesting path, with multiple options, which can bring enormous value both to the business and to our quality of life, as long as it is approached from an objective, realistic and critical point of view. We should not be reticent to change, but neither should we apply change for change’s sake.

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es image-35.png

Leaving philosophical mantras aside, saying that the cloud is the panacea makes as little sense as saying that the cloud does not bring value to the business.

As always, and sorry for the insistence, it will depend on each organization and its needs. What is fundamental, within the analysis of the business case and in calculating the return on investment of the implementation of these new technological paradigms, is that the consequences, needs and capabilities of security are considered. Both in the process of migration to the cloud, as well as in the face of any technological change.

Having said this, and getting to the point, there is no doubt that migrating to the cloud has a significant cost. Whether this cost is greater or lesser will depend on how you compare, but it can be said that it is not a “cheap” decision. If we do the simple exercise of comparing a physical server to a cloud server, the difference is fairly clear. However, putting everything into context, and above all, emphasizing security, there are many other costs to be assessed.

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Threat hunting: hunting without leaving home (II)

The data

In the last post we set a platform to store the data. Now we need to feed it with some data. One way would be to install Windows virtual machines, Winlogbeat and Sysmon, but we will do that later. Now I want to talk about Mordor.


This project, also maintained by Roberto Rodríguez and José Luis Rodríguez, is a repository of pre-recorded events while offensive techniques were executed on laboratory machines.

As expected, this project integrates perfectly with HELK and provides us with very interesting data to start hunting our threats. So, let’s go.

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What happened, Tiki-Wiki? XSS vulnerabilities, no thanks

Today’s post is a collaboration sent by the team of CSIRT-CV, the ICT Security Center of the Valencian Community, in relation to the detection of a vulnerability in the CMS Tiki-Wiki during last December.

A few months ago, in December 2019, the CSIRT-CV team discovered a vulnerability in the CMS Tiki-Wiki, a WordPress, Joomla or Drupal style content management system.

This vulnerability was published months later, in April 2020, with the code CVE-2020-8966, as can be seen on our alerts page, giving developers enough time to correct the problem detected in the application. All of this was channeled through INCIBE-CERT, which mediated with the developer company. Once corrected and published, and after the problems derived from the Covid-19, we have taken some time to go through its details.

During an penetration test carried out on an internal website using this CMS, several Reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities were detected on version 18.3, even though its exploitation was still effective on the last available version, v.20.0 at that time.

The XSS vulnerability allows code to be injected into a data entry field on a website: a search engine, a forum discussion field or a data collection form. The intention is to execute the injected code in the victim’s browser after they access the resource. This vulnerability can be persistent, when the injected code is stored on the site and executed in the browser of each user accessing the page, or reflected, when it is not stored but is embedded within the URL, and is sent to the victim to click on, such as an email, a social network link, etc.

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Threat hunting: hunting without leaving home (I)

Many times, talking to friends who work in other professions, I tell them how lucky we are, those of us who work in the IT industry. We, unlike 99% of the occupations, can create realistic environments for testing, learning, practicing… and when we are done with those environments we can destroy them and the expense of material will have been zero. How lucky we are!

Those of us who are passionate about computer security are even luckier; since its inception the cybersecurity community has been characterized by its defense of information freedom, free software and collective learning, which has made us the best time in history to learn about cybersecurity.

In this case, I want to make a guide to be able to build a Threat Hunting lab from home and at zero cost (not counting the investment of our computer).

Before we get started, let’s make a brief introduction about Threat Hunting, as it is important to settle the foundations of our laboratory.

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Cloud meets business continuity

Following the introductory cloud post a few days ago, and to avoid losing momentum, we are going to keep talking about the cloud, in an area where it seems particularly useful: business continuity. Along with other measures, it is clear that the existence of globally distributed datacenters (did someone say GDPR?), flexible system scaling and almost instantaneous deployment make a cloud infrastructure (on equal terms) more resilient to outages than an on-premise infrastructure. Of course, availability is not the only factor to consider, but we’ll talk about that another day.

However, to speak of the benefits of the cloud, the providers do themselves a pretty good job. What I want to talk about is some of the issues that must be considered before migrating an infrastructure to the cloud (although some of these points are also applicable to PaaS and SaaS). That is: the problems.

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There’s no cloud, it’s just…

By now, everyone knows what the cloud is. Many of our readers probably have hosted services in the cloud or projects underway to migrate to it. That is because, while it has changed significantly since Salesforce started with its SaaS in 1999, it’s a model that, as we know it today, has been around for well over a decade.

It is true that the number of players has grown significantly, processes have been consolidated and the number of services has increased (and continues to do so), and new standards, organizations and certifications have appeared (and continue to do so) linked to this new paradigm, but with more or less detail, we are now understanding what this “cloud” thing is all about.

And perhaps the problem is that “we are now understanding” or “with more or less detail”, because it is clear that, always generalizing, there is still a long way to go in the adoption and integration of purely cloud practices, and of course, in the implementation of the secure cloud. And that is precisely the idea of this series: to start from that “more or less detail” to gradually increase the degree of depth.

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Supplier Management. Between Deming’s principles and those of the European Union

Undoubtedly, all of you will know the famous American statistician William Edwards Deming, a strong advocate of the need to transform American industry in the last third of the 20th century and who, at the same time, would develop a prosperous and relevant professional career during the reconstruction of post-WWII Japan.

In all likelihood, most of you will be familiar with Deming’s “14 Principles of Total Quality,” the fourth principle of which states that:

Don’t award business based on price; minimize total cost by having single suppliers on long-term relationships of loyalty and trust

In other words, something like: “end the practice of doing business based on price; instead, minimize total cost through a few suppliers based on long-term relationships built on loyalty and trust.”

Naturally, a principle is a fundamental idea that should govern a thought or behavior … which does not mean that it is possible to put it into practice at all times and under all circumstances!

Source: Melián Abogados

Evading web blockages by using a web server on port-forwarder GO

After his last dispute (, Pepote decided to rehire Pepito, who at heart  was a good worker. But before that, Pepote took a couple of precautions, such as blocking web pages with “hacking” content that could make it easier for Pepito to perform improper actions.

Pepito accepted, but still holds a grudge from the time he was in prison, so on his first day on the job he is already trying to find ways to carry out malicious actions against his boss. (Already from here it smells like a promising and cordial working relationship, but that’s for another day).

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Business Continuity Plan: before and after COVID-19

The current pandemic situation caused by the infamous COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) is impacting all areas of society: the first and most important, that of public health and the individual’s inherent primary survival instinct. Probably, the second concern is the economic impact that, as a worker or as an entrepreneur, the epidemic is causing in the operations and forecasts of companies and corporations of any sector and nature.

But the world does not stop … and organizations cannot afford to stop their business operations either!

Ilustración 1: Fuente Ejército de Tierra

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China: From culture to conflict in the cyberspace

Since in 2013 the US cybersecurity consultancy Mandiant published its famous report about APT1, showing its links with different agencies presumably associated with the Chinese government, the news about its actions in cyberspace has been significantly increased.

Among others, we find APT15, APT27 or Winnti Group (APT41); the US DoJ’s allegations of cyber espionage towards five Chinese military members associated with the APT1 group; the links that the FBI has established between Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong and APT10; or the alleged link of PLA unit 61398 (People’s Liberations Army) with APT1.

With the permission of Russia and its popular operation against the DNC, China has become the main actor in cyberspace, developing an uncountable number of operations against all kind of sectors as: IT, military or naval industries and different governmental organizations. Sometimes using more sophisticated malware, and sometimes less, but more and more with its own seal linked to its extensive tradition.

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