Research and Development


Here at Portcullis, we are frequently involved in “red team” exercises, which means we subject an organisation’s information security systems to rigorous testing and analysis. The opposite of a red team is a “blue team”. A blue team attempts to identify and stop the red team from compromising systems. One of the techniques used when red teaming is to write malicious code to test the security systems of our clients. One of the issues we face resides in the fact that we need to bypass sandbox systems that analyse our files in real-time to identify if the potentially malicious file should be blocked and Indicators Of Compromise (IOCs) generated or if the files are benign and safe. At the same time, blue teams that catch our files will try to reverse engineer them in order to understand how we may be compromising systems. Even though the last point is not really relevant for us (ultimately we’re not the bad guys), the first point is. Continue reading

Recently, Kaspersky published a research about how a russian APT group use hijacked satellite links to anonymise their malware command-and-control (C&C) servers (Satellite Turla: APT Command and Control in the Sky). As they say in their blog post, I researched and published how to abuse satellite DVB-S/2 internet communications, the technique used during the Epic Turla operation. Continue reading

When attempting to gain a foothold into a Windows Domain, an attacker will often attempt one or two likely passwords against every user in the Active Directory, a so-called horizontal password guessing attack. A small number of failed logons per user will usually not trigger a user account lockout policy and can be very effective. This post will provide an example solution to detecting such attacks in near real time, using only native Windows tools. Continue reading