Investigating network security breach may seem to be a daunting task to someone who has no experience of security breach investigation. Like any other IT disciple you can handle and investigate network security breach better if you have are well-equipped with the necessary tools and techniques used by the professionals. No matter if you are a network engineer or a system administrator or even an auditor, you may confront situation in the future when you may be given a task to investigate security related breaches in your organization.
What you need to do when you learn about your network breach?
At first, do not panic. Almost all of mid-size to large businesses are being breached. So, you need to accept the fact that even if you have implemented the best cyber breach detection system in the world, you are still vulnerable to the cyber criminals. Store the network packets to safe location and investigation. You need to have proper strategies for storing network packets. Finally, you need to analyzed and look for breach signatures in the network packets.
What do we mean by effective breach investigation?
This means your investigation lead to the evidence that is necessary to establish reliable evidence to the source of the breaches.
How easily can you find a needle in haystacks?
It depends on how big the piles of haystacks are. But if you know or can identify a particular location where the possibility of finding the needle is highest, you may be able to find out without putting much effort.
According to the breach investigators, almost, no investigation runs perfectly. The following are reasons for this:
- Security staffs are not trained to handle breaches. Although the majority of the security staff recruited have recognized security certification such as CISSP, but only a handful of them capable of real life experience of handling breaches.
- Security team does not have enough staff that has proper knowledge of all the technology used in the organization’s IT infrastructure and services.
- Fail to perform data packet analysis in the network
- Not looking at the right packet for forensic evidence.
What can be done?
- Train your security staff for breach handling.
- Do incident or breach response rehearsal based on different scenarios on regularly, at least twice in a year.
- Allocate more budgets for incident response and breach detection system.
- Regularly communicate with your staff letting them know that breach happens and it is better to stay prepare rather than panicking when the actually the breach happens.
- Prepare your every employee, not only the IT or security staff, to focus on the right response and their responsibilities when breach happens.
- Have representations from all departments in your IR team.
- Make sure you have someone in the team to perform network forensic analysis and the ability to store the packets containing evidence of breach.
- Though we humans are good at correlating events over short period of time, our ability to correlate the events over long period of time is poor. Therefore, store some useful packets every week or month so that you can correlate it with the data captured when breach occurs.
- Have a clear concept of which packets to store from where. Develop a packet storage strategy, which may include packets from which IP to store and which types of packet to be stored (email, ICMP, messaging, FTP etc.)