Back to Basics Series: OpenIOC

Over the next few months, a few of my colleagues and I will be touching on various topics related to Mandiant and computer security. As part of this series, we are going to be talking about OpenIOC - how we got where we are today, how to make and use IOCs, and the future of OpenIOC. This topic can't be rolled into a single blog post, so we have developed a brief syllabus to outline the topics that we will be covering in the near future.

The History of OpenIOC

In this post we're going to focus on the past state of threat intelligence sharing and how it has evolved up to this point in the industry. We'll specifically focus on how we implemented OpenIOC at Mandiant as a way to codify threat intelligence.

Back to the Basics

What are indicators of compromise? What is an OpenIOC? What goes into an IOC? How do you read these things? What can you include in them? We will address all of these questions and more.

Investigating with Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

In this post, we will model an actual incident response and walk through the creation of IOCs to detect malware (and attacker activity) related to the incident presented. Multiple blog posts and IOCs will come out of this exercise.

IOCs at Scale

So far, we will have touched on using Redline™ to deploy OpenIOC when investigating a single host. To deploy IOCs across an enterprise, we use Mandiant for Intelligent Response® (MIR®). Briefly, we will show how we can use MIR to deploy the IOCs built in the previous exercise across an enterprise scenario, expediting the incident response process.

The Future of OpenIOC

What is next? OpenIOC was open sourced in the fall of 2011, and it is time for an upgrade! With the soft-launch of the draft OpenIOC 1.1 spec at Black Hat USA, we've since released a draft of the OpenIOC 1.1 schema. We'll discuss what we changed and why, as well as some of the exciting possibilities that this update makes possible.

Integrating OpenIOC 1.1 into tools

With the release of the OpenIOC 1.1 draft, we also released a tool, ioc writer, which can be used to create or modify OpenIOC 1.1 IOCs. We will detail the capabilities of this library and how you could use it to add OpenIOC support to your own applications. We will also discuss the potential for using parameters to further define application behavior that is not built into the OpenIOC schema itself.

We have several goals for this series:

  • Introduce OpenIOC for people that are not already familiar with OpenIOC
  • Show how you can use OpenIOC to record artifacts identified during an investigation
  • Show how OpenIOC can be deployed to investigate a single host - or a whole enterprise
  • Discuss the future of OpenIOC & the upcoming specification, OpenIOC 1.1
  • Show how OpenIOC 1.1 support can be added to tools, and future capabilities of the standard

Stay tuned for our next post in the series!