Introducing AWS Mirror Toolkit

3CS AWS Mirror Toolkit Mascot

Providing traffic analyses in AWS environments is at the core of what we do. Up until recently, the options available to develop these platforms with cloud providers didn't allow us to develop these programs in a truly secure and redundant fashion. 

The limitations that made us feel uncomfortable with these type of deployments were all addressed, however, with the release of AWS Traffic Mirror Sessions. This release, even though it provided us with new opportunities, also had a few challenges for medium to big size deployments.

AWS's Traffic Mirror Sessions were presented at re:Inforce 2019 (keynote recording) and we immediately started using it to replace our legacy approach. What we found was that, even though a great feature, its deployment and usage in large scale environments would lead to quite intensive maintenance and overhead. It would also leave teams with the responsibility of additional configurations, something we spend quite a substantive amount of time trying to avoid in our managed detection services.

3CS AWS Mirror Toolkit is our answer to those challenges. 

The toolkit, which will continue to grow with additional tools and projects, was developed with a few objectives in mind:
  • Completely automate the creation of sessions/visibility of chosen sources
  • It should be minimal in footprint as well as in IAM permissions
  • Tie in with existing workflows and procedures of clients environments
  • Work regardless of how clients choose to do their deployments (CloudFormation, Terraform, Console, AWS CLI, etc)
    • This would also tie in nicely in organizations that have infrastructure as a code (IaC)
  • It shouldn't cost our clients any money
The result of these requirements for one particular project, 3CS AutoMirror, was an AWS Lambda function that acts based on the AWS EC2 instance state. After testing it for a few weeks, we learned we needed another selection/interaction mechanism, as simply having it run on all matching instance states didn't really provide us with what we needed. 

That lead us to a tag-based control of the toolkit. Tags are, after all, something that should be part of everyone's AWS workflow. With this option, we gave our clients full control over what traffic they get to see with something as simple as a Mirror=True.

For our compliance project, 3CS AWS Config MirrorSession, the methodology didn't differ much, even though there are some limitations in AWS Config that make this type of development a bit more tricky. Our goal for this project was to provide our clients with the capability of quickly addressing the state of their Network Security Monitoring program, and do this in a way that would tie in well with AutoMirror usage. We feel we accomplished that.

3CS AWS Mirror Toolkit was released at Suricon 2019, the yearly conference of a software project that is very dear and important to all of us here. 

We gave a presentation about Network Security Monitoring in AWS environments titled Suricata & AWS - Pre and Post Session Mirroring. Slides are available at SpeakerDeck and a recording of the talk is available in Vimeo.

Going forward, the toolkit will continue to increase in functionality and incorporate additional projects. We're receiving a lot of good feedback and have a few changes in the pipeline that should result in even better automation and orchestrations.

Stay tuned!

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