Black Hat Europe 2022 NOC: When planning meets execution


On this weblog in regards to the design, deployment and automation of the Black Hat community, now we have the next sections:

  • Designing the Black Hat Community, by Evan Basta
  • AP Placement Planning, by Sandro Fasser
  • Wi-Fi Air Marshal, by Jérémy Couture, Head of SOC, Paris 2024 Olympic Video games
  • Meraki Dashboards, by Rossi Rosario Burgos
  • Meraki Techniques Supervisor, by Paul Fidler
  • A Higher Strategy to Design Coaching SSIDs/VLANs, by Paul Fidler

Cisco is honored to be a Premium Companion of the Black Hat NOC, and is the Official Community Platform, Cellular Machine Administration, Malware Evaluation and DNS (Area Identify Service) Supplier of Black Hat.

2022 was Cisco’s sixth 12 months as a NOC accomplice for Black Hat Europe. Nevertheless, it was our first time constructing the community for Black Hat Europe. We used experiences of Black Hat Asia 2022 and Black Hat USA 2022 to refine the planning for community topology design and tools. Under are our fellow NOC companions offering {hardware}, to construct and safe the community, for our joint buyer: Black Hat.

Designing the Black Hat Community, by Evan Basta

We’re grateful to share that Black Hat Europe 2022 was the smoothest expertise we’ve had within the years at Black Hat. That is due to the 15 Cisco Meraki and Cisco Safe engineers on web site (plus just about supporting engineers) to construct, function and safe the community; and nice NOC management and collaborative companions.

To plan, configure, deploy (in two days), keep resilience, and get well (in 4 hours) an enterprise class community, took loads of coordination. We recognize the Black Hat NOC management, Informa and the NOC companions; assembly every week to debate the very best design, staffing, gear choice and deployment, to fulfill the distinctive wants of the convention. Take a look at the “Meraki Unboxed” podcast – Episode 94: Learnings from the Black Hat Europe 2022 Cybersecurity Occasion

We should permit actual malware on the Black Hat community: for coaching, demonstrations, and briefing periods; whereas defending the attendees from assault inside the community from their fellow attendees, and forestall unhealthy actors from utilizing the community to assault the Web. It’s a crucial steadiness to make sure everybody has a secure expertise, whereas nonetheless having the ability to be taught from actual world malware, vulnerabilities, and malicious web sites.

Along with the weekly conferences with Black Hat and the opposite companions, the Cisco Meraki engineering staff of Sandro Fasser, Rossi Rosario Burgos, Otis Ioannou, Asmae Boutkhil, Jeffry Handal and I met each Friday for 2 months. We additionally mentioned the challenges in a Webex house with different engineers who labored on previous Black Hat occasions.

The mission:

Division of labor is important to cut back errors and keep laser targeted on safety scope. Otis took the lead engaged on community topology design with Companions. Asmae dealt with the port assignments for the switches. Rossi ensured each AP and Change was tracked, and the MAC addresses had been offered to Palo Alto Networks for DCHP assignments. Otis and Rossi spent two days within the server room with the NOC companions, making certain each swap was working and configured appropriately. Rossi additionally deployed and configured a distant Registration swap for Black Hat.

AP Placement Planning, by Sandro Fasser

Within the weeks earlier than deployment, our digital Meraki staff member, Aleksandar Dimitrov Vladimirov, and I targeted on planning and making a digital Wi-Fi web site survey. A number of necessities and restrictions needed to be considered. The report was based mostly on the ExCel centre ground plans, the house allocation necessities from Black Hat and the variety of APs we had obtainable to us. Though difficult to create, with some uncertainties and sometimes altering necessities because of the variety of stakeholders concerned, the surveys AP placement for finest protection ended up being pivotal on the occasion.

Under is the Sign Power plan for the Expo Corridor Ground on the 5 GHz band. The unique plan to go together with a dual-Band deployment was adjusted onsite and the two.4 GHz band was disabled to reinforce efficiency and throughput. This was a choice made in the course of the community setup, in coordination with the NOC Management and based mostly on expertise from previous conferences.

Upon arrival on the ExCel Centre, we performed a walkthrough of the house that the majority of us had solely seen as a ground plan and on some photographs. Due to good planning, we may begin deploying the 100+ APs instantly, with solely a small variety of adjustments to optimize the deployment on-site. Because the APs had been pre-staged and added to the Meraki dashboard, together with their location on the ground maps, the principle work was putting and cabling them bodily. Throughout operation, the ground plans within the Meraki Dashboard had been a visible assist to simply spot an issue and navigate the staff on the bottom to the correct spot, if one thing needed to be adjusted.

Because the sponsors and attendees stuffed every house, within the Meraki dashboard, we had been in a position to see in real-time the variety of shoppers related to every AP, presently and over the time of the convention. This enabled fast response if challenges had been recognized, or APs may very well be redeployed to different zones. Under is the ExCel Centre Capital Corridor and London Suites, Degree 0. We may swap between the 4 ranges with a single click on on the Ground Plans, and drill into any AP, as wanted.

The Location heatmaps additionally offered important visibility into convention visitors, each on the community and footfalls of attendees. Bodily safety can also be an vital facet of cybersecurity; we have to understand how gadgets transfer in house, know the place priceless belongings are positioned and monitor their security.

Under is the Enterprise Corridor at lunchtime, on the opening day of the convention. You’ll be able to see no dwell APs within the backside proper nook of the Location heatmap. That is an instance of adapting the plan to actuality onsite. In previous Black Hat Europe conferences, the Foyer in that space was the principle entrance. Building in 2022 closed this entrance. So, these APs had been reallocated to the Degree 1 Foyer, the place attendees would naturally move from Registration.

The ground plans and heatmaps additionally helped with the Coaching, Briefings and Keynote community resilience. Capability was straightforward so as to add briefly, and we had been in a position to take away it and relocate it after an area emptied.

Meraki API Integration for computerized system blocking

Throughout our time within the NOC, we had the prospect to work with different vendor engineers and a few use circumstances that got here up led to fascinating collaborations. One particular use case was that we needed to dam wi-fi shoppers, that present some malicious or unhealthy conduct, robotically after they’ve been recognized by one of many SOC analysts on the totally different safety platforms, as well as we needed to point out them a pleasant warning web page that guides them to the SOC for a pleasant dialog.

The answer was a script that may be triggered via the interfaces of the opposite safety merchandise and attaches a bunch coverage via the Meraki Dashboard, together with a quarantine VLAN and a splash web page, through the Meraki APIs. This integration was simply one of many many collaboration bits that we labored on.

Wi-Fi Air Marshal, by Jérémy Couture, Head of SOC, Paris 2024 Olympic Video games

Through the first day of coaching, within the Meraki dashboard Air Marshal, I noticed packet flood assaults, towards we had been in a position to adapt and stay resilient.

I additionally noticed an AP spoofing and broadcast de-authentication assault. I used to be in a position to rapidly determine the situation of the assault, which was on the Foyer outdoors the Enterprise Corridor.  Ought to the assaults proceed, bodily safety had the data to intervene. We additionally had the power to trace the MAC tackle all through the venue, as mentioned in Christian Clasen’s part partially two.

From our experiences at Black Hat USA 2022, we had encrypted frames enabled, blunting the assault.

Meraki Dashboards, by Rossi Rosario Burgos

The Meraki dashboards made it very straightforward to observe the well being of the community APs and Switches, with the power to mixture knowledge, and rapidly pivot into any swap, AP or shoppers.

By way of the phases of the convention, from two days of pre-conference setup, to targeted and intense coaching the primary two days, and transition to the briefings and Enterprise Corridor, we had been in a position to visualize the community visitors.

As well as, we may see the variety of attendees who handed by means of the lined space of the convention, with or with out connecting to the community. Christian Clasen takes this obtainable knowledge to a brand new stage in Half 2 of the weblog.

Because the particular person with core tasks for the swap configuration and uptime, the Meraki dashboard made it quite simple to rapidly change the community topology, in line with the wants of the Black Hat buyer.

Meraki Techniques Supervisor, by Paul Fidler

In the event you refer again to Black Hat USA 2022, you’d have seen that we had over 1,000 iOS gadgets to deploy, with which we had a number of difficulties. For context, the corporate that leases the gadgets to Black Hat doesn’t use a Cellular Machine Administration (MDM) platform for any of their different exhibits…Black Hat is the one one which does. So, as an alternative of utilizing a mass deployment expertise, like Apple’s Automated Machine Enrollment, the iOS gadgets are “ready” utilizing Apple Configurator. This consists of importing a Wi-Fi profile to the gadgets as a part of that course of. In Las Vegas, this Wi-Fi profile wasn’t set to auto be part of the Wi-Fi, leading to the necessity to manually change this on 1,000 gadgets. Moreover, 200 gadgets weren’t reset or ready, so we had these to reimage as properly.

Black Hat Europe 2022 was totally different. We took the teachings from US and coordinated with the contractor to organize the gadgets. Now, when you’ve ever used Apple Configurator, there’s a number of steps wanted to organize a tool. Nevertheless, all of those may be actions may be mixed right into a Blueprint:

As a substitute of there being a number of steps to organize a tool, there may be now only one! Making use of the Blueprint!

For Black Hat Europe, this included:

  • Wi-Fi profile
  • Enrollment, together with supervision
  • Whether or not to permit USB pairing
  • Setup Assistant pane skipping

There’s a lot of different issues that may be achieved as properly, however this leads to the time taken to enroll and arrange a tool to round 30 seconds. Since gadgets may be arrange in parallel (you’re solely restricted by the variety of USB cables / ports you will have), this actually streamlines the enrollment and arrange course of.

Now, for the longer term, while you’ll be able to’t Export these blueprints, they’re transportable. In the event you open Terminal on a Mac and sort:
cd /Customers/<YOUR USER NAME>/Library/Group Containers/ Assist/

You’ll see a file / package deal referred to as one thing.blueprint This may be zipped up and emailed to some else so, they will then use the very same Blueprint! Chances are you’ll must reboot your laptop for the Blueprint to seem in Apple Configurator.

Machine Naming / Lock Display screen Messages

As talked about, the registration / lead seize / session scanning gadgets are offered by the contractor. Clearly, these are all catalogued and have a novel system code / QR code on the again of them. Nevertheless, throughout setup, any system identify provisioned on the system will get misplaced.

So, there’s three issues we do to know, with out having to resort to utilizing the unwieldy serial quantity, what gadgets is what.

  • The very first thing that we do is to make use of the Meraki API to rename Techniques Supervisor Units. The script created has another performance too, resembling error dealing with, however it’s potential to do that with out a script. Yow will discover it right here. This ensures that the system has a reputation: iOS gadgets default to being referred to as iPhone or iPad in Techniques Supervisor once they first enroll, so, already, that is extremely useful.
  • The second factor we do is to make use of a easy Restrictions profile for iOS, which retains the bodily system’s identify in sync with that within the dashboard
  • Lastly, we then use a Lock Display screen payload to format the message on the system when it’s locked:

Within the footnote, you’ll see Machine Identify and Machine Serial in blue. This denotes that the values are literally dynamic and alter per system. They embody:

  • Group identify
  • Community identify
  • Machine identify
  • Machine serial
  • Machine mannequin
  • Machine OS model
  • Machine notes
  • Proprietor identify
  • Proprietor e mail
  • Proprietor username
  • SM system ID

On the Lock Display screen, it’s now potential to see the system’s identify and serial quantity, with out having to flip the system over (An issue for the registration gadgets that are locked in a safe case) or open methods preferences.

We additionally had integration with SecureX system insights, to see the safety standing of every iOS system.

With the power to rapidly examine on system well being from the SecureX dashboard.


Knowledge Safety

This goes with out saying, however the iOS gadgets (Registration, Lead Seize and Session Scanning) do have entry to private info. To make sure the safety of the info, gadgets are wiped on the finish of the convention. That is extremely satisfying, hitting the Erase Units button in Meraki Techniques Supervisor, and watching the 100+ gadgets reset!

A Higher Strategy to Design Coaching SSIDs/VLANs, by Paul Fidler

Deploying a community like Black Hat takes loads of work, and repetitive configuration. A lot of this has been lined in earlier blogs. Nevertheless, to make issues simpler for this occasion, as an alternative of the 60 coaching SSIDs we had in Black Hat US 2022, the Meraki staff mentioned the advantages of shifting to iPSKs with Black Hat NOC Management, which accepted the plan.

For context, as an alternative of getting a single pre shared key for an SSID, iPSK performance means that you can have 1000+. Every of those iPSKs may be assigned its personal group coverage / VLAN. So, we created a script:

  • That consumed networkID, SSID, Coaching identify, iPSK and VLAN from a CSV
  • Created a bunch coverage for that VLAN with the identify of the coaching
  • Created an iPSK for the given SSID that referred to the coaching identify

This solely entails 5 API calls:

  • For a given community identify, get the community ID
  • Get Group Insurance policies
  • If the group coverage exists, use that, else create a bunch coverage, retaining the group coverage ID
  • Get the SSIDs (to get the ID of the SSID)
  • Create an iPSK for the given SSID ID

The majority of the script is error dealing with (The SSID or community doesn’t exist, for instance) and logic!

The end result was one SSID for all of coaching: BHTraining, and every classroom had their very own password. This diminished the coaching SSIDs from over a dozen and helped clear the airwaves.


Thanks to the Cisco NOC staff:

  • Meraki Community: Evan Basta, Sandro Fasser, Rossi Rosario Burgos, Otis Ioannou, Asmae Boutkhil, Jeffry Handal and Aleksandar Dimitrov Vladimirov
  • Meraki Techniques Supervisor: Paul Fidler
  • Cisco Safe: Ian Redden, Christian Clasen, Aditya Sankar, Ryan MacLennan, Guillaume Buisson, Jerome Schneider, Robert Taylor, Piotr Jarzynka, Tim Wadhwa-Brown and Matthieu Sprunck
  • Menace Hunter / Paris 2024 Olympics SOC: Jérémy Couture

Additionally, to our NOC companions NetWitness (particularly David Glover, Iain Davidson, Alessandro Contini and Alessandro Zatti), Palo Alto Networks (particularly James Holland, Matt Ford, Matt Smith and Mathew Chase), Gigamon, IronNet, and the complete Black Hat / Informa Tech employees (particularly Grifter ‘Neil Wyler’, Bart Stump, Steve Fink, James Pope, Jess Stafford and Steve Oldenbourg).

About Black Hat

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