BSidesLV 2016 – Pros Versus Joes

I participated in the Pros V Joes CTF competition at BSides Las Vegas this year. It was intense.

The setup on day one is that you are a member of a blue team entering a compromised environment. You have multiple tasks: respond to service requests, maintain uptime for a couple services such as WordPress and ftp, find artifacts left behind by the attackers, and repel new attacks. The attackers don’t attack for the first two hours.

The environment was very well designed. We had vSphere to see most systems. There was a nice mix of Windows end point and server versions, a few Linux systems, an Asterisk PBX, and a pfSense firewall. I’m happy it was a pfSense firewall. I’m told they used Cisco ASA in previous years. The ASA is extremely rough to manage, I’d prefer to never see one again.

We started by doing network discovery, patching, and checking configurations. We also started responding to customer requests via calls, tickets, and emails. The tickets were all pretty basic and represented real world requests in this situation. Through network discovery, we found a few systems the customer neglected to mention to us.

Our failing was our lack of experience with Asterisk. We focused on other systems as we knew those systems. The red team immediately hit it when they were able to attack and took it down. While the phone wasn’t under SLA, we couldn’t receive tickets via phone and started receiving email tickets asking us to fix the phone system.

Day two was a repeat of the day one environment with some minor changes. A member of the read team would join us and we would be battling the other blue teams. We could start attacking each other immediately. Given the results of day one, the PBX was the main target. Everyone’s PBX immediately went down. I’d suggested a strategy of immediately blocking the Internet from our environment and taking the SLA hit while we patched. We decided against the strategy, hoping we could remediate fast enough.

Would I participate again: Yes!