Cybersecurity Processes and Technologies

Your Task
You have been assigned to assist with After Action Reporting in support of the Sifers-Grayson Blue Team. Your immediate task is to assist in analyzing and reporting on a Red Team penetration test described later in this document. As part of that report, you will identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities exploited by the attackers (the Red Team), compile a set of lessons learned, and then make recommendations for actions the company should take to close the gaps in their cybersecurity posture (at a minimum, you must address the identified vulnerabilities and weaknesses that were exploited by the Red Team). The Blue Team has provided you with a set of enterprise architecture diagrams (see figures 1-4 in this file) to help with your analysis of the incident and preparation of the summary report. You should also use the readings from Weeks 1-4 to help you identify security gaps and incident response capabilities which the company needs to implement.
Sifers-Grayson is a family owned business headquartered in Grayson County, Kentucky, USA. The company’s physical address is 1555 Pine Knob Trail, Pine Knob, KY 42721. The president of the company is Ira John Sifers, III. He is the great-grandson of one of the company’s founders and is also the head of the engineering department. The chief operating officer is Michael Coles, Jr. who is Ira John’s great nephew. Mary Beth Sifers is the chief financial officer and also serves as the head of personnel for the company.
Recent contracts with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security have imposed additional security requirements upon the company and its R&D DevOps and SCADA labs operations. The company is now required to comply with NIST Special Publication 800-171 Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations. The company must also comply with provisions of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFARS) including section 252-204-7012 Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting. These requirements are designed to ensure that sensitive technical information, provided by the federal government and stored on computer systems in the Sifers-Grayson R&D DevOps and SCADA labs, is protected from unauthorized disclosure. This information includes software designs and source code. The contract requirements also mandate that Sifers-Grayson report cyber incidents to the federal government in a timely manner.
The company has agreed to allow an external Red Team to conduct penetration testing of its operations to help ensure that it is able to meet the government’s requirements for cybersecurity and the protection of government owned sensitive but unclassified information. The company has also assigned personnel to conduct After Action Reviews of the penetration testing.
Company Operations
Engineering Department
The Engineering Department is housed in the company’s R&D center with a satellite facility at the test range. The desktop and laptop computers are a mixed bag of hardware (multiple manufacturers) running Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and variants of Apple’s OSX and iOS. The support for these computers and the internal networks is provided by the junior engineers assigned to one or more of the department’s development teams. The Engineering Department’s philosophy is that all of the company’s engineers should be trained and capable of providing support for any and all hardware, software, and networks used by the department. This training is provided through on-the-job experiences and mentoring by more senior engineers. When a problem arises, the department head or one of the lab supervisors assigns an engineer to find and fix the problem.
Engineering Department: SCADA Lab
The SCADA lab was originally setup in 1974. It has been upgraded and rehabbed several times since then. The most recent hardware and software upgrades were completed three years ago after the lab was hit with a ransomware attack that exploited several Windows XP vulnerabilities. At that time, the engineering and design workstations were upgraded to Windows 8.1 professional. A second successful ransomware attack occurred three months ago. The company paid the ransom in both cases because the lab did not have file backups that it could use to recover the damaged files (in the first case) and did not have system backups that it could use to rebuild the system hard drives (in the second case).
The SCADA Lab is locked into using Windows 8.1. The planned transition to Windows 10 is on indefinite hold due to technical problems encountered during previous attempts to modify required software applications to work under the new version of the operating system. This means that an incident response and recovery capability for the lab must support the Windows 8.1 operating system and its utilities.
Engineering Department: R&D DevOps Lab
The R&D DevOps Lab was built in 2010 and is used to develop, integrate, test, support, and maintain software and firmware (software embedded in chips) for the company’s robots, drones, and non-SCADA industrial control systems product lines. The workstations in this lab are running Windows 10 and are configured to receive security updates per Microsoft’s monthly schedule.
Data Center & Enterprise IT Operations
The company uses a combination of Windows 10 workstations and laptops as the foundation of its enterprise IT capabilities. The servers in the data center and the engineering R&D center are built upon Windows Server 2012. A firewall was installed to protect the Data Center from network attacks but, as you can see in Figure 2, the placement of the firewall on the corporate network provides no protection for the Data Center. An external attacker could use the network path through the R&D center’s networks to reach the Data Center.
Contractual & Regulatory Requirements

  1. Newly won government contracts now require compliance with DFARS §252.204-7008, 7009, and 7012
  2. Derivative requirements include:
    – Implementation of and compliance with NIST SP 800-171 Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations
    – Compliance with DFARS 252.239-7009 Representation of Use of Cloud Computing and 7010 Cloud Computing Services (see
  3. Additional Contractual Requirements for Lab Operations include:
    – Incident Response per NIST SP-800-61 (Computer Security Incident Handling Guide)
    – SCADA Security per NIST SP 800-82 (Guide to Industrial Control Systems Security)
    – Software / Systems Development Lifecycle (SDLC) Security per NIST SP 800-64 (Security Considerations in the System Development Life Cycle)
    – Configuration Management per NIST SP 800-128 (Guide for Security-Focused Configuration Management of Information Systems)
    Red Team Penetration Testing
    Sifers-Grayson hired a cybersecurity consulting firm to help it meet the security requirements of a contract with a federal agency. The consulting firm’s Red Team conducted a penetration test and was able to gain access to the engineering center’s R&D servers by hacking into the enterprise network through an unprotected network connection (see figure 2). The Red Team proceeded to exfiltrate files from those servers and managed to steal 100% of the design documents and source code for the AX10 Drone System. The Red Team also reported that it had stolen passwords for 20% of the employee logins using keylogging software installed on USB keys that were left on the lunch table in the headquarters building employee lounge (see Figure 3). The Red Team also noted that the Sifers-Grayson employees were quite friendly and talkative as they opened the RFID controlled doors for the “new folks” on the engineering staff (who were actually Red Teamers).
    The Red Team continued its efforts to penetrate the enterprise and used a stolen login to install malware over the network onto a workstation connected to a PROM burner in the R&D DevOps lab (See Figure 3). This malware made its way onto a PROM that was then installed in an AX10-a test vehicle undergoing flight trials at the Sifers-Grayson test range (See Figures 1 and 4). The malware “phoned home” to the Red Team over a cellular connection to the R&D center. The Red Team took control of the test vehicle and flew it from the test range to a safe landing in the parking lot at Sifers-Grayson headquarters.
    The Red Team used three stolen logins to send Phishing Emails to employees. These phishing emails appeared to come from coworkers (employees of the company) and contained a link to one of three videos. Each video was linked to a server that tracked the email address and IP address of the computer used to access the video. The Red Team reported that over 80% of the recipients clicked on the video link for cute kittens or cute cats. Twenty percent (20%) of the recipients clicked on the video link for a business news story. A video link to a sports event wrap-up for the Kentucky Volunteers basketball team had over 95% click-through rate. All three videos displayed a “Page Not Found (404 Error)” message from the target server. The Red Team did not put a tracking beacon in the emails to track forwarding of the phishing emails. But, the team reported that the target server collected email addresses and IP addresses for over 1500 external recipients within 24 hours of the original mailing; at that point, the target server was shutdown.
    After completing their penetration tests, the Red Team provided Sifers-Grayson executives with a diagram showing their analysis of the threat environment and potential weaknesses in the company’s security posture for the R&D DevOps Lab (see figure 5).
    Incident Response During the Penetration Test
    Sifers-Grayson has limited Incident Handling and Response capabilities in place. The company’s Chief Operating Officer has a small IT team (team lead and two support specialists) that focuses primarily on the IT needs of headquarters personnel. Their duties include staffing the help desk phone line and handling any incidents that affect availability of company owned IT equipment and networks. The single firewall for the company falls under this team’s management and control. It was not capable of detecting the Red Team’s intrusions and was not configured to provide alerts for any failures or faults.
    Computer and network operations for the SCADA Lab and R&D DevOps Labs have traditionally been the responsibility of the Engineering department. Engineering sees itself as separate from the rest of the company and takes care of its own IT needs. There is no formal incident response capability. Instead, the lab manager for each lab tasks engineering staff to manage the workstations. If network maintenance or upgrades are required, the Engineering Department hires contractors to perform the work. Responsibility for providing oversight for these contractors is rotated between the junior engineers.
    The Data Center manager has a staff of two systems administrators who are also responsible for identifying and responding to incidents which impact server availability. The Data Center does not have any automated detection systems in place to provide alerts for intrusions. It does, however, have heat alarms, smoke detectors, and water detectors which sound audible alerts through klaxon horns. Neither of the system administrators detected any anomalies in server or local area network operations during the penetration test.
    There was no effective incident response during the penetration test. In large part, this was due to the lack of a centralized team with responsibility for enterprise monitoring and response for network incidents and computer security incidents. Incident response also fell short because there were no automated detection capabilities. Finally, the company’s ability to perform forensics investigations after the penetration testing was limited due to a lack of knowledge (no trained personnel), lack of forensic analysis tools, and a limited number of log files on the servers and firewall.

Your Deliverables

Your deliverables for this assignment are:

  1. Part A: Completed Incident Report Form
  2. Part B: Summary After Action Report in narrative format
    First, you should complete the Sifers-Grayson Cybersecurity Incident Report Form (use the template found at the end of this file) using information provided in this assignment file. You should also consult the “Notes to Students” (below) for additional directions regarding completion of the form.
    Next, perform a more thorough analysis of the information provided about the Red Team’s penetration testing and the vulnerabilities / security gaps which were uncovered. You should pay attention to areas where the incident response capability needs to be improved (people, processes, policies and technologies). Prepare a Summary Report of your findings and recommendations in narrative format. Your Summary Report should have four major sections. The required sections are:
    • Introduction (provide an overview of the purpose and contents of the report)
    • Analysis of the Incident (summarize what you know about the red team’s activities / the resulting security incidents using the information provided in the classroom and in this file). Your incident analysis should address: people, processes, policies, and technologies.
    • Lessons Learned (what went wrong in the incident response process, what did not happen that should have happened). Your lessons learned analysis should address: people, processes, policies, and technologies.
    • Recommendations for Improvements to Incident Response Capability (what needs to change, who should take actions, what actions must be taken to improve the incident response capability).

After you have completed the Incident Report Form and the narrative Summary Report, attach both files (.docx or .doc format) to your assignment folder entry and submit them for grading.
Notes to Students:

  1. Use the incident report form that appears at the end of this file. Copy it to a new MS Word document. Insert a title page at the beginning of your file and include the title of the report, your name, and the due date. Attach the file containing this form as a separate file when you submit your assignment for grading.
  2. Your Summary Report deliverable should be professionally formatted and should not exceed 10 pages for the report and 3 pages for the Incident Response Form. The goal is to be clear and concise in your reporting of your analysis of this incident and your recommendations for improvements. Your file containing the report must include a title page at the beginning of your file that includes the title of the report, your name, and the due date.
  3. Your work for this project should reflect your learning and analysis. For that reason, the citation rules are relaxed and you may write from your own knowledge as an “expert.” BUT, if you paste exact phrases, sentences, or paragraphs from another document or resource, you must cite that source using an appropriate and consistent citation style (e.g. footnotes, end notes, in-text citations).
  4. You may include annotated diagrams if necessary to illustrate your analysis and/or make your point(s). You may use the figures in this assignment as the foundation for diagrams in your final report (no citations required).
  5. Use the NIST Incident Handling Process (see Table 1) to guide your incident analysis. You do not need to cite a source for this table. (You may also use information from the Certified Incident Handler textbook.)
  6. DOCUMENT YOUR ASSUMPTIONS about people, policies, processes, and technologies.
  7. Do not change any of the factual information provided in the classroom or this assignment file.
    How to Complete the Incident Response Form
  8. For section 1 of the form, use your own name but provide reasonable but fictitious information for the remaining fields.
  9. For section 2 of the form, assign IP addresses in the following ranges to any servers, workstations, or network connections that you need to discuss.
    a. R&D Center
    b. Test Range
    c. Corporate Headquarters
  10. For sections 2, 3, and 5, you should use and interpret information provided in this file and elsewhere in the classroom. You may use a judicious amount of creativity, if necessary, to fill in any missing information.
  11. For section 4 of the form you may provide a fictitious cost estimate based upon $100 per hour for IT staff to perform “clean-up” activities. Reasonable estimates are probably in the range of 150 to 300 person hours. What’s important is that you document how you arrived at your cost estimate.
  12. Discuss the contract requirements and derivative requirements for cybersecurity at Sifers-Grayson in 3 to 5 paragraphs under “Section 6 General Comments.”

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