back to article Mil-spec infosec spinout Cryptonite reveals its network-scrambling tech

Security startup Cryptonite dropped out of stealth ​late last week with a micro-segmentation-based technology designed to prevent​ ​hacker​ ​reconnaissance​ ​and​ ​lateral​ ​movement. CryptoniteNXT​, the firm's network​ ​appliance​, sits between an organisation's perimeter firewall and internal networks, blocking​ ​malicious …

  1. DropBear

    My guess? Someone not expecting to encounter it will probably be significantly hampered but someone else targeting that site specifically who knows about and expects (or can recognize) the system will just use some form of alternate topology mapping technique, much like a special ops team is trained in the use of IR-goggles if they expect to operate in the dark.

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    Only as secure

    Only as secure as Cryptonite itself, as their system must know the full network topology at any instant, which effecively means the system has a back door, one would think. Wonder how long until they are attacked?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Only as secure

      which effecively means the system has a back door, one would think.

      Not really. All large networks have such a backdoor - it is called the NMS and/or the routers in complex networks. They have no choice, but to know the topology. Attacking them in a protected network is usually non-trivial as there is little or no exposure surface. The NMS works out of bounds and the routers are configured to talk routing protos only between themselves.

      This is no different from an NMS setup - proper topology is available only on the management interface which should not be inband (it should be out-of-band on a separate network). If you have managed to break in from the outside and all the way to the NMS the network is completely toast anyway. So this is not different from plenty of other setups. In fact, I have seen this before - isolating every single port on the network as a separate subnet and disallowing any discovery mechanisms out of it.

      The first time I saw it was 15+ years ago - as an approach it showed up at the same time as 802.1q or shortly thereafter.

      What was missing at the time was combining this with per-user policy. If we combine this with today's tech - namely 802.1x authentication + software control of the network you can easily combine per-user access policy and per-user policy driven isolation down to a port. Not difficult and not particularly revolutionary. The only "revolutionary" thing here is shrink-wrapping it as a software package and/or appliance.

  3. Aodhhan

    Sometimes more devices doesn't mean more security.

    So they're selling a device for people who don't know how to properly setup a defensive perimeter.

    Sounds like it's just another house of mirrors for packets, which should already exist if you've correctly setup your perimeter and have your firewalls and proxies correctly configured. Using this device doesn't save you any money by removing multiple defenses already in place, and it doesn't provide any protection from malicious insiders, phishing attacks, etc.

    Set up too many mirrors for packets, and somewhere... something is going to get misconfigured and allow something through. Or the product will shut some application down, so an exception will have to be made which will allow a hole for something to get through.

    Keep it simple so it can be done correctly.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes more devices doesn't mean more security.

      "So they're selling a device for people who don't know how to properly setup a defensive perimeter."

      Or a highly dispersed organisation like, say the NHS network or Maersk?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there, done that

    It gets quickly FAR too complex to manage. It reminds me of the secure Linux thing the NSA came up with, which got mostly sidelined because it just got in the way and thus messed up the cost/benefit ratio.

    I wish them luck, but micro-granular control demand macro resources to control it. It depends on your business if that's worth it.

  5. theN8

    But I thought ...

    ... security through obscurity was a BAD thing?

    (mines the one with the Windows XP install disc in the pocket)

  6. rapier2

    pretty cool stuff

    read the article. read the comments. don't usually read the register. I'm in cyber sec and handle a few standard cyber defense products. I'm not a professional penetration tester or anything like that.

    i ran into moving target at the last blackhat show when I traveled there from the U.K. to see what was up at the show. I did not like the software approach and the two moving target which I found there as any software module can be accessed and then hacked. the kryptonite box is an appliance which isolates the code about 99.9999% rom any clever network based attacker. yes, not 100%. but pretty good.

    segmentation is pretty common and not working well since the biggest company in the space, cisco, required that we replace all of our switches. no way. that's an impossible request. we have many small switches in racks in closets everywhere. not a chance. segmentation stops movement but not 100% since you need to get to a few servers or whatever you are specifically authorised. so i think it fits the definition of zero trust although I did have to google it to figure it out. stopping reconnaissance by mixing up the IP's and changing them randomly is pretty cool. almost attacks, whether supported by packaged attacker malware tools or a hands on attacker rely on figuring out IP addresses or knowing them. otherwise these attacks don't work.

    I think this is a good technology. on paper, it looks very capable. i'm always cautious about new stuff and new vendors. if they announce a few high profile partners then it is worth perhaps a trial or test. we can all agree that basic perimeter and endpoint defense are too easy to hack. without some new technology everyone in the soc is sitting on their hands waiting to lose their jobs when we get hacked. the word is when. so I'm open to new ideas.

  7. rapier2

    interesting product

    i'm on a soc team and investigate new tech. I don't do anything fancy like penetration testing but I work on major cyber events and help administer product deployments.

    looked at moving target over the past year. a few flakey vendors.

    the comment about the softwar getting compromised is valid especially when a software only approach is used. the good think about kryptonite is that they have an appliance which almost keeps it as a fully closed system.

    i like it was packaged with segmentation. we like segmentation but we have not implemented. cisco had the stones to ask us to replace all of our existing switches. LMAO over that one. we have switches everyone and in every closet. an appliance to do segmentation, using existing switches, as the kryptonite website purports, is the way to go. btw, it is zero trust, but you limit each user by rule to a very finite number of servers they need to access. no looking up/down the network and wandering around.

    the mtd is the cool part. if it works as advertised. basically scrambling and hiding ip addresses in the network eliminates the crappy part of how tcpip is designed. I'll wait to see if they get any credible partners or announcements. not running to the well right now. but worth watching. looks like a cool technlogy.

  8. rapier2

    cool stuff

    moving target is cool stuff.

    perimeter doesn't work. I work in a soc team and everything gets in. we're all expecting to lose our jobs when we get hit with a big hack.

    LMAO at some of the posts. we need new tech and we need it soon.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they've got a paid spammer on the case already

    Three posts in a row praising it from someone who joined today. No, that's not suspicious at all!

    If they thought these obviously fake posts would fool anyone at the Reg, I see no reason to believe their product is anything but worthless.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Looks like they've got a paid spammer on the case already

      Priceless Vapourware is the Next Big Yin in Yang, DougS, and the Markets for ITs Captivating IP are Colossal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Looks like they've got a paid spammer on the case already

        Could be, but they don't even invest in a decent quality spammer to keep up the illusion. Heck, judging by the post they couldn't even be bothered to hire someone who understands paragraphs.

        Using capitals appears to be his kryptonite :)

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