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Interestingly enough, this same topic came up in the CTI TC Session #2 meeting. Does a “grouping” object make sense and is it like a “threat actor” grouping
without being a “threat actor”. Personally, I like the “related” objects method of linking it all together, however I can see how that would get messy and how you might be able to group together observable/indicator from various reports/packages into the
However, I keep coming back in my mind to the thought of, given that STIX/TAXI was built on the basis of being able to represent a Cyber Threat (amongst other
threats) and that it was facilitating the exchange of Cyber Security Threat Intelligence between machines in a consistent manner, I am having trouble understanding what the role of a “grouping” object would be in an automated exchange of intel. Is the intention
to basically pass a “data set” around containing data, or is the intent to use the “grouping” object in some other way.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Jason Keirstead
Sent: Friday, 27 October 2017 10:53 PM
To: Katz, Gary CTR DC3\DCCI
Cc: email@example.com; Sean Barnum
Subject: Re: [cti-stix] RE: Initial stab at grouping-context-ov values based on real-world use cases
What if you have a bunch of indicators and you *believe* they all relate to a threat actor, but you don't know who that threat actor is yet?
That is the way this grouping object has always been described to me - it is how analysts collaborate on incomplete intelligence. If they had the full and complete picture, they wouldn't be using
this object in the first place.
STSM, Product Architect, Security Intelligence, IBM Security Systems
Without data, all you are is just another person with an opinion - Unknown
From: "Katz, Gary CTR DC3\\DCCI" <Gary.Katz.firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Sean Barnum <sean.barnum@FireEye.com>, "email@example.com"
Date: 10/26/2017 06:02 PM
Subject: [cti-stix] RE: Initial stab at grouping-context-ov values based on real-world use cases
Sent by: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I’ve been thinking about your proposal these last couple of days and had some comments I wished to share. I’m interested in if I am thinking about this incorrectly or if there
are others that have a similar view.
In your email you state that the ‘Grouping object is to convey a specific set of STIX content shares some context.’ In my view, the fact that STIX content shares some context
should be shown through the relationship links that the content has to other content. i.e. If you are trying to show Malware analysis relationships, we have a malware analysis object and we have observable data that can be linked. Do we need a grouping object
to further connect it all together? Don’t the relationships in of themselves show that grouping? Similarly an objects-relationships grouping would just be shown by sending the core object, related objects and the links between them, we don’t need another
object to then encapsulate that information. Threat-actor-content, campaign-content, intrusion-set-content can all be explained similarly, just send the threat-actor, campaign, or intrusion-set, related objects and relationships and we’re good.
In my view this is a key distinction between the suspicious-activity-event and the other grouping types. For the other grouping types, we have ways to relate the data together,
either through a malware object, an intrusion set object, a campaign object, threat actor object, etc. In the case of the suspicious-activity-event, that IS the object to provide context and relate that data together.
Interested in everyone’s thoughts,
On Behalf Of Sean Barnum
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2017 3:43 PM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] [cti-stix] Initial stab at grouping-context-ov values based on real-world use cases
A couple of weeks ago on the working call I took an action item to provide an initial minimal stab at grouping-context-ov values based on real-world use cases.
I got busy and did not follow through.
So, at the F2F last week we had a small side discussion where I provided an initial minimal stab at grouping-context-ov values based on real-world use cases that we see and then we discussed which
ones we might have consensus on as a small initial set, which ones might make longer term sense but not have consensus for an initial set and which ones might be considered a bit more esoteric and considerable for future versions if real-world use proved out
To reiterate for clarity, the purpose of the Grouping object is to convey that a specific set of STIX content shares some context.
It is not intended to be the first choice for sharing any set of related STIX content and is not intended to replace CTI domain-relevant objects.
It is the generalized last resort for specifying this sort of thing when there is no STIX domain-relevant object already available for the given type of context (e.g. STIX content that describes
the structure or behavior of a piece of malware would utilize the Malware object, STIX content that characterizes details of infrastructure would utilize the Infrastructure object, etc).
The context property of the Grouping object is intended to convey the nature of context that the referenced content shares.
The intent of the grouping-context-ov is to provide consistently defined values for common cases of Grouping context while also leaving open the option of specifying values not defined by the standard.
Values of grouping-context-ov fall below the threshold required (at least for now) for defining a new SDO for that sort of context but above the threshold for uncommon or highly specialized forms
of grouping context.
Here is the initial stab that resulted from the discussion at the F2F:
A set of STIX content related to a particular suspicious activity event.
(Answers question: what do we know about what happened in this suspicious activity/attack?)
indicator-sightings (name specifies Indicator id)
A set of STIX Sightings for a given Indicator.
(Answers question: what sightings are known for this indicator?)
object-relationships (name specifies object id)
A set of STIX objects related to a given object along with any relevant Relationship objects.
(Answers question: what objects are related to this specific object (embedded/external relationship from this object, embedded/external relationship to this object)?)
A set of STIX content from a malware analysis action (sandbox execution, structural analysis, etc).
Common cases but possibly not consensus need in initial version of grouping-context-ov
malware-context (name specifies malware id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Malware object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the malware which would be conveyed
in a Malware object but rather other STIX content related to the Malware object
threat-actor-context (name specifies TA id)
A set of STIX content related to a given ThreatActor object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the threat actor which would be conveyed
in a ThreatActor object but rather other STIX content related to the ThreatActor object
campaign-context (name specifies Campaign id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Campaign object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the campaign which would be conveyed
in a Campaign object but rather other STIX content related to the Campaign object
intrusion-set-context (name specifies IntrusionSet id)
A set of STIX content related to a given IntrusionSet object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the intrusion set which would be
conveyed in a IntrusionSet object but rather other STIX content related to the IntrusionSet object
identity-context (name specifies Identity id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Identity object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the identity which would be conveyed
in an Identity object but rather other STIX content related to the Identity object
location-context (name specifies Location id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Location object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the location which would be conveyed
in a Location object but rather other STIX content related to the Location object
tool-context (name specifies Tool id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Tool object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the tool which would be conveyed
in a Tool object but rather other STIX content related to the Tool object
vulnerability-context (name specifies Vulnerability id)
A set of STIX content related to a given Vulnerability object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the vulnerability which would be
conveyed in a Vulnerability object but rather other STIX content related to the Vulnerability object
observable-context (name specifies observable)
A set of STIX content related to a given Observable object. **It should be noted that this is not details of the observable which would be conveyed
in an Observable object but rather other STIX content related to the Observable object
temporal-activity-window (name specifies time window)
A set of STIX activity content that occurred within a given time window
temporal-creation-window (name specifies time window)
A set of STIX content created within a given time window
selector-result (name specifies selector)
A set of STIX content that matches a specific selector pattern
Please feel free to offer your thoughts.
Do you disagree with including any of these values?
Do you think that we should start with only the suggested values?
Do you think we should also include any/all of the “common case” or “outlier” values?
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