stoQ: automation. simplified.

Release v2.0.5

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Overview

stoQ is a automation framework that helps to simplify the mundane and repetitive tasks an analyst is required to do. It enables analysts and DevSecOps teams to quickly transition between different data sources, databases, decoders/encoders, and numerous other tasks using enriched and consistent data structures. stoQ was designed to be enterprise ready and scalable, while also being lean enough for individual security researchers.

What is stoQ?

stoQ was initially a collection of scripts that helped us solve problems we encountered daily. These tasks, such as parsing an SMTP session, extracting attachments, scanning them with a multitude of custom and open source tools, saving the results, and then finally analyzing them took up an increasing amount of our team’s resources. We spent an ever increasing amount of time simply attempting to collect and extract data. This took valuable resources away from our ability to actually find and analyze adversaries targeting our networks.

We grew tired of being the hamster in a wheel and decided to do something about it. In 2011, we began development of a framework that would not only tackle the problem above, but also allow us to quickly change the flow of data and automated analytics, quickly pivot to new databases to house the results, and simply be able to respond to the adversaries changing their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

Most importantly, our focus was to build a tool that would allow us to do what we love to do – defend networks from adversaries that are determined, focused, and relentless.

In 2015, after stoQ had been matured in multiple large scale operational networks, we decided to open source our work in hopes of helping the wider Network Defense community. Since then, we’ve been constantly enhancing stoQ thanks to the feedback and contributions from the community of stoQ users.

Why use stoQ?

Over the years, there have been several other open source solutions that have been released that have similar capabilities to stoQ. However, stoQ is fundamentally different in many ways when compared to other solutions available. Some key differences are:

  • Extremely lightweight and designed with simplicity in mind.
  • A wide range of publicly available plugins.
  • stoQ makes no assumptions about your workflow. Analysts decide everything, from where data originates, how it is scanned/decoded/processed, to where it is saved.
  • Scalable in not only native/bare metal environments, but also using solutions such as Kubernetes, AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Azure Functions, and many more.
  • Written to be easily and quickly extended. All you need is a plugin.
  • Can be used in an enterprise environment or by individuals without the need for client/server infrastructure
  • Overwhelming majority of code is covered by unit tests.
  • All core functions and plugins leverage typing and are type-checked at commit.
  • Actively developed since 2011, open source since 2015.
  • Extensive up-to-date documentation.

Philosophy

Our goal with stoQ has always been to simplify the mundane and automate the repetitive, ultimately enabling network defenders to do what they do best – focus on the threats. Since we began development, this philosophy has not shifted. Our core philosophy for both design and development can be best summarized by the Zen of Python:

>>> import this
The Zen of Python, by Tim Peters

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Readability counts.

Architecture

One of the most powerful features in stoQ is its flexibility. Because stoQ is a framework, the majority of the work actually happens within the plugins. stoQ itself is meant to orchestrate the communication between the various plugins and normalize their results. stoQ makes no assumptions on the architecture that works best for the user. Because of this, stoQ allows for a highly configurable and flexible architecture that can be defined by the user.

For example, analysts can run stoQ against an individual file on their local computer, or against 100’s of millions of payloads that are extracted off the wire – and everything in between. Payloads can be dynamically routed to plugins using yara, TRiD, and even static attributes. Results can be saved with ElasticSearch one day, then in Splunk the next, or both at the same time. Directories can be monitored for new files, queueing solutions such as RabbitMQ or Google PubSub can be leveraged, or mailboxes can even be monitored for new e-mails. No matter what an analyst wants to do with stoQ, it’s simply a matter of writing a plugin.

Example Output

As an example of output from stoQ, let’s scan a local file with ExifTool and get the hashes of the payload:

{
    "time": "...",
    "results": [
        {
            "payload_id": "00d2f069-d716-43ed-bc2f-b0bd295574d4",
            "size": 507904,
            "payload_meta": {
                "should_archive": true,
                "extra_data": {
                    "filename": "bad.exe"
                },
                "dispatch_to": []
            },
            "workers": [
                {
                    "hash": {
                        "sha256": "47c6e9b102324ea6c54dd95ad3fdf4b48b18775053b105e241a371a3731488c0",
                        "md5": "16d9f6e5491d99beb46d7ab1500c1799",
                        "sha1": "9e6414bf2802c98fbd13172817db80380c5eeb6a"
                    },
                    "exif": {
                        "SourceFile": "/tmp/tmp3r4juo8e",
                        "ExifToolVersion": 11.11,
                        "FileName": "tmp3r4juo8e",
                        "Directory": "/tmp",
                        "FileSize": 507904,
                        "FileModifyDate": "...",
                        "FileAccessDate": "...",
                        "FileInodeChangeDate": ".",
                        "FilePermissions": 600,
                        "FileType": "Win32 EXE",
                        "FileTypeExtension": "EXE",
                        "MIMEType": "application/octet-stream",
                        "MachineType": 332,
                        "TimeStamp": "2013:04:20 10:50:10-04:00",
                        "ImageFileCharacteristics": 258,
                        "PEType": 267,
                        "LinkerVersion": 9.0,
                        "CodeSize": 386048,
                        "InitializedDataSize": 120832,
                        "UninitializedDataSize": 0,
                        "EntryPoint": 208320,
                        "OSVersion": 5.0,
                        "ImageVersion": 0.0,
                        "SubsystemVersion": 5.0,
                        "Subsystem": 2
                    }
                }
            ],
            "archivers": {},
            "plugins_run": {
                "workers": [
                    [
                        "exif",
                        "hash"
                    ]
                ],
                "archivers": []
            },
            "extracted_from": null,
            "extracted_by": null
        }
    ],
    "request_meta": {
        "archive_payloads": true,
        "source": null,
        "extra_data": {}
    },
    "errors": {},
    "decorators": {},
    "scan_id": "4d053d5e-9f4e-417b-8f0e-deea0d45449d"
}

Or, carve a few executable files out of a Microsoft Word document:

{
    "time": "...",
    "results": [
        {
            "payload_id": "e777051a-832b-489f-b74c-9949b2c9a2ce",
            "size": 558592,
            "payload_meta": {
                "should_archive": true,
                "extra_data": {
                    "filename": "sample_doc_with_pe.doc"
                },
                "dispatch_to": []
            },
            "workers": [
                {
                    "exif": {
                        "SourceFile": "/tmp/tmpbqtisxjd",
                        "ExifToolVersion": 11.11,
                        "FileName": "tmpbqtisxjd",
                        "Directory": "/tmp",
                        "FileSize": 558592,
                        "FileModifyDate": "...",
                        "FileAccessDate": "...",
                        "FileInodeChangeDate": "...",
                        "FilePermissions": 600,
                        "FileType": "DOC",
                        "FileTypeExtension": "DOC",
                        "MIMEType": "application/msword",
                        "Identification": 42476,
                        "LanguageCode": 1033,
                        "DocFlags": 4616,
                        "System": 0,
                        "Word97": 0,
                        "Author": "xxxxxxxxxxxx",
                        "Template": "Normal",
                        "LastModifiedBy": "xxxxxxxxxxxx",
                        "Software": "Microsoft Office Word",
                        "CreateDate": "2017:11:13 21:27:00",
                        "ModifyDate": "2017:11:13 21:28:00",
                        "Security": 0,
                        "CodePage": 1252,
                        "Company": "",
                        "CharCountWithSpaces": 20,
                        "AppVersion": 14.0,
                        "ScaleCrop": 0,
                        "LinksUpToDate": 0,
                        "SharedDoc": 0,
                        "HyperlinksChanged": 0,
                        "TitleOfParts": "",
                        "HeadingPairs": [
                            "Título",
                            1
                        ],
                        "CompObjUserTypeLen": 36,
                        "CompObjUserType": "Documento do Microsoft Word 97-2003",
                        "LastPrinted": "0000:00:00 00:00:00",
                        "RevisionNumber": 2,
                        "TotalEditTime": 1,
                        "Words": 3,
                        "Characters": 18,
                        "Pages": 1,
                        "Paragraphs": 1,
                        "Lines": 1
                    },
                    "hash": {
                        "sha256": "4e3a682b2187f7c722b88af9bff5292fd7beb4d77233d1b3bc46f0bfc4891068",
                        "md5": "137720063880f80270a61181b021d000",
                        "sha1": "08bc0a52ee27ad0ceaa87bf394b1faa7a43bf27e"
                    }
                }
            ],
            "archivers": {},
            "plugins_run": {
                "workers": [
                    [
                        "pecarve",
                        "exif",
                        "hash"
                    ]
                ],
                "archivers": []
            },
            "extracted_from": null,
            "extracted_by": null
        },
        {
            "payload_id": "471b49f3-ea99-481f-a0a3-502826e69c73",
            "size": 31232,
            "payload_meta": {
                "should_archive": true,
                "extra_data": {
                    "offset": 11367
                },
                "dispatch_to": []
            },
            "workers": [
                {
                    "exif": {
                        "SourceFile": "/tmp/tmpyi0yx_wf",
                        "ExifToolVersion": 11.11,
                        "FileName": "tmpyi0yx_wf",
                        "Directory": "/tmp",
                        "FileSize": 31232,
                        "FileModifyDate": "...",
                        "FileAccessDate": "...",
                        "FileInodeChangeDate": "...",
                        "FilePermissions": 600,
                        "FileType": "Win32 EXE",
                        "FileTypeExtension": "EXE",
                        "MIMEType": "application/octet-stream",
                        "MachineType": 332,
                        "TimeStamp": "2016:07:15 21:44:45-04:00",
                        "ImageFileCharacteristics": 258,
                        "PEType": 267,
                        "LinkerVersion": 14.0,
                        "CodeSize": 8192,
                        "InitializedDataSize": 22528,
                        "UninitializedDataSize": 0,
                        "EntryPoint": 10496,
                        "OSVersion": 10.0,
                        "ImageVersion": 10.0,
                        "SubsystemVersion": 10.0,
                        "Subsystem": 2,
                        "FileVersionNumber": "10.0.14393.0",
                        "ProductVersionNumber": "10.0.14393.0",
                        "FileFlagsMask": 63,
                        "FileFlags": 0,
                        "FileOS": 262148,
                        "ObjectFileType": 1,
                        "FileSubtype": 0,
                        "LanguageCode": "0409",
                        "CharacterSet": "04B0",
                        "CompanyName": "Microsoft Corporation",
                        "FileDescription": "Windows Calculator",
                        "FileVersion": "10.0.14393.0 (rs1_release.160715-1616)",
                        "InternalName": "CALC",
                        "LegalCopyright": "© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.",
                        "OriginalFileName": "CALC.EXE",
                        "ProductName": "Microsoft® Windows® Operating System",
                        "ProductVersion": "10.0.14393.0",
                        "Warning": "Possibly corrupt Version resource"
                    },
                    "hash": {
                        "sha256": "c74f41325775de4777000161a057342cc57a04e8b7be17b06576412eff574dc5",
                        "md5": "40e85286357723f326980a3b30f84e4f",
                        "sha1": "2e391131f9b77a8ec0e0172113692f9e2ccceaf0"
                    }
                }
            ],
            "archivers": {},
            "plugins_run": {
                "workers": [
                    [
                        "exif",
                        "hash"
                    ]
                ],
                "archivers": []
            },
            "extracted_from": "e777051a-832b-489f-b74c-9949b2c9a2ce",
            "extracted_by": "pecarve"
        },
        {
            "payload_id": "5a6279a4-df1d-4575-8587-286f5938839d",
            "size": 507904,
            "payload_meta": {
                "should_archive": true,
                "extra_data": {
                    "offset": 50688
                },
                "dispatch_to": []
            },
            "workers": [
                {
                    "exif": {
                        "SourceFile": "/tmp/tmpsiaa54tm",
                        "ExifToolVersion": 11.11,
                        "FileName": "tmpsiaa54tm",
                        "Directory": "/tmp",
                        "FileSize": 507904,
                        "FileModifyDate": "...",
                        "FileAccessDate": "...",
                        "FileInodeChangeDate": "...",
                        "FilePermissions": 600,
                        "FileType": "Win32 EXE",
                        "FileTypeExtension": "EXE",
                        "MIMEType": "application/octet-stream",
                        "MachineType": 332,
                        "TimeStamp": "2013:04:20 10:50:10-04:00",
                        "ImageFileCharacteristics": 258,
                        "PEType": 267,
                        "LinkerVersion": 9.0,
                        "CodeSize": 386048,
                        "InitializedDataSize": 120832,
                        "UninitializedDataSize": 0,
                        "EntryPoint": 208320,
                        "OSVersion": 5.0,
                        "ImageVersion": 0.0,
                        "SubsystemVersion": 5.0,
                        "Subsystem": 2
                    },
                    "hash": {
                        "sha256": "47c6e9b102324ea6c54dd95ad3fdf4b48b18775053b105e241a371a3731488c0",
                        "md5": "16d9f6e5491d99beb46d7ab1500c1799",
                        "sha1": "9e6414bf2802c98fbd13172817db80380c5eeb6a"
                    }
                }
            ],
            "archivers": {},
            "plugins_run": {
                "workers": [
                    [
                        "exif",
                        "hash"
                    ]
                ],
                "archivers": []
            },
            "extracted_from": "e777051a-832b-489f-b74c-9949b2c9a2ce",
            "extracted_by": "pecarve"
        }
    ],
    "request_meta": {
        "archive_payloads": true,
        "source": null,
        "extra_data": {}
    },
    "errors": {},
    "decorators": {},
    "scan_id": "04f9aec3-afc7-4fa1-b179-73e46c074e81"
}

The combinations are nearly limitless..all you need is a plugin.


Guides

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