CrowdRE, The Crowdsourced Reverse Engineering Platform Adds Mac and Linux Support, Groups With Sharing Controls
In early June, security startup CrowdStrike released CrowdRE, a tool designed to make it faster to reverse engineer malicious files by encouraging researchers to work together on a cloud-based collaboration platform.
Since then, the CrowdStrike team has been hard at work building new features that came as a result feedback received from the community, according to Adam Meyers, Director of Intelligence at CrowdStrike.
Topping the list of new features in the Alpha++ release comes Linux and Mac OS versions of the plugin. When CrowRE was originally released, there was strong interest in having both versions, Meyers said. Researchers can now use CrowdRE for their reverse engineering efforts across Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
The team also added granular sharing controls within the platform. Sometimes researchers wanted to share what they found with only some people, or with no one. The newly added groups feature allows CrowdRE users to identify a subset of users on the platform who are allowed to see the annotations, according to Meyers.
Users would first create a group and add other users to that group. When publishing the annotations on the platform, the user would specify the group allowed to see the information. This way, the information is stored within CrowdRE, but only authorized group members will have access to the data, Meyers said.
Additionally, users can create different groups for different projects. Users can create a Zeus working group, for example, and share information about the financial Trojan exclusively among themselves and ensure all participants have the latest analysis, Meyers explained.
“While CrowdRE was built to share reversing intelligence with as many people as possible, we understand that sometimes this data does need to be compartmentalized,” Meyers wrote.
It is also possible, with the “private commits” capability, to use the CrowdRE platform but not share the information at all. Private commits can be useful both for sharing annotations between different machines, or take advantage of fuzzy hashing without publicizing what is being reversed, according to the blog post.
Users saw the “usefulness of fuzzy hashing” but were reluctant to “share this sensitive data to the community,” Meyers said.
The other aspect of sharing is not knowing who to share with. There are people who “will take without giving,” Meyers noted, so CrowdRE now supports a “Karma” rating to designate users who contribute the “greatest and most usable annotations.” Users will build a Karma score based on their commits, and more ways to earn Karma scores will be added at a later date. Researchers with high Karma scores will also be recognized within the community, said Meyers.
“Personally I was just unseated as the highest Karma score and I am working on some new annotations to reclaim the crown!” he wrote.
For a detailed description of how CrowdRE can be used to reverse engineer malware, check out this post from Jason Geffner, a senior security researcher at CrowdStrike.
CrowdStrike launched publically earlier this year after former McAfee CTO George Kurtz, along with Dmitri Alperovitch (McAfee’s ex-VP of Threat Research), and Gregg Marston announced that the company had received its $26 million round of funding. In April, the company announced another high profile hire when former FBI executive Shawn Henry joined the company to lead its services division. You can read about Henry’s keynote at Black Hat 2012 here.