Sunday, 12 August 2018

IRIS-H: Alpha is dead! Long live Beta.

Quick Summary

Build Version: 0.2.0 (beta)

Change Type: new version release
Affected Components: API, UI
Short Description: New version includes:

  • (new) complete re-write of the UI 'look & feel'
  • (new) Yara rules support
  • (new) personal service accounts
  • (new) 'Workbench' data view (see Detailed Summary section for description)
  • (new) 'External Intelligence' section added to the 'Report' data view
  • (new) public GitHub repository for issues tracking and feedback
  • API backend data handling infrastructure changes
  • static analysis data extraction routines improvements
  • bug fixes

Outstanding Tasks: Attach external intelligence feeds, minor cosmetic UI fixes, further data parsers improvements.
Known Issues: Minor cosmetic glitches in the UI.

Detailed Summary

Disclaimer: All the functionality descriptions and screenshot examples given below are relevant to the application state at the release time. Some features and interface 'look & feel' might change in the follow up releases.

Sections below describe some of the major features/changes implemented in this release.

New UI

IRIS-H UI has been completely re-written using Akveo Nebular UI and the mighty power of Angular. Where data views and service pages content is mostly the same, their look changed completely. Please see below for detailed breakdown.

Dashboard (Home page)

IRIS-H Dashboard View

The dashboard now performs 3 functions:

  • overall submitted data view
  • system health display
  •  filters for currently loaded data
Where overall submitted data and systems health views are self-explanatory, the data filters functionality is explained below.

Each statistical data view panel is interactive. Clicking on a pie chart section or a bar will filter the 'Submissions' table view. For example, clicking 'Malicious OLE' bar in 'Object Linking & Embedding' panel will change the 'Submissions' table view to display only reports for malicious OLE files.

Filtering 'Submissions' table view using Dashboard submitted data panel
NOTE: The filters will apply only to the data already loaded into the dashboard - 50 latest submissions.

The data displayed in the dashboard depends on the user type - Public / Registered. There is a concept of 'Public' and 'Private' data now. The file analysis data is tied to the user account the file was submitted under.

Public data - file analysis reports generated under 'Public User' account (not logged in)

Private data - file analysis reports generated under logged in user.

Submission Page

Submission page didn't change that much in terms of the content and functionality.

IRIS-H Submission Page
The page now includes submission type indicator - Public/Private

IRIS-H submission type indicator - Public
IRIS-H submission type indicator - Private
Report Page

Content displayed on the report page has been re-worked and majority of the generic information has been removed.

IRIS-H Report page example
The report page now supports multiple reports display using separate report page tabs. Where the same functionality can be achieved with opening separate browsing session tabs in the Internet browser application, this feature serves as a good alternative.

IRIS-H Report page - tabs view example
NOTE: The memory consumed by the tool depends on the number of reports opened at the same time. Use Internet browser page refresh functionality to remove all report tabs except the currently active one.

Workbench Page

Workbench is a new data view type added in this release. It can be accessed through 'Report' page navigation sub-menu or through the main interface side bar if any workbench data is already loaded.

Access 'Workbench' view from 'Report' page

The 'Workbench' page allows for the submitted file content browsing using its structural view. The file content is displayed in HEX and ASCII formats.

IRIS-H Workbench Page example
The 'File Structure' tree view on the left hand side is interact-able as well as the HEX view of the data. When entry in the tree view is selected the corresponding HEX and ASCII pieces of data are scrolled into the view. HEX view is also interact-able the same way except for the scrolling part.

IRIS-H Workbench Page - file content browsing example

On each tree or HEX views interaction, content of the 'Description' panel on the right hand side is updated with corresponding data description as per official file format specification.

Download function is available for each individual file component as well as for the submitted file itself. The 'Download' button can be found on the right hand side in each workbench panel header.

NOTE: This feature is currently available for files in 'Shell Link Binary' format (LNK) only.

General UI features

Akveo Nebular UI offers many features to customize the interface look. All of the customization options are available through 'Settings' sub-menu located in the top right corner.
IRIS-H Interface customization settings
Where all of them are self-explanatory, I'd like to single out my favorite one - UI Theme customization. It allows for the interface theme on-the-fly change. There are currently 3 themes available - light, cosmic and corporate. Corporate theme is the default one, though my personal favorite is cosmic.

IRIS-H with Cosmic UI Theme applied
Yara Rules Support + 'External Intelligence'

New addition to the static analysis engine. IRIS-H will now scan the submitted files and their partial content with Yara rules. The scanning engine is based on node-yara module developed by NoSpaceships.

Current Yara rules set consist of the rules developed and collected by Florian Roth for his Nextron Systems scanners.

'Report' page now includes a new section called 'External Intelligence & Automated Scanning' that displays any Yara matches.

IRIS-H Report Page - Yara match example

This section will also display information collected from external sources. This feature is currently under development.

Personal Service User Account

IRIS-H now supports personal user accounts. Since this new feature is still in testing, the public registration process is currently unavailable, however user accounts can be provisioned upon a request(hit me up on Twitter).

Current personal account design provides the same features as the public account with the exception of making analysis report data private and available only to the user logged in with the account the submitted file was processed under.

There is no other difference in the features set.

GitHub Repository

Repository has been created on GitHub to enable issues tracking. Issue reports and feature suggestions are much appreciated.


This project wouldn't be where it is now without such a great support from the InfoSec community and all those highly talented people who create beautiful tools and applications that help and inspire a curious mind. There are no words to describe how much I value any collaboration that happens in those communities - you can never stop learning.

Special kudos go to:

  • InfoSec community (honest to creators, you are machines. I envy your energy!)
  • Angular community on (you're a mind-blowing folks)
  • Individuals who supported the project with their valuable feedback and file samples. I simply can't post such a big list here and I do not support fame leeching, but you know who you are. I endlessly value our relationships.