How Dropbox Security builds tools for threat detection and incident response

The Dropbox Detection and Response Team (DART) detects and mitigates information security threats to our employees, infrastructure, and customer data. DART ingests security-relevant logs for building detection, threat hunting and responding to potential incidents. Our log volume is huge, averaging tens of terabytes a day.

The problem we’re solving

Apart from building detections to track suspicious behavior and triaging incidents, we also spend large chunks of our time triaging false positive alerts and building context around individual alerts. This was time not spent hunting for attackers. As a result, any way to automate or improve triage process efficiency was appealing.

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RunBMC: OCP hardware spec solves data center BMC pain points

Open source is not just for software. The same benefits of rapid innovation and community validation apply to hardware specifications as well. That’s why I’m happy to write that the v1.0 of the RunBMC hardware spec has been contributed to Open Compute Project (OCP). Before I get into what BMCs (baseboard management controllers) are and why modern data centers are dependent on them, let’s zoom out to what companies operating at cloud scale have learned.

Cloud software companies like Dropbox have millions, and in some cases, billions of users. When these cloud companies started building out their own data centers,

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Towards better vendor security assessments

Addressing vendor security is a significant and inescapable problem for any modern company. Like many other companies, Dropbox has external third-party integrations with our products, and we also use vendors for internal services, from HR workflows to sales, marketing, and IT. In many ways, vendors play a critical part in Dropbox’s overall security posture and thus require appropriate scrutiny from our security team based on the risk posed by the vendor and feasible mitigations.

Today, we’re sharing the results of an experiment to improve vendor security assessments—directly codifying reasonable security requirements into our vendor contracts. We’re also sharing our model security legal terms and making them freely available for anyone to use and modify.

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Offensive testing to make Dropbox (and the world) a safer place

Dropbox invests heavily in our security program. We have lots of teams dedicated to securing Dropbox, each working on exciting things. Some recent examples covered on our tech blog include:

  • Our Product Security team rolled out support for WebAuthn to boost user adoption of two-step verification and upleveled our industry-leading public bug bounty program
  • Because security is everyone’s responsibility, our Security Culture team helps our employees make consistently secure and informed decisions that protect Dropbox, our users, and our employees
  • Our Detection and Response Team (DART) implementation of extensive instrumentation throughout our infrastructure to catch any indications of compromise.

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Live-hacking Dropbox @ H1-3120

In 2018, Dropbox has focused on improving our world-class bug bounty program. From increasing bounties to protecting our researchers, we’re always looking for more creative and meaningful ways to stay ahead of the game when it comes to running this program.

As an example, we recently partnered with HackerOne to host their H1-3120 live-hacking event in Amsterdam. Live-hacking events let participants hack on a target—often in person—submit vulnerabilities, and receive bounties quickly, all during the course of the event. Live-hacking comes with a number of benefits over traditional bug bounty programs, such as real-time communication and relationship building,

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Security culture, the Dropbox way

The Dropbox Security Team is responsible for securing around 1 exabyte of data, belonging to over half a billion registered users across the world. The responsibility for securing data at this scale extends far beyond the Dropbox Security Team—it takes a commitment from everyone at Dropbox to safeguard our users’ data every day. In other words, it takes a strong security culture.

The first core company value at Dropbox is “Be Worthy of Trust.” From a security perspective, this means keeping our users’ stuff safe. Our culture of security is built on this foundation of trust and is a fundamental part of our identity.

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