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What is a Maltego Standard Transforms On-premise Server (CTAS)?

Modified on: Wed, 31 Mar, 2021 at 11:35 AM

A CTAS is a special server which hosts all of Paterva’s OSINT Transforms and executes these when requested through the Maltego Desktop Client.

CTAS stands for Commercial Transform Application Server.

The CTAS  includes Transforms for gathering OSINT from common sources on the Internet. This includes querying DNS servers, search engines, social networks, various APIs, and other sources. A full list of the Transforms included with CTAS can be found in our Transform guide here.

CTAS Transforms query the following data sources:

  • DNS Servers,
  • Search Engines,
  • Online Databases,
  • Social Networks (Flickr, Myspace),
  • Online APIs,
  • Other Public Sources.

A Private CTAS allows you to host all Paterva’s OSINT Transforms from within your organization. A private CTAS is almost an exact copy of Paterva’s public CTAS except it can be hosted internally within your organization. This is specifically applicable to clients who prefer that their data does not travel over Maltego's infrastructure.

Why use a Private CTAS?

Out-of-the-box Maltego Desktop Clients use Paterva’s public CTAS to run Transforms that are located on the Internet and used by other Maltego users. A private CTAS is for customers performing sensitive investigations where their preference is to keep their Transform requests private. Although Paterva will never log the questions asked, nor their answers, when a Transform query is run on our public server, some customers still prefer the peace of mind provided by hosting their own copy of our CTAS. You can see what is logged when a Transform is run on Paterva's public Transform servers here.

A private CTAS also includes a management console where the server status can be viewed as well as other basic server configurations that can be performed.

Technical Details

  • CTAS is now delivered in two methods:
    • as a docker image.
    • as a VM image in OVA format which is pre-configured with docker containers. If you want to use the image with other virtual machine providers you’ll need to convert it using the respective converters.
  • The server is delivered as a virtual format that is downloaded on to a computer and no hardware is included.
  • The docker image of the server is a snapshot of container built on a Ubuntu 16.04 LTS base.
  • The VM image in OVA format is built on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS base providing a hassle-free deployment of the docker containers in a hypervisor.
  • The search engine Transforms use the Bing Web-Search API & IBM Transforms use IBM Watson API. These are paid-for services that are priced (by Microsoft & IBM) according to use. Server administrators should apply for their own API keys as these are not included in the default server image.

  • Hardware Requirements:
    • The virtual server requires at least 2GB of RAM
    • Any modern multi-core processor
    • A minimum 25GB of storage space

  • Network Requirements:
    • The CTAS requires Internet access because the Transforms running on the server will need to make connections to various online services.
    • CTAS needs the following outgoing ports to be open: 80, 443, 25, and others (data provider specific). This list will increase in the future as more Transforms are created and we recommend that you do not limit the server from making outgoing connections to the Internet.
    • Incoming connections need only to be on TCP port 443 and from the various clients IP addresses that wish to use the server.

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