Risk
6/14/2010
02:35 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
50%
50%

Vulnerability Scanners Must Be Used Carefully

Automated network and Web app vulnerability scanners can make strengthening your business's defenses a lot simpler -- or a lot more complicated, depending on how much you and your team know about their uses. A new report looks at some of the challenges accompanying vulnerability scanning.

Automated network and Web app vulnerability scanners can make strengthening your business's defenses a lot simpler -- or a lot more complicated, depending on how much you and your team know about their uses. A new report looks at some of the challenges accompanying vulnerability scanning.Automated vulnerability scanners, both for network and Web app scans, have attracted a lot of attention lately, both because of their increasing capabilities and ease of use, as well as the growing role risk assessment plays in a thorough business defense strategy.

But just because vulnerability scanners are increasingly easy to use, that doesn't mean they're easy to use well. As with any tool, preparation, practice and proficiency have as much to do with effective vulnerability scans as the tools themselves.

A good new report exploring "The Truth About Vulnerability Scanners" gives a glimpse of some of the most common -- and most commonly mismanaged -- problem areas associated with vulnerability scanners:

Authentication: As with anti-virus definition list, vulnerability identification is only as good as the scanner's authenticated vulnerability list and the points where that list matches vulnerabilities in your company's systems and apps. Your IT team will need to put in the time studying potential vulnerability scanners' authentication tools.

Custom applications: If you're running custom or non-standard programs, be aware that the vulnerability scanner may not be able to detect problems.

Complex attacks and other security issues: Standardization enhances the automated aspects of scanning, but also renders off-the-shelf scanners unable to recognize complex threats and vulnerabilities. Again, your team will be configuring and tweaking a scanner both before and after using it.

Other potential problems include collisions with legacy hardware and software, interruptions of business traffic patterns and failure to inform key personnel that the scan is being run. Recently I took a look at some of these "Vulnerability Scan Do's And Don'ts" for Dark Reading's Vulnerability Management Center.

The complete "Scanning Reality: Limits Of Automated Vulnerability Scanners" report can be downloaded here. (Registration required.)

Don't Miss: SMB Security: Fight The Right Fight

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: You are infected!  @malwareunicorn to the rescue...  
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.