Tech Insight: Six Security Threats You Need To Know About
Security pros will have their hands full with revamped versions of current threats, while new ones also will bubble to the top
4. DLL Hijacking
One attack that resurfaced in 2010 was DLL hijacking. It has been called a couple of things, like binary planting or DLL preloading, but it has been a known issue for 10 years. What's interesting is that new research uncovered it as both an attack method for gaining control of a system and a method for malware to use as persistence. To make matters worse for security pros, new code released through the Metasploit Project made it incredibly easy to exploit. Microsoft has provided a few workarounds and fixes, but the issue has not been fixed fully because it affects many vendors. Exploit DB has been tracking vulnerable applications here.
Shodan garnered a lot of attention last year when security researchers showed just how easy it was to find vulnerable systems on the Internet without scanning for them. With Shodan, they could leverage scans performed by someone else, and for a small cost export all of that data and feed it into their attack tools. Shodan's exposure of vulnerable SCADA devices was enough impetus for CERT to publish an advisory warning of the possible exposure. The popularity of the site for researchers and penetration testers will only help it grow further and end up exposing more services on systems worldwide that could be vulnerable. It's a reminder to many to know what's on your network and what's exposed to the world.
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6. Embedded Systems
Embedded systems made their way to the spotlight as more attacks were focused on printers, smart meters, industrial control systems, and the like. The VxWorks vulnerabilities published in August demonstrated how easy it is to exploit fiber channel switches, printers, and SCADA devices that were easily found via Shodan. Of course, working with the vendor and understanding what, if any, network access these devices have is critical when deploying them because they could provide an easy entry point into your network.
The attacks that gained popularity in 2010 will stick around for a while; many are hard to fix or involve systemic issues that take more than technical workarounds to mitigate. And as always, staying up-to-date on the latest attacks is key. As a defender, you have to get it right every time, but an attacker needs to get it right only once.
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