Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

5/13/2019
10:30 AM
Timothy Winters
Timothy Winters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

How Open Testing Standards Can Improve Security

When creating security metrics, it's critical that test methodologies cover multiple scenarios to ensure that devices perform as expected in all environments.

Networks are a complex collection of components defined by many different standards. These standards help solve network problems ranging from security to performance and usability.

An open standard is a publicly available standard that can be consumed in a variety of ways for deploying a secure solution for a network. Readers of open security standards use them to understand how a technology might be useful to solve security on the network. Implementers of open standards can create solutions to address documented security issues. Network operators read standards to understand how the different implementations work together to make a complete security solution.

These network solutions often come from different sources, which leads to the creation of a variety of testing procedures and methodologies to ensure that network components support all the security and performance requirements of the network users. Since the majority of standards are also open, it would make sense that the methods for testing are also open. But often this isn't the case, and I think it should be.

The Case for Open Security Testing Standards
The argument I often hear against open testing standards is because network component engineers can see the test and create a solution based on the known criteria. This, to use a grade school analogy, seems like cheating since the test questions are known in advance, making it possible for a network operator to engineer their products to pass the test. If the tests have full coverage for the security features that a network operator wants, then it doesn't matter if they know what is being tested. The outcome of the testing will be a network component that shows compliance to the full coverage of test cases. By creating an open testing environment, network component engineers can build a solution that will meet the network operators' requirements.

When creating security metrics, it's critical that test methodologies cover multiple scenarios to ensure that devices perform as expected in all environments. For security test methodologies, it may be necessary to randomize input parameters to cover all use cases in order to detect devices that have tuned device performance to meet test case needs rather than the needs of real use cases. For example, when measuring if a firewall detects CVEs, it's important to run a traffic mix with vulnerabilities to ensure the device detects and blocks attacks under a variety of conditions.

Another advantage of open testing standards is that they give users and network operators the ability to see what security testing is performed and how testing is performed. Knowing what security test cases are being performed allows the operator to confirm that the test meets specific requirements. If not, they can add additional tests.

Creating a Feedback Loop
If there is an organization responsible for maintaining the standard, operators can feed that information back to cover missing areas so that in the future the network operator won't have to run additional testing. Knowing how network components are tested also lets network operators and users better understand the meaning of results because results alone often don't give enough context about the testing conditions of the network component. For example, it's important to understand if a device passes security tests when there is no load but doesn't detect attacks when it's under load.

It's also important to compare security results from different networking providers as a means of increasing transparency into testing methodologies, which also leads to better decision-making processes. In other words, open testing standards provide an "apples to apples" comparison opportunity. In security performance testing, for example, the results of a bandwidth test on a firewall can change greatly based on the security features that are enabled. If no open standard exists to specify that information, a user might be looking at results for two different implementations and not understand that the results differ depending on what features are enabled.

Implementers of security standards are aided by having open testing standards offering better visibility into what network operators are interested in validating. Network operators are aided by open standards testing to allow them to achieve comparisons that make network decisions easier.

Related Content:

 

 

 Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Timothy Winters is a senior manager at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). He works with companies from all over the world to develop broad-based, flexible testing strategies to cost-effectively meet network interoperability ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...