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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Hacking Yourself Pays Off In Tighter Security

Whether you build your own penetration test team or hire a third party, pen testing is crucial for security.

The disclosure earlier this year of attacks originating in China and targeting Google and other large corporations proves that today's cybercriminals are sophisticated and out for financial gain, not bragging rights. These targeted, multipronged intrusions draw on a range of techniques and tools, including exploitable vulnerabilities, inside information, and attackers' sheer persistence. Could your systems stand up to these sophisticated threats? For many enterprises, the best way to find out is to attack yourself first, or hire somebody to do so. A good penetration test may spot security vulnerabilities before attackers do.

The issue is that our standard security product lineup focuses on the Internet as an attack vector, but that's not the only way in. A determined attacker can break in by gaining the cooperation of an insider or even through physical access to your buildings. To really test your defenses, you need to attempt penetration via all of these methods.

In the past, penetration test customers were typically limited to institutions, such as banks and government agencies, that had both large amounts of sensitive data and the resources to fund specialized tests. These days, there's a greater awareness of and interest in penetration testing. Some companies use internal assets, others bring in an outsider to rattle IT's cages.

"The two main drivers behind penetration testing achieving more mainstream recognition are the PCI Data Security Standards and boardroom attention," says Nick Selby, managing director of Trident Risk Management, a security consulting firm that conducts assessments. Other compliance standards, such as HIPAA, also carry pen test requirements. Penetration tests conducted by third parties are the norm, but there is a do-it-yourself option thanks to automated pen testing products from vendors such as Core Security Technologies, Immunity, and Rapid7. Open source tools are also available for companies that want to build their own pen test kits.

The Human Factor

A true penetration test involves far more than a scan and a report. Steve Stasiukonis, VP of Secure Network Technologies and a pen tester for more than a decade, says scannable network components are only one of three elements that must be evaluated.

"People, process, and technology are all part of a thorough test," Stasiukonis says. "Of the three, people are the weakest link, and a good pen tester will perform reconnaissance that determines what's needed to get past your people and into your systems."

We all know that employees with weak passwords are weak links. But there's much more to social engineering, in which the attacker gains a target's trust, which can then be exploited. Social engineering attacks are often used to gain physical access to a building or sensitive location. For instance, Stasiukonis and his colleagues will disguise themselves as service technicians--complete with uniforms and logo-emblazoned van--to gain physical entry into a client's business.

InformationWeek: May 24, 2010 Issue To read the rest of the article, download a free PDF of InformationWeek magazine
(registration required)

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.