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)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-16632
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
A XSS Vulnerability in /uploads/dede/action_search.php in DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 allows an authenticated user to execute remote arbitrary code via the keyword parameter.
CVE-2021-32073
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 contains a CSRF vulnerability that allows a remote attacker to send a malicious request to to the web manager allowing remote code execution.
CVE-2021-33033
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The Linux kernel before 5.11.14 has a use-after-free in cipso_v4_genopt in net/ipv4/cipso_ipv4.c because the CIPSO and CALIPSO refcounting for the DOI definitions is mishandled, aka CID-ad5d07f4a9cd. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2021-33034
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
In the Linux kernel before 5.12.4, net/bluetooth/hci_event.c has a use-after-free when destroying an hci_chan, aka CID-5c4c8c954409. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2019-25044
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The block subsystem in the Linux kernel before 5.2 has a use-after-free that can lead to arbitrary code execution in the kernel context and privilege escalation, aka CID-c3e2219216c9. This is related to blk_mq_free_rqs and blk_cleanup_queue.