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While there are many articles directed at assessors and consultants on “what not to do” during a penetration assessment, I haven’t seen many blogs directed towards what things clients should avoid when preparing for a penetration assessment. I wanted to address this topic, and share from experience, pitfalls that can often hinder the progress and quality of a penetration assessment.What is a "Penetration Assessment"?
Penetration assessments are a way to identify an organization’s risks by simulating common threats. These assessments can target a wide range of scenarios; such as, external service attacks, insider threats, social engineering and physical intrusion. Once these vulnerabilities have been identified and exploited, that information is then compiled into a report and passed on to the client for... read more >
Earlier this year, a friend (5tubb0rn) and I toyed around with some ideas at a local hacker workspace. I had been using a Proxmark/BishopFox build to steal proximity badges during some of our Professional Security Services on-site Social Engineering Assessments and covert Physical Security Assessments. The Proxmark/BishopFox build was handy in that I didn’t have to bump into anyone in order to snag their badge for replication. The only problem I’ve had with this device is the size – it is a garage badge reader after all, and about the size of a laptop. There are smaller devices out there but we wanted to create something from scratch, utilizing a Raspberry Pi and some plug-and-play sensors that could be easily hidden by someone in the guise of a contractor. So, the two of us came up with a... read more >
The Agile Movement
In my previous blog, Developing a Strong Application Security Program: Part 1, I looked at aspects of a successful application security program as it pertains to a more traditional waterfall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). In part two of this series, I’ll focus more on an agile-based SDLC and options for implementing a successful application security program.
Let’s briefly describe some of the differences between a traditional waterfall SDLC and agile SDLC. In a waterfall SDLC, there are clear project objectives through each phase of development. Typically, each project consists of several phases: planning, design, coding, and finally testing. Security teams are injected into the phases and should have sign-off authority on each phase before the project continues to the next. I detailed security’s role in this... read more >
#WarStoryWednesday: so many hosts, so little time
Every now and then, while performing a penetration assessment, we’ll get a large set of hosts considered in scope. This is often a nice change of pace from the compliance-based penetration assessment where the scope is smaller and more focused on the Cardholder Data Environment (CDE). With the larger scope, we can come a bit closer to simulating an actual attacker from the perspective of the internal network. I say closer because as security consultants we are still limited by time, often only having a week to perform an assessment. If the scope is big enough, we will typically send two or more consultants. This blog will detail just one of those assessments and will hopefully give insight into effective time management for large scopes that offer more than one method of compromise.Background
Let me set up the scenario a bit. My co-worker Adam Steffes and I were tasked with performing an assessment with... read more >
As a Security Consultant for NTT Security (US), Inc. Professional Security Services, I have the privilege of witnessing many application security programs. I see programs that work great, are healthy, and handle risk management very well. Then there are programs that have either missed the mark completely, or are healthy but have some maturing to do.
In this blog I’ll be focusing on organizations or development teams that use a more traditional “waterfall” style approach to application development. I’ll attempt to identify traits of a healthy application security program in order to provide ideas for programs that could use some maturing. If your organization uses a more modern “agile,” “iterative,” or “kanban” style of development we will address those specific challenges in Part 2 of the series.
I’m sure many of us have heard that successful... read more >
Several Penetration Testing assessments that I’ve worked on lately, as a Security Consultant for Solutionary Professional Security Services, have really made me think about the challenges organizations face within corporate information security programs. Recently, the biggest issue I’ve seen has to do with risk management, legacy applications, and network protocols that assist users requesting resources on the network or Internet. I’ve been finding a specific vulnerability that should not exist on any network, even those supporting legacy applications. It seems that alternative solutions for supporting those applications, however, may be pretty scarce.
So what can a business do to mitigate the risk associated with supporting legacy applications until those applications can be upgraded? In order to answer this question, let’s first look at a recent assessment... read more >
On nearly every assessment I have performed, I have been able to piggyback my way into target buildings and sensitive areas. If you walk in with confidence and even attempt to “badge in,” most employees will pay little attention to the error sound or the red light of an illegitimate swipe. So, to the unaware, you can easily pass as an authentic employee as long as you look the part and appear to have the right badge; especially at a facility with a large employee body.
Using this technique, it is often inevitable that you will encounter a security guard, especially in the lobby area. If an area with a guard is unavoidable, I will wait for a guard to become engaged in conversation with another employee, receive a phone call sign for a delivery or become distracted in some other way in order to take advantage of the distraction. In my experience, a security guard will also pay little attention to the color of the light or... read more >