New Nessus 7 Professional and the end of cost-effective Vulnerability Management (as we knew it)

It’s an epic and really sad news. 🙁

Nessus 7 release

When people asked me about the cost-effective solution for Vulnerability Management I usually answered: “Nessus Professional with some additional automation through Nessus API”.

With just a couple of Nessus Professional scanning nodes it was possible to scan all the infrastructure and network perimeter (see “Vulnerability Management for Network Perimeter“). Price for each node was fixed and reasonable. And you could make your any reports from the raw scan data, as you like it.

Nessus Pro was still were best choice even when Tenable:

  • Cut off master/slave functionality in Nessus and created “Nessus Manager”.
  • Changed API completely during the update from 5 to 6 version.
  • Gradually increased the price from $1,5k to $2,7k per scanning node per year.

But unfortunately it’s not anymore. End of an era.

And what is even more sad is that Tenable does not mention disabling the API and multi-user function in the main Nessus 7 marketing, as it never was, as if it’s not very important. Just look at “Announcing Nessus Professional v7” – not a word  about “API” or users. Only in additional link:

get more information Nessus7

Only there, in the text (not a video) there is an information about removed features.

The nice little things like “Easily transferable license” and “Emailed scan reports and custom report name / logo” do not make it any better.

So, what next?

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Vulners.com vulnerability detection plugins for Burp Suite and Google Chrome

What is the main idea of version-based vulnerability detection, especially for Web Applications? With an access to the HTTP response (html, headers, scripts, etc.), you can get the name and version of some standards web application (e.g. CMS, CRM, wiki, task tracker) or names and versions of software components that this web application uses: web server, libraries, frameworks, and so on.

Vulners plugins for Burp Suite Professional and Google Chrome

Next step is to get all known vulnerabilities and exploits  for this software. This is the typical task for Vulners.com – largest database and security content searching system (see “Vulners – Google for hacker“).

So, guys from Vulners Team made a set of useful regular expressions for detecting software names and versions – https://vulners.com/api/v3/burp/rules.  You can use this rules in your own scripts and if you want something that will work out of the box, you can try existing plugins for Burp Suite and Google Chrome.

In this post I would like to show how the detection rules work, present new Vulners Burp API and vulnerability detection plugins for Burp Suite and Google Chrome.

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Processing .docx and .xlsx files with Python

MS Office documents are probably one of the most inconvenient and poorly formalized data sources. It’s much better to keep all the data in specialized databases or at least in wiki. But in real life, MS Office documents are in active use in nearly every organization. Simply because it is a flexible and easy tool that anyone can use. That’s why it’s important to know an automated ways for processing such files.

Processing MS office files with python

You can easily edit .docx files without any libraries. Technically it’s just a zip archive. So, you can unzip it, make a replacement in the document.xml file and make a zip it again. It’s much better than dealing with old binary .doc files. But there are even more elegant ways.

Let’s says, we need to read data from .xlsx document and generate .docx files based on some existing template. To work with .xlsx files I will use openpyxl python library.

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Atlassian Jira, Python and automated labeling

I have already wrote about Atlassian Jira automation in “Automated task processing with JIRA API“. But all examples there were with using of curl. So, I decided to make one more post about Jira API. This time with python examples and about labeling issues (nice wordplay, right? 😉 ).

Jira Labels and Python

You can use labeles for organizing issues on Jira Scrum and Kanban Boards, Jira Dashboards or just for advanced searching (e.g. labels = "LabelName")

Let’s start from the basics.

How to search Jira issues from your own python scripts?

It’s easy. Send a post request to /rest/api/2/search/ with some JQL expression. Jira server will return first 50 matching issues. If you need more, set a startAt parameter and repeat post requests while the number of issues you requested is less than total number of founded issues (parameter in response).

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Vulnerability Management for Network Perimeter

Network Perimeter is like a door to your organization. It is accessible to everyone and vulnerability exploitation does not require any human interactions, unlike, for example, phishing attacks. Potential attacker can automate most of his actions searching for an easy target. It’s important not to be such of target. 😉

Vulnerability Management for Network Perimeter

What does it mean to control the network perimeter? Well, practically this process consist of two main parts:

  • Assessing network hosts that are facing Internet using some Network Scanner (Nessus, OpenVAS, Qualys, MaxPatrol. F-Secure Radar, etc.)
  • Assessing application servers, e.g. Web Servers, on these hosts using some special tools, e.g. Web Application Scanners (Acunetix, Burp Suite, Qualys WAS, Tenable.io WAS, High-Tech Bridge ImmuniWeb, etc.)

Active scanning is a good method of perimeter assessment. Dynamics of the assets is relatively low, comparing with the Office Network. Perimeter hosts usually stays active all the time, including the time when you are going to scan scanning them. 😉

Most of the dangerous vulnerabilities can be detected without authorization: problems with encryption (OpenSSL Heartbleed, Poodle, etc.). RCE and DoS of web servers and frameworks (Apache Struts and Equifax case)

The best results can be achieved with scanners deployed outside of your network. Thus, you will see your Network Perimeter the same way a potential attacker sees it. But certainly, you will be in a better position:

  • You can ask your IT administrators to add your network and WAS scanners in white list, so they will not be banned.
  • You can check and correlate scan results of remote scanner with (authenticated?) scan results produced by the scanner deployed in your organization’s network and thus filtering false positives.

What about the targets for scanning? How should you get them?

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