Author Archives: Alexander Leonov

About Alexander Leonov

Hi! My name is Alexander and I am an Information Security Automation specialist. You can read more about me here. Currently, the best way to follow me is my Telegram channel @avleonovcom. I update it much more often than this site. If you haven't used Telegram yet, give it a try. It's great. You can also discuss my posts or ask a question at @avleonovchat.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday May 2020: comments from VM vendors, promising stuff for phishing, troubles with SharePoint and lulz with Visual Studio

This will be my third Microsoft Patch Tuesday report in video and audio format. And for the third time in a row, Microsoft has addressed over a hundred vulnerabilities. With my Microsoft Patch Tuesday parser, it was possible to generate a report almost on the same day. But, of course, it takes much more time to describe the vulnerabilities manually.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday May 2020
  • All vulnerabilities: 111
  • Critical: 16
  • Important: 95
  • Moderate: 0
  • Low: 0

Last time I complained that different VM vendors release completely different reports for Microsoft Patch Tuesday. This time I decided that it’s not a bug, but a feature. I upgraded my script to not only show vulnerabilities, but also show how these vulnerabilities were mentioned in the reports of various VM vendors (Tenable, Qualys, Rapid7 and ZDI). In my opinion, it seems pretty useful.

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Anti-Phishing process with advanced phishing attacks simulation

This time I want to write about the service of my friends from Antiphish. They call it “security awareness and employee behaviour management platform”. Simply put, they teach company employees how to detect and avoid phishing attacks.

By the way, they are great guys, made a demo for me, prepared custom templates, like in real PoC for a corporate client. Thanks so much for the excellent work!

The main idea

When you sign in to the Antiphish interface, you see the dashboards with information about the people who studied security courses, were tested during the course and were checked using emulated phishing attacks (some of these attacks are amazing, and I’ll show them at the end). This is the main idea. How can you protect your organization from phishing attacks? Educate people and constantly provoke them. Not just to send an email and see the employees who visited your “malicious” website. No, there should be a process!

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday April 2020: my classification script, confusing RCE in Adobe Type Manager and updates for older vulnerabilities

Easiest task ever?

Making the reviews of Microsoft Patch Tuesday vulnerabilities should be an easy task. All vulnerability data is publicly available. Even better, dozens of reviews have already been written. Just read them, combine and post. Right?

Microsoft Patch Tuesday April 2020: my classification script, confusing RCE in Adobe Type Manager and updates for older vulnerabilities

Not really. In fact it is quite boring and annoying. It may be fun to write about vulnerabilities that were already used in some real attacks. But this is a very small part of all vulnerabilities. What about more than a hundred others? They are like “some vulnerability in some component may be used in some attack (or may be not)”. If you describe each of them, no one will read or listen this.

You must choose what to highlight. And when I am reading the reports from Tenable, Qualys and ZDI, I see that they choose very different groups of vulnerabilities, pretty much randomly.

My classification script

That’s why I created a script that takes Patch Tuesday CVE data from microsoft.com and visualizes it giving me helicopter view on what can be interesting there. With nice grouping by vulnerability type and product, with custom icons for vulnerability types, coloring based on severity, etc.

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AVLEONOV Podcast

I finally launched my own podcast. 🥳 These are the audio tracks from my videos with some minimal changes, but it may be more convenient for someone to follow me this way. You can try to find my podcast in your podcast player by searching for “avleonov” (well, at least it works in Podcast Addict) or add it with the direct URL https://avleonov.com/podcast/feed.xml.

AVLEONOV Podcast

And here is what I recently learned about podcasting.

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday March 2020: a new record was set, SMBv3 “Wormable” RCE and updates for February goldies

SMBv3 “Wormable” RCE

Without a doubt, the hottest Microsoft vulnerability in March 2020 is the “Wormable” Remote Code Execution in SMB v3 CVE-2020-0796. The most commonly used names for this vulnerability are EternalDarkness, SMBGhost and CoronaBlue.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday for March 2020: a new record was set, SMBv3  "Wormable" RCE and updates for February goldies

There was a strange story of how it was disclosed. It seems like Microsoft accidentally mentioned it in their blog. Than they somehow found out that the patch for this vulnerability will not be released in the March Patch Tuesday. So, they removed the reference to this vulnerability from the blogpost as quickly as they could.

But some security experts have seen it. And, of course, after EternalBlue and massive cryptolocker attacks in 2017, each RCE in SMB means “OMG, this is happening again, we need to do something really fast!” So, Microsoft just had to publish an advisory for this vulnerability with the workaround ADV200005 and to release an urgent patch KB4551762.

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Parsing Nessus v2 XML reports with python

Upd. This is an updated post from 2017. The original script worked pretty well for me until the most recent moment when I needed to get compliance data from Nessus scan reports, and it failed. So I researched how this information is stored in a file, changed my script a bit, and now I want to share it with you.

Previous post about Nessus v2 reports I was writing mainly about the format itself. Now let’s see how you can parse them with Python.

Please don’t work with XML documents the same way you process text files. I adore bash scripting and awk, but that’s an awful idea to use it for XML parsing. In Python you can do it much easier and the script will work much faster. I will use lxml library for this.

So, let’s assume that we have Nessus xml report. We could get it using Nessus API (upd. API is not officially supported in Nessus Professional since version 7) or SecurityCenter API. First of all, we need to read content of the file.

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Forrester report for Rapid7: number juggling and an excellent overview of Vulnerability Management problems

I recently read Forrester’s 20-page report “The Total Economic Impact™ Of Rapid7 InsightVM“. It is about the Cost Savings And Business Benefits that Vulnerability Management solution can bring to the organizations.

Forrester report for Rapid7

In short, I didn’t like everything related to money. It seems like juggling with numbers, useless and boring. But I really liked the quotes from customers who criticized existing Vulnerability Management solutions, especially the low quality of the remediation data. These are the real pain points of Vulnerability Management process.

How did Forrester count money?

Forrester interviewed five existing customers of Rapid7 and created a “composite organization”.

This “composite organization” has 12,000 IT assets and spends $223,374 per year on Rapid7 InsightVM ($670,123 for 3 years) including integrations and trainings costs. That means $18 per host. Well, quite a lot, especially when compared to unlimited Nessus Professional for just $2,390 per year. A wonderland of Enterprise Vulnerability Management. 🙂

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