Author Archives: Alexander Leonov

Martian Vulnerability Chronicles

Well, there should have been an optimistic post about my vulnerability analysis & classification pet-project. Something like “blah-blah-blah the situation is pretty bad, tons of vulnerabilities and it’s not clear which of them can be used by attackers. BUT there is a way how to make it better using trivial automation“. And so on. It seems that it won’t be any time soon. Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

I’ve spent several weekends on making some code that takes vulnerability description and other related formalized data to “separate the wheat from the chaff”. And what I get doesn’t look like some universal solution at all.

Pretty frustrating, but still an interesting experience and great protection from being charmed by trendy and shiny “predictive prioritization”.

Martian Vulnerability Chronicles

Literally, when you start analyzing this vulnerability-related stuff every your assumption becomes wrong:

  • that vulnerability description is good enough to get an idea how the vulnerability can be exploited (let’s discuss it in this post);
  • that CVSS characterizes the vulnerability somehow;
  • that the links to related objects (read: exploits) can be actually used for prioritization.

Actually, there is no reliable data that can be analyzed, trash is everywhere and everybody lies πŸ˜‰

Let’s start from the vulnerability description. Great example is the last week critical Linux kernel vulnerability CVE-2019-8912.

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First look at Tenable.io Web Application Scanner (WAS)

When Tenable firstly announced Web Application Security scanner as a part of their new Tenable.io platform, it was quite intriguing. Certainly, they already had some WAS functionality before in Nessus. For example, path traversal check was pretty good. But this functionality was quite fragmental and barely manageable. How Tenable now write in their docs: “Nessus is incompatible with modern web applications that rely on Javascript and are built on HTML5”.

First look at Tenable.io Web Application Scanner (WAS)

That’s why Nessus couldn’t be called fully functioning Web Application Scanning solution. However, Tenable.io WAS is a completely new story. The full description is available on official site. Here I will make a very fast review and give some comments.

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How to make Email Bot service in Python

First of all, why you may want to use such service? Despite the fact that currently there are so many different channels of communication (including various messaging apps), Email is still a default and universal way to do it.

  • Literally every enterprise service supports email notifications, even if it’s integration capabilities are rather limited. So, with Email Bot you can automatically process such notifications.
  • Email is good, simple, reliable and familiar way to communicate with humans. Send an email – get response. Everyone can do it. So, email bot can make basic routine operations, like organizing the external meetings, pretty much like a human secretary.
  • It’s easier to code Email bot than any other interface, and the code can be reused for other communication channels, for example messaging apps.
How to make Email Bot service in Python

I get email messages from IMAP server in python3 using easyimap module.

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Who should protect you from Cyber Threats?

The world is becoming increasingly dependent on information technologies.

  1. Government. More and more states provide digital services for their citizens and rely complex information systems.
  2. Business. There are no more companies that do not have IT infrastructure (on-premises or cloud). IT processes become the most valuable competitive advantages of the companies.
  3. People. The number of active Internet users is steadily growing. People own a large number of connected devices: from desktops and smartphones to smart homes and cars. Electronic payments (bank cards, Apple pay, PayPal, etc.) replace cash and traditional banking tools.

All these information systems make our life easier and more efficient. They also create the need for a huge amount of various software. This software is developed by people. And people tend to make mistakes. Especially when security is not their priority (when speed is a priority, for example). These errors cause large number of vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.

Who should protect you from Cyber Threats?

Regularly, we can hear about exploitation cases that often lead to significant damage. Who should protect us from cyber threats and cybercrime?

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No left boundary for Vulnerability Detection

It’s another common problem in nearly all Vulnerability Management products. In the post “What’s wrong with patch-based Vulnerability Management checks?” I wrote about the issues in plugin descriptions, now let’s see what can go wrong with the detection logic.

The problem is that Vulnerability Management vendors, in many cases, have no idea which versions of the Software were actually vulnerable.

OMG?! How this can be true? πŸ™‚ Let’s take an example.

Each vulnerability at some points in time:

  • was implemented in the program code as a result of some mistake (intentional or not)
  • existed in some versions of the program
  • was detected and fixed

Read more about this in “Vulnerability Life Cycle and Vulnerability Disclosures“.

No left boundary in Vulnerability Detection

Let’s suppose that we have some Software A with released versions 1, 2 … 20.

Just before the release of version 10, some programmer made a mistake (bug) in the code and since the version 10 Software A has become critically vulnerable. Before the release of version 20, Software Vendor was informed about this vulnerability and some programmer fixed it in version 20. Then Software Vendor released a security bulletin: “Critical vulnerabilities in the Software A. You are not vulnerable if you have installed the latest version 20.”

And what does Vulnerability Management vendor? This vendor only sees this security bulletin. It is logical for him to decide that all versions of Software A starting from 1 are vulnerable. So, it will mark installed versions 1 … 9 of the Software A as vulnerable, even so actually they are NOT.

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Retrieving data from Splunk Dashboard Panels via API

Fist of all, why might someone want to get data from the panels of a dashboard in Splunk? Why it might be useful? Well, if the script can process everything that human analyst sees on a Splunk dashboard, all the automation comes very natural. You just figure out what routine operations the analyst usually does using the dashboard and repeat his actions in the script as is. It may be the anomaly detection, remediation task creation, reaction on various events, whatever. It really opens endless possibilities without alerts, reports and all this stuff. I’m very excited about this. πŸ™‚

Exporting data from Splunk dashboard

Let’s say we have a Splunk dashboard and want to get data from the table panel using a python script. The problem is that the content of the table that we see is not actually stored anywhere. In fact it is the results of some search query, from the XML representation of the dashboard, executed by Splunk web GUI. To get this data we should execute the same search request.

That’s why we should:

  1. Get XML code of the dashboard
  2. Get the search query for each panel
  3. Process searches based on other searches and get complete search query for each panel
  4. Launch the search request and get the results

First of all, we need to create a special account that will be used for getting data from Splunk. In Web GUI “Access controls -> Users”.

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Open Positioner: my new project for tracking IT and security jobs

The idea of my new project is to retrieve the data from job-searching websites and provide better filtering, searching and visualization.

I think for the most people who read this, searching for a job in Internet is a pretty common activity. Even if you are not going to change job right now, it might be quite interesting to know what skills are currently the most valuable for your specialization and what is going on on the Global labor market.

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