Category Archives: Productology

Psychological Aspects of Vulnerability Remediation

In my opinion, Remediation is the most difficult part of Vulnerability Management process. If you know the assets in your organization and can assess them, you will sooner or later produce a good enough flow of critical vulnerabilities. But what the point, if the IT team will not fix them?

Kübler-Ross model and Tsunami of Vulnerability Tasks

Kübler-Ross model and Tsunami of Vulnerability Remediation Tasks

Just think about it. The only thing that your colleagues from  IT team see is an unexpected  tsunami of the patching tasks. They most likely don’t understand WHY they should do it. They most likely don’t know about the concepts of Attack Surface minimization and Attack Cost maximization. From their point of view it’s just some stupid requirements from InfoSec team imposed with only one goal – to make their life miserable.

So, they may think that denial and pushing back can solve all their problems. And, frankly, this may work. There are countless ways to sabotage Vulnerability Remediation. Most main and common are the following:

  • I don’t understand how to patch this.
  • I already patched this, there should be a false positive in the scanner.
  • Why should we patch this? The vulnerability is not exploitable. Or it is exploitable in theory, but not exploitable in our particular infrastructure. Or this server is not critical and, even if it will be compromised, there won’t be a huge impact. So, we will not patch it.

In each individual case Vulnerability Analyst can describe and proof his point, but doing this for each vulnerability will require insane amount of time and efforts and will paralyze the work. It is basically the Italian strike or work-to-rule.

Continue reading

Making Expect scripts for SSH Authentication and Privilege Elevation

Expect can help you to automate interactive console applications. For example, expect script can go to some Linux host via SSH with password authentication, make additional authentication procedures (su, sudo) to elevate privileges and execute some commands. Like Vulnerability and Compliance management products do during the active Linux scanning, right? 🙂 For example you can get the list of installed packages and make Vulnerability Assessment without Vulnerability Scanner.

Expect SSH exec

Actually, the tool is pretty old. It was presented more than 20 years ago! And perhaps now it makes more sense to use python scripts, for example paramiko with paramiko-expect. Or even use some software provisioning tool, like Ansible. But my fun was in creating (generating?) a small old-school scripts that could be sent to any remote host (with expect installed) to gather information from the accessible hosts.

Continue reading

Retrieving IT Asset lists from NetBox via API

A little bit more about IT Asset Inventory of Internal Network, that your IT team can provide. 😉

I have recently worked with NetBox – an open source IP address management (IPAM) and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution developed by well-known cloud hosting provider DigitalOcean.

NetBox api

It’s not really about security, not even a CMDB. But, security team still might be interested in NetBox, because it makes possible to track the hosts in some critical subnet without active scanning, providing great visibility of assets. Here I will show a small example of NetBox API usage.

Continue reading

Assessing Linux Security Configurations with SCAP Workbench

Recently I had a chance to work with OpenSCAP. It’s a set of free and open-source tools for Linux Configuration Assessment and  a collection security content in SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) format.

In this post I will write about SCAP Workbench. It is a GUI application that can check the configuration of your local Linux host (or the remote host via ssh; note that agent installation is required), and show the settings that are not comply with some security standard, for example PCI DSS or DISA STIG.

SCAP Workbench PCI DSS CentOS7 localhost

Moreover, you can generate the script for automated remediation. You can also create your own scan profiles based on existing  SCAP content.

Continue reading

CyberThursday: Asset Inventory, IT-transformation in Cisco, Pentest vs. RedTeam

Two weeks ago I was speaking at a very interesting information security event – CyberThursday. This is a meeting of a closed Information Security practitioners group. The group is about 70 people, mainly from the financial organizations, telecoms and security vendors.

CyberThursday 2018 Asset Inventory

These meetings have a rather unique atmosphere. Almost everyone knows each other. The event has no permanent place. It constantly moves between the offices of large Russian companies. The hoster, usually a CISO, can bring his IT and InfoSec colleagues. For others, only “bring a friend” format is available. This helps keep the event focussed and very informal. Participants propose and approve the topics by voting in the chat group. There is no place for marketing, all topics are practical and relevant.

Continue reading