Programmers are also people who also make mistakes

It’s the first part of our talk with Daniil Svetlov at his radio show “Safe Environment” (or “Safe Wednesday” – kind of wordplay in Russian) recorded 29.03.2017. We were discussing why Software Vulnerabilities are everyone’s problem. Full video in Russian without subtitles is available here.

If we look at who commits, who adds vulnerabilities to the CVE database, they are very different people.

I added manually transcribed Russian/English subtitles to the video:

  • Why vulnerabilities are dangerous for business and for ordinary people?
  • How vulnerabilities appear in programs?
  • How to write code safely?
  • What motivates vulnerability researchers?
  • Vulnerabilities as a first step in writing malicious software

We wanted to talk today about software vulnerabilities. Tell me, what is it all about, why are they dangerous for business, for ordinary people and what are the difficulties with their remediation.

Speaking about vulnerabilities, it’s probably worth to tell how they generally appear in programs.

Let’s say we have a company. This company is developing some software. Some programmers work in it. Programmers are also people who also make mistakes. And if some mistakes that are directly related to the functionality of this application, can be detected quite simply in the testing process…

Are you talking about functional testing?

Yes, it is about functional testing.

QA specialists can quickly find these vulnerabilities, or these problems, these bugs. Some problems can not be detected in such a simple way. For example, some problems related to security.

Why? Because the main task of the programmers: the program should work.

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MaxPatrol 8 installation process

Today I have a great opportunity to write about MaxPatrol 8. For me it is a very nostalgic experience. I worked for many year in Positive Technologies developing this product. And now I can write about it from the customer side.

MaxPatrol is still not very well known outside Russia and CIS, although this product available in English, and has even a Korean localization. So, why not to introduce this product to the readers of my blog? The other reason to write this post is a pretty common opinion, that MaxPatrol is very hard to install and use, and it is the main disadvantage of the product. In fact it is not true.

MaxPatrol 8 loading screen

MaxPatrol is not perfect like any other product. But it’s no more complex than any other enterprise level Vulnerability Management product. It’s my considered opinion after working with a number of other vulnerability and compliance assessment products. GUI may look unfamiliar from the first look, but you can quickly get used to it.

As for the functional capabilities, in some cases it is even difficult to compete with MaxPatrol. Here are the most interesting features:

  1. Advanced White Box assessment:
    • Extended OS inventory
    • Software license control
    • User control
    • Password recovery (hash brute-force)
    • Security checks for running services
  2. Advanced Compliance scanning capabilities
  3. Special assessment modules:
    • SAP ERP
    • SCADA
    • Core telecom networks
  4. Forensic mode – security incidents detection based on event logs analysis

The first blog post will be about MaxPatrol installation.

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Tracking software versions using Nessus and Splunk

Let’s say you have already exported scan results from Nessus or Tenable SecurityCenter to Splunk using HTTP event connector, or in some other way. And you see that some critical software vulnerability was published. For example, this month Jira critical vulnerability. How to find out, do we have vulnerable servers in our infrastructure or not?

Nessus plus Splunk

Of course we can start a new Nessus scan to detect vulnerable hosts. However, Nessus plugin for this particular vulnerability may be released with a big latency and you will not find this vulnerability in your scans. So, it’s may be faster just to search for detected Jira servers in available scan results using Splunk searching mechanism.

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Somebody is watching you: IP camera, TV and Emma Watson’s smartphone

Today I want to talk today about privacy in a most natural sense. You probably have an internet-connected device with camera an microphone: smartphone, tablet, smart TV, ip camera, baby monitor, etc.

– Can it be used to record video/audio and spy on you?
– Of course, yes!
– Only government and device vendor has resources to do it?
– Not really

Somebody is watching you

The sad truth is: most of internet-connected devices have security problems, and, unlike traditional desktops and servers, it’s much harder to patch them. Even if the vendor fixed the issue. The customers, average people, just don’t bother themselves to do it. Each week it’s become easier to access user data and even get full control over device. Hackers and pranksters may do it just for lulz, because they can.

Let’s see it on concrete examples.

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