Tag Archives: Linux

My thoughts on the “2021 Gartner Market Guide for Vulnerability Assessment”. What about the quality?

The Gartner Vulnerability Management Reports are one of the few marketing reports that I try to read regularly. This started back in the days when I was working for a VM vendor doing competitive analysis. Gartner is one of the few organizations that think about Vulnerability Assessment and Vulnerability Management and clearly articulate where we are and where we are going.

I got a free reprint of “2021 Gartner Market Guide for Vulnerability Assessment” from the Tenable website. Thanks a lot to them for that.

Let’s start with what I liked:

  1. It’s great that Gartner has made vulnerability prioritization technology (VPT) a separate class of solutions, that do not detect vulnerabilities themselves, but work with them. For example, Kenna or my Vulristics. And it could be additional functionality like Tenable VPR.
  2. I liked the focus on EDR as a promising VM replacement. Especially, Microsoft solutions (Defender for Endpoint or as was mentioned in the report Microsoft’s Threat & Vulnerability Management, TVM).
  3. It’s nice that various areas related to Vulnerability Management have been mentioned: Pentest, Bug Bounty, Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS).
  4. An interesting diagram that shows that VA is primarily about “Assess” and “Asset Management”, VPT is primarily about “Prioritize” and “Workflow Management”, BAS is primarily about “Compensate” and “Security Controls”.

Now what I didn’t like. I have one pain point – the quality of the scanning. And here, on the one hand, something was said, but on the other, it was not enough and not as definite as I would like. Market Direction is the most interesting section of the document. And it was the most painful to read.

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AM Live Vulnerability Management Conference Part 2: What was I talking about there

Hello all! It is the second part about AM Live Vulnerability Management conference. In the first part I made the timecodes for the 2 hours video in Russian. Here I have combined all my lines into one text.

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability Management process is the opposite of the admin’s saying “If it works – don’t touch it!”. The main idea of this process is to somehow fix the vulnerabilities. How do you achieve this is not so important. Maybe you will have a nice Plan-Do-Check-Act process and strict policies. Maybe not. The main thing is that you fix vulnerabilities! And the main problem is to negotiate this regular patching with system administrators and service owners.

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Vulners Linux Audit API for Host Vulnerability Detection: Manual Auditing, Python Scripting and Licensing

Hello everyone! This episode will be about Vulners Linux Audit API, which allows you to detect vulnerabilities on a Linux host knowing only the OS version and installed packages. I had a similar post about this 4 years ago, but some details have changed, so I came back to this topic.

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CentOS 8 with IceWM Desktop Environment

Do you need CentOS 8 with IceWM as desktop Operating System? Most likely not. Especially if you want it to work smoothly without any worries and troubles. However, if you enjoy playing with new desktop environments, you might find it fun.

CentOS 8 with IceWM desktop environment

My reasons were as follows:

  1. I wanted to use the same Linux distribution for server and desktop. Just to minimize possible surprises during the deployment.
  2. I wanted to know what is going on in the RPM-based part of Linux world. The only way to achieve this is to use such distribution every day.
  3. I was tired of problems with the Virtual Box guest additions in CentOS 7 (yes , I run it all as a virtual machine), especially after the 3.10 kernel updates. It was time to move on.
  4. I didn’t want to use Gnome 3, because it’s slow and ugly (however it’s fully functional!). And there were no other DEs in CentOS 8 repositories at that time.

So, I tried CentOS 8 with IceWM (installed it from source) and it worked. IceWM is small, very fast, ascetic, and in some ways quite intuitive. There were some problems with the clipboard (in xTerm and with VBox shared clipboard) and with language switching, but I figured it out and I think that I would probably continue to use it. Below are some notes on how I installed it and resolved the issues.

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Barapass console Password Manager

I decided to publish my simple console Password Manager. I called it barapass (github). I’ve been using It for quite some time in Linux and in Windows (in WSL). Probably it will also work natively in Windows and MacOS with minimal fixes, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Barapass logo

Why do people use password managers?

Well, with password manager it’s possible to avoid remembering passwords and make them arbitrarily complex and long. And no one will be able to brute force them. Of course, you can simply store passwords in text files, but password managers are better than this because:

  • no one will see your password over your shoulder;
  • if an attacker gains access to the files on your host, it won’t possible to read your passwords from the encrypted file or storage (well, ideally);
  • it’s easier to search for objects in the password manager and copy values from it.

I wanted something as simple as editing a text file with the key-value content. And I wanted it to be stored in a secure manner, and security could be easily checked, “simple and stupid”.

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Vulnerability Management vendors and Vulnerability Remediation problems

It’s not a secret, that Vulnerability Management vendors don’t pay much attention to the actual process of fixing vulnerabilities, that they detect in the infrastructure (Vulnerability Remediation). Although it seems to be the main goal of VM products: to make vulnerabilities fixed and whole IT infrastructure more secure, right?

In fact, most of VM vendors see their job in finding a potential problem and providing a link to the Software Vendor’s website page with the remediation description. How exactly the remediation will be done is not their business.

Vulnerability Management vendors and Vulnerability Remediation

The reason is clear. Remediation is a painful topic and it’s difficult to sell it as a ready-made solution. And even when Vulnerability Vendors try to sell it this way, it turns out pretty ugly and does not really work. Mainly because the Remediation feature is sold to the Security Team, and the IT Team will have to use it.

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Can a Vulnerability Scan break servers and services?

The most serious problem of Vulnerability Scanners is that they are too complex and unpredictable. Usually they don’t affect the target hosts, but when they do, welcome to hell! And if you scan huge infrastructure, tens thousands hosts and more, it’s not “if” the scanner will break the server it’s “when” it will do it.

As a responsible person for Vulnerability Management you will be also responsible for all the troubles that VM product can make in the IT infrastructure. And what will you say to the angry mob of your colleagues from IT and Business when they will be quite curious to know why did the service/server go down after the scan? Actually, it’s not much to say.

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