Tag Archives: Redhat

Vulnerability Databases: Classification and Registry

What publicly available Vulnerability Databases do we have? Well, I can only say that there are a lot of them and they are pretty different. Here I make an attempt to classify them.

It’s quite an ungrateful task. No matter how hard you try, the final result will be rather inaccurate and incomplete. I am sure someone will be complaining. But this is how I see it. 😉 If you want to add or change something feel free to make a comment bellow or email me@avleonov.com.

The main classifier, which I came up with:

  • There are individual vulnerability databases in which one identifier means one vulnerability. They try to cover all existing vulnerabilities.
  • And others are security bulletins. They cover vulnerabilities in a particular product or products. And they usually based on on patches. One patch may cover multiple vulnerabilities.

I made this diagram with some Vulnerability Databases. Note that I wanted to stay focused, so there are no exploit DBs, CERTs, lists of vulnerabilities detected by some researchers (CISCO Talos, PT Research, etc.), Media and Bug Bounty sites.

Vulnerability Databases classification

For these databases the descriptions of vulnerabilities are publicly available on the site (in html interface or downloadable data feed), or exist in a form of paid Vulnerability Intelligence service (for example, Flexera).

On one side there are databases of individual vulnerabilities, the most important is National Vulnerability Database. There are also Chinese, Japanese bases that can be derived from NVD or not.

On the other side we have security bulletins, for example RedHat Security Advisories.

And in the middle we have a Vulnerability Databases, for which it is not critical whether they have duplicated vulnerability IDs or not.

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Divination with Vulnerability Database

Today I would like to write about a popular type of “security research” that really drives me crazy: when author takes public Vulnerability Base and, by analyzing it, makes different conclusions about software products or operating systems.

CVE Numbers their occult power and mystic virtues

The latest research of such type, was recently published in CNews – a popular Russian Internet portal about IT technologies. It is titled ““The brutal reality” of Information Security market: security software leads in the number of holes“.

The article is based on Flexera/Secunia whitepaper. The main idea is that various security software products are insecure, because of amount of vulnerability IDs related to this software existing in Flexera Vulnerability Database. In fact, the whole article is just a listing of such “unsafe” products and vendors (IBM Security, AlienVault USM and OSSIM, Palo Alto, McAfee, Juniper, etc.) and the expert commentary: cybercriminals may use vulnerabilities in security products and avoid blocking their IP-address; customers should focus on the security of their proprietary code first of all, and then include security products in the protection scheme.

What can I say about these opuses of this kind?

They provide “good” practices for software vendors:

  • Hide information about vulnerabilities in your products
  • Don’t release any security bulletins
  • Don’t request CVE-numbers from MITRE for known vulnerabilities in your products

And then analysts and journalists won’t write that your product is “a leader in the number of security holes”. Profit! 😉

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Vulnerability Assessment without Vulnerability Scanner

This will be a practical confirmation of my thesis from “Vulnerability scanners: a view from the vendor and end user side“: the scanner for one operating system is easy to make. I also want to demonstrate that data collection and data analysis for Vulnerability Assessment may be successfully performed separately. There is no need to take the data directly from the vulnerable hosts, when it is already stored somewhere else, for example in IT monitoring systems.

Assessment without vulnerability scanner

The opacity of data collection and the need to have a privileged account on the remote host, traditionally causes conflicts between IS and IT departments and complicates implementation of VM process.

So, to detect vulnerabilities on our Linux host we need to know what version of the packages contain vulnerabilities, which versions of packages are installed on our hosts, and learn how to compare versions.

How do I know which versions of packages are vulnerable?

Vulnerable versions of packages are listed in official security bulletins:
RHEL – https://access.redhat.com/errata/RHSA-2016:0304
CentOS – https://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2015-April/021064.html
Debian – http://www.debian.org/security/2015/dsa-3197
Ubuntu – http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-2537-1/

CESA bulletin example

Of course, you will need to parse them first. Or you can just download the same content already parsed and presented in JSON format with Vulners.
download CESA bulletins from Vulners
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