Tag Archives: vulnerability

The most magnificent thing about Vulnerabilities and who is behind the magic

What I like the most about software vulnerabilities is how “vulnerability”, as a quality of a real object (and the computer program is real), literally appears from nothing.

The most magnificent thing about Vulnerabilities and who is behind the magic

Let’s say we have a fully updated server. We turn it off, lock it in a safe and forget about it for half a year. Six months later, we get it, turn it on. It is the same and works absolutely the same. But now it is also exposed to dozens of critical vulnerabilities that, with some (un)luck, can be exploited by any script kiddie. New important characteristic of the material object appeared from nowhere, isn’t this magnificent? ?

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PHDays 9: new methods of Vulnerability Prioritization in Vulnerability Management products

On May 21, I spoke at the PHDays 9 conference. I talked about new methods of Vulnerability Prioritization in the products of Vulnerability Management vendors.

PHDays9 new ways of prioritizing vulnerabilities

During my 15 minutes time slot I defined the problems that this new technology has to solve, showed why these problems could NOT be solved using existing frameworks (CVSS), described what we currently have on the market and, as usual, criticized VM vendors and theirs solutions a little bit. ?

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Vulnerability Life Cycle and Vulnerability Disclosures

Vulnerability Life Cycle diagram shows possible states of the vulnerability. In a previous post I suggested to treat vulnerabilities as bugs. Every known vulnerability, as same as every bug, was implemented by some software developer at some moment of time and was fixed at some moment of time later. What happens between this two events?

Vulnerability life-cycle

Right after the vulnerability was implemented in the code by some developer (creation) nobody knows about it. Well, of course, if it was done unintentionally. By the way, making backdoors look like an ordinary vulnerabilities it’s a smart way to do such things. 😉 But let’s say it WAS done unintentionally.

Time passed and some researcher found (discovery) this vulnerability and described it somehow. What’s next? It depends on who was that researcher.

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What is a vulnerability and what is not?

It looks like a pretty simple question. I used it to started my MIPT lecture. But actually the answer is not so obvious. There are lots of formal definitions of a vulnerability. For example in NIST Glossary there are 17 different definitions. The most popular one (used in 13 documents) is:

Vulnerability is a weakness in an information system, system security procedures, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited or triggered by a threat source
NISTIR 7435 The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) and Its Applicability to Federal Agency Systems

But I prefer this one, it’s from the glossary as well:

Vulnerability is a bug, flaw, weakness, or exposure of an application, system, device, or service that could lead to a failure of confidentiality, integrity, or availability.

I think the best way to talk about vulnerabilities is to treat them as bugs and errors. Because people deal with such entities more often in a form of software freezes and BSODs. 😉

You probably heard a joke, that a bug can be presented as a feature if it is well-documented and the software developers don’t want to fix it.

Bug, feature and vulnerability

Vulnerability is also a specific bug that can lead to some security issues. Or at least it is declared.

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Guinea Pig and Vulnerability Management products

IMHO, security vendors use the term “Vulnerability Management” extremely inaccurate. Like a guinea pig, which is not a pig and is not related to Guinea, the current Vulnerability Management products are not about the actual (practically exploitable) vulnerabilities and not really about the management.

Guinea Pig and Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability should mean something solid and reliable, something that can be practically used by a malicious attacker or penetration tester.

When (so-called) Vulnerability Management vendors start working with indirect information from third-party about potential vulnerabilities in the software, that were possibly exploited by someone in some unknown conditions, or simply distance from responsibility: “we just provide information from the software vendor; software vendor knows better about the vulnerabilities in his own products”, it’s all falling into to the area of fortune telling and counting angels on the head of a pin.

Hardcore process of identifying weaknesses that real-life attackers can use moves to a boring compliance. For example, as PCI DSS requires, there should be no vulnerabilities above medium level (CVSS Base score > 4). At the same time, no one cares how fair this assessment of criticality is or how real these vulnerabilities are. All the analytics build on such formal data loses its sharpness and practical value.

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F-Secure Radar Vulnerability Management solution

In this blog I am writing mainly about VM market leaders. Most of them are US-based companies. However, there are vulnerability management solutions that are popular only in some particular country or region. About some of them you maybe have not even heard. At the same time, these solutions are rather interesting.

F-Secure Radar Dashboards

Vulnerability Scanner I want to present today, was initially developed by nSence company from Espoo, Finland. It was named “Karhu”, a “bear” in Finnish. In June 2015 antivirus company F-Secure has bought nSense and formed it’s Cyber Security Services department. The scanner was renamed in F-Secure Radar. Not to be confused with IBM QRadar SIEM 😉

Solution structure is similar to Qualys and Nessus Cloud. There is a remote server that provides a web interface: portal.radar.f-secure.com. You can scan your perimeter using the remote scanner. To scan the hosts within the network, you should deploy the Scan Node Agent on a Windows host.

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