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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

When Your Vulnerability Scanner Breaks Your Compliance

Posted August 30, 2010    Marc Maiffret

At eEye Digital Security we strive to make sure our Retina Network Security Scanner technology not only has great auditing capabilities for missing patches and misconfigurations, but also for remotely exploitable server vulnerabilities. We have been a pioneer in the space of non-intrusive, unauthenticated, vulnerability checks for many years now. In fact, on more than one occasion competitors have actually “borrowed” our vulnerability check logic within their products. Sometimes this was to the point of us calling these vendors out and making sure they at least give us credit for the work they “borrowed.”

Recently there was a vulnerability found within ColdFusion that would allow for a remote directory traversal attack which you could use to compromise ColdFusion servers. The Retina team worked diligently to develop and release a remote unauthenticated, non-intrusive, audit for this vulnerability (CVE-2010-2861). Now a remote directory traversal attack itself can be tested in a pretty straight forward manner without being intrusive in the sense of crashing a system. There are however many nuances that come into play with auditing for vulnerabilities and these nuances are what can separate the true leaders in vulnerability scanning.

In the case of the ColdFusion vulnerability there are multiple entry points that can be used to exploit a system. In some cases IT environments might have already filtered out, using IDS/IPS, some attack vectors. If a vulnerability scanner only checks for a single attack vector it can miss a vulnerability and mistakenly think the target scan system is secure when it is not. In the case of Retina we actually verify if ColdFusion is vulnerable or not using multiple attack vectors so we give you a clear picture of how vulnerable you are in the same way an attacker would be targeting your organization.

Another nuance as it relates to directory traversal vulnerabilities is in determining what remote file you should access/read across the network in order to determine if a system is vulnerable. One of the most common files we see competitors remotely use in their directory traversal checks is the remote systems password file. To be clear though, when competitors do this they are not simply just verifying if the vulnerability exists by checking for the presence of the password file, but instead they are actually reading the remote password file…or to be more specific they are in essence downloading your servers password file in clear text, unencrypted, across your network. In the case of our audits, such as this ColdFusion vulnerability, we go the extra mile to make sure we do not have to download password files, but instead rely on other files or methods to determine the vulnerability without actually exposing your organization to risk. Not to mention a lot of corporate and government security standards now mandate that passwords cannot be sent in the clear. You would not think your vulnerability assessment product is violating such mandates but in reality a lot of them are every time you audit your network.

At eEye our combination of top notch research and engineering allows us to not only provide vulnerability management solutions that scale, whether it is 50 devices or 5 million, but with the attention to detail in every single audit we create to not only be the most robust but also the most intelligent.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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