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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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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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