Facebook Google Plus Twitter LinkedIn YouTube RSS Menu Search Resource - BlogResource - WebinarResource - ReportResource - Eventicons_066 icons_067icons_068icons_069icons_070

An Evening With a Friend

Several weeks ago, a good friend of my family who is a lawyer for an application hosting company and I were speaking about network security and I brought up Nessus. "Can you scan one of our hosted sites?" he asked. A short while later, especially after asking the right sort of legal questions, we were looking at the results of a non-credentialed Nessus scan for a high traffic web site.

His web site didn't have any "application" content and hosted static HTML web pages. The only odd thing to note was an SSH server found on a very high port.

"Is that bad?" asked my friend.

"Well, it doesn't have any publicly known vulnerabilities." I said.

"So that's good, right?".

I told him I had two thoughts.

First, if the administrator thought to actually put the SSH server on a port other than 22, they might also want to take some extra steps and perhaps lock down SSH a bit tighter, or even mask it from generic access to the Internet. They may have been able to disabled some unneeded functionality of SSH, avoid using passwords or potentially use some sort of firewall or VPN so I couldn't connect to their SSH daemon.

Second, my friend should ask the administrator of that site if they noticed any unauthorized login attempts through SSH or from the other services. Nessus tries all sorts of things to the various services it probes and this activity generates logs in the form of failed login attempts and error messages. If there is any type of monitoring activity ongoing, it should alert on some part of the Nessus scan.

"I had heard them say that SSH was secure." he commented.

I then pulled up all the SSH vulnerabilties and patch audits that Nessus can check for and showed him. He was initially concerned that SSH wasn't secure, period. I had to spend a short bit of time explaining vulnerability life-cycles and how an undiscovered vulnerability can be latent in operating systems and applications right now.

These statements didn't provide much comfort.

On a lark, I showed him some Nessus scans of web sites that had many different types of vulnerabilities. This had the opposite effect I was intending in that he was somewhat comforted by the fact his web site was better off than others.

What I felt was really interesting about our conversation was that we never once mentioned things like CVSS or NSA Best Practice hardening guides. What he really wanted to know was if they were secure or not. Is there something someone on their staff was doing wrong or something else they could do better? Although not an IT or network security practitioner, as a lawyer, he was putting everything in terms of risk to the business which is a good thing.

Subscribe to the Tenable Blog

Subscribe
Try for Free Buy Now

Try Tenable.io

FREE FOR 60 DAYS

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Sign up now.

Buy Tenable.io

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

65 assets

$2,190.00

Buy Now

Try for Free Buy Now

Try Nessus Professional Free

FREE FOR 7 DAYS

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy Nessus Professional

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy a multi-year license and save

Try for Free Buy Now

Try Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

FREE FOR 60 DAYS

Enjoy full access to our latest web application scanning offering designed for modern applications as part of the Tenable.io platform. Safely scan your entire online portfolio for vulnerabilities with a high degree of accuracy without heavy manual effort or disruption to critical web applications. Sign up now.

Buy Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

5 FQDNs

$3,578.00

Buy Now

Try for Free Contact Sales

Try Tenable.io Container Security

FREE FOR 60 DAYS

Enjoy full access to the only container security offering integrated into a vulnerability management platform. Monitor container images for vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations. Integrate with continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) systems to support DevOps practices, strengthen security and support enterprise policy compliance.

Buy Tenable.io Container Security

Tenable.io Container Security seamlessly and securely enables DevOps processes by providing visibility into the security of container images – including vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations – through integration with the build process.

Learn More about Industrial Security

Get a Demo of Tenable.sc

Please fill out the form below with your contact information and a sales representative will contact you shortly to schedule a demo. You may also include a short comment (limited to 255 characters). Please note that fields with asterisks (*) are mandatory.