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Ron Gula

Blog Post
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We often hear about vulnerabilities in client software, such as web browsers and email applications, that can be exploited by malicious content. The repeated stories about botnets, infected web sites, and viruses which infect us with malicious documents, movies, and other content have ingrained the concept of an exploitable client in our minds. Unfortunately, client software can also be targeted with attacks from compromised servers accessed by the clients, and some client software actually listens for connections. In this blog entry, we will discuss auditing client software for vulnerabilities and describe the three different types of client-side exploits and how they can impact the risk of your network.

Blog Post
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cross referencing the results of your vulnerability scans with the list of public exploits helps identify likely targets for authorized penetration testing teams. Removing these vulnerabilities significantly raises the value of a penetration test since the team will have to work much harder to find issues that aren’t found through automation. There are many subtle issues to consider when correlating available exploits with vulnerabilities. In this blog entry, we’ll highlight these issues by considering exploit correlation with attacks available from the Metasploit project, Core, and Immunity with the results of a very large Nessus scan of several thousand web servers.

Blog Post
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

With Nessus 5, the results from a single vulnerability scan can be filtered to show which hosts have ancient vulnerabilities, which hosts aren’t being managed, and also which hosts have been exploitable for long periods of time. This blog entry discusses the new Nessus 5 filters, how they can be used to track high-risk vulnerabilities, and how enterprise users of Tenable SecurityCenter can leverage these filters for dashboards and asset-based reporting.

Blog Post
Monday, February 13, 2012

Penetration tests are typically a point-in-time exercise to determine if a remote adversary or malicious insider can compromise systems that contain sensitive data. Most organizations do not conduct penetration tests on a daily basis. Instead they schedule them annually, quarterly, or in some cases monthly. Penetration tests procured on a consulting engagement are often limited to key systems and assets rather than the entire network of systems. This diminishes the value of the penetration test as the results quickly become outdated and may not be relevant to new systems or recent network changes. However, by correlating the availability of exploits with a continuous monitoring program to identify vulnerabilities, an organization can have a better idea of how “exploitable” they are on a real-time basis.

Blog Post
Monday, January 30, 2012

Note -- this blog was updated on Feb 2, 2012 to highlight detection of the Symantec advisory SYM12-002 as well as new additional Nessus local checks to audit pcAnywhere installations. With the recent news from Symantec that their source code theft has left pcAnywhere open to attack, it makes sense to audit your network for instances of this desktop sharing software. Nessus has many checks that identify the presence of pcAnywhere, the type of network access supported by it, and some vulnerabilties in the application. A current list is shown below for reference: 10006 Symantec pcAnywhere Status Service Detection (UDP) 10794 Symantec pcAnywhere Detection (TCP) 10798 Symantec pcAnywhere Service Unrestricted Access 20743 Symantec pcAnywhere Launch with Windows Caller Properties Local Privilege Escalation 32133 Symantec pcAnywhere Access Server Detection Service 35976 Symantec pcAnywhere CHF File Pathname Format String Denial of Service 57795 Symantec pcAnywhere Installed (local check) 57796 Symantec pcAnywhere Multiple Vulnerabilitities (SYM12-002)

Blog Post
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

IT auditors, penetration testers, and incident responders often ask if a system they are analyzing is managed. A managed system is one that is being looked after, updated and maintained by an IT staff of some sort. An unmanaged system is one that is on the network, but perhaps has been forgotten, isn’t authorized or has some other reason for it not to be there or updated by anyone else. Security findings for managed systems and unmanaged systems are reported differently. For an unmanaged system, the recommendation is to make the system managed and bring it into a secured state. For security issues with managed systems, the recommendation is to alter the current management processes to make them more secure. Unfortunately, there is no “under management” test that can easily be automated. This blog entry will describe some of the different types of data that can be gathered from logs, Nessus scanning and Passive Vulnerability Scanner sniffing that can help identify systems with and without management.

Blog Post
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tenable’s Passive Vulnerability Scanner ( PVS ) performs protocol analysis on network traffic to discover vulnerabilities and log the sessions that have occurred. Unlike network forensic systems which log the actual packets and session content, the PVS creates a single syslog message for each identified network session. These logs are ideal for consumption by a SIEM or log analysis tool such as Tenable’s Log Correlation Engine . This blog entry describes what types of applications are logged and how they can be used for alerting and analysis.

Blog Post
Monday, June 27, 2011

An off-port web server is one that doesn't run on the common ports of 80 or 443. Management consoles, development systems, devices that speak HTTP for their protocol and many other systems can run on any port, typically 8080 or 8443.

Blog Post
Thursday, June 23, 2011

As a vendor, Tenable has to demonstrate compliance in many different types of categories. The Payment Card Industry , the Center for Internet Security and US government's FDCC program all have certification standards and procedures for vendors like Tenable. Since Tenable is certified in most of these these categories (we're in the process of becoming an ASV), I though it would be interesting for our blog readers to share some of our insights into the differences and misconceptions between them.

Blog Post
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recently, I had the chance to work with several larger Tenable enterprise customers who were charged with figuring out what the perimeter of their network really looked like. I showed...

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