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4/8/2015
10:00 AM
Carric Dooley
Carric Dooley
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Some of the Best Things in Security Are Free

Software tools are available from our consultants free of charge.

When our Foundstone consultants are working at customer sites, they sometimes realize that they can perform a task better if they write some code. They might want a tool that scans for vulnerabilities or malware, helps with forensic analysis, or tests security settings.  After the initial proof-of-concept tool is validated, we give them some dedicated time on the bench back in the office to clean the tool up, refine and enhance it, and then we publish it on our site or on the GitHub Open Security Research repositories.

These tools provide a wide range of useful functions, and not just for checking host or network weak points. ProxBrute, for example, tests your physical security by trying brute force attacks on proximity card readers, varying both the tag value and privileges. One of our consultants was running this test at a customer site and the software happened to try the tag of a recently terminated employee who was on a watch list. The security guards came running out, thinking that this former employee had gained access to the data center. Luckily, our consultant had a get-out-of-jail-free card from the CISO! Running similar tests at your site will help validate your physical access protocols.

A cross between network and physical weak points is impersonating a legitimate Wi-Fi access point. The hostapd-wpe tool is an 802.1X authentication server that establishes connections with a laptop or other wireless device and tricks it into giving up its client credentials. Now connected to the laptop, the attacker can act as a man in the middle, redirecting DNS queries, probing for vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, and looking for data to exfiltrate. Or the attacker can use his newly stolen credentials to connect to the real access point and look for further vulnerabilities on your network. Hostapd-wpe is a useful tool for evaluating and improving the security posture of your mobile devices.

One of our popular network tools is JMSDigger, which tests for authentication and identification vulnerabilities of applications using Apache’s ActiveMQ Java Message Service. JMSDigger runs both anonymous and manual authentication checks against your apps, with automated brute force or fuzz-testing of credentials to help find potential weak points. This tool can also impersonate other applications or create new subscribers, topics, and message queues. You can verify broker configurations, test authentications, or dump queues and topics to attempt content extraction. Armed with this information, you can make sure your sensitive apps are properly protected with the necessary configuration settings.

Social engineering is another way that attackers will try to gain access to your sensitive data. Training people to identify and defend against these attacks is made easier with FSflow. This is an automated call-flow application, similar to those used in call centers. You can use this tool to run test calls and log the responses and the information you were able to extract. You can then use this information to customize security awareness training and identify weaknesses in training coverage or user understanding of what should be confidential.

These are just a few examples of the many free security tools available for you to assess your security posture, find and fix potential weaknesses, and advance your defenses against malicious attacks. Protecting your network and data is a continuous task, and these tools make it possible for you to cover more ground, in less time, at no cost.

Carric Dooley has extensive experience leading comprehensive security assessments as well as network and application penetration tests in a wide range of industries across North America, Europe, and Asia. As the Worldwide VP of Foundstone Services at McAfee, part of Intel ... View Full Bio
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