Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/2/2009
04:00 PM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Automated Vulnerability Assessment In 2010

Vulnerability assessment is a relatively older technology in the information security professional's arsenal -- so does it still make sense to use it as you plan your security strategy for the coming year?

Vulnerability assessment is a relatively older technology in the information security professional's arsenal -- so does it still make sense to use it as you plan your security strategy for the coming year?An automated vulnerability assessment tool draws a map of the network by how vulnerable computers are, indicated with colors based on the "scare-level" of unpatched vulnerabilities.

From the beginning, these tools seemed amazingly useful and, considering the data they provide, amazingly hard to get results from. But once a network vulnerability map is available, how does an organization go about patching millions, thousands, or just dozens of computer systems, some of which are in production environments?

Getting results often requires a plan, spanning years in the future, where a vast majority of the network would not be vulnerable to known attacks -- a network map of green rather than red.

That achievement is indeed admirable, but is it the right way to go, and is the time spent on this process worth it?

I believe so. But not before other functions are performed: Integrating a patch-management system and updating the operating systems for machines across the board will provide more results more quickly in closing security holes.

Another aspect as to why patch management ought to be done first is that the landscape has changed. When vulnerability assessment systems were first introduced, vulnerabilities on the network were the most commonly used path of attack. Today, multiple attack vectors are commonplace -- email attachments, downloaded infected items from the Web, and social engineering via email and IM are all equal in threat level to network-based attacks. Updating the operating system will do more to help combat some of these widespread common threats than any network scanner will.

Following patch management, establishing or formalizing the process by which new computers are installed and connected to the network will prevent new vulnerabilities from being introduced and for the operating systems to be updated regularly.

And following a risk assessment, updating servers in vulnerable network locations and then starting automated vulnerability assessment on them first is more efficient for the overall security of the rest of the network as well. It can serve as a pilot project for choosing the right system for later and wider deployment.

Then starting the process of vulnerability assessment helps you to find vulnerabilities from applications and discover how your patch management system is working (and what machines are not being updated).

An automated process will help with one aspect nothing else will: discovering when new vulnerable machines are connected to your network so you can do something about it. Then it becomes a sort of incident alert auditing system for you to find infringements and to follow up on them.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/6/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5974
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-08
NVIDIA JetPack SDK, version 4.2 and 4.3, contains a vulnerability in its installation scripts in which permissions are incorrectly set on certain directories, which can lead to escalation of privileges.
CVE-2020-15072
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-08
An issue was discovered in phpList through 3.5.4. An error-based SQL Injection vulnerability exists via the Import Administrators section.
CVE-2020-15073
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-08
An issue was discovered in phpList through 3.5.4. An XSS vulnerability occurs within the Import Administrators section via upload of an edited text document. This also affects the Subscriber Lists section.
CVE-2020-2034
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-08
An OS Command Injection vulnerability in the PAN-OS GlobalProtect portal allows an unauthenticated network based attacker to execute arbitrary OS commands with root privileges. An attacker requires some knowledge of the firewall to exploit this issue. This issue can not be exploited if GlobalProtect...
CVE-2019-19415
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-08
The SIP module of some Huawei products have a denial of service (DoS) vulnerability. A remote attacker could exploit these three vulnerabilities by sending the specially crafted messages to the affected device. Due to the insufficient verification of the packets, successful exploit could allow the a...