24 March 2015

Threats

Posts relating to the category tag "threats" are listed below.

12 December 2014

I'm in a Top 10 List!

I was pleasantly surprised to find my blog mentioned in someone else's top 10 list.

Partial screen capture of the Cooke & Mason '10 Top Cyber Security News & Resources Every Business Should Visit'

Cooke & Mason has published a 10 Top Cyber Security News & Resources Every Business Should Visit. I'm not sure if it's in order, but this blog is listed sixth on the page.

Perhaps I have mentioned "cyber" and "insurance" quite often, but those other references are big names and big hitters.

Posted on: 12 December 2014 at 08:50 hrs

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10 December 2014

Some Other Security Games

If you're not into card and board games like Cornucopia security requirements or Snakes and Ladders risks and controls, why not try a couple of new online hacking games?

Screenshot from the Game of Hacks

Try these:

  • HACKvent 2014 is an online advent calendar with a difference. There are 24 challenges - one each day - which started on 1st December (sorry this is a bit late). All the challenges are available until 31st December, and additional points can be earned for writing up detailed solutions.
  • Game of Hacks tests your application hacking skills as an individual or against someone you know, with beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels.

And back to the physical games, Adam Shostack, inventor of the Microsoft Elevation of Privilege threat modelling card game, edited the OWASP Cornucopia wiki page to add a link to a list of tabletop security games and related resources he maintains. I've ordered a couple of those for the break.

Good luck.

Posted on: 10 December 2014 at 18:48 hrs

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09 December 2014

Application Security At Scale and At Speed

Contrast Security has published a new guide about their ideas about building application security into development processes that are reproducible and can be automated as much as possible.

The title page from Contrast Security's 'Continuous Application Security Handbook'

The authors call this continuous application security (CAS) and unlike traditional approaches, applies continuous real-time security verification. Their Continuous Application Security Handbook describes eight steps to implement CAS. I am interested in this approach, but particularly because it touches on some aspects of application-specific intrusion detection (see my favourite OWASP project AppSensor of which I am a co-project leader). The eight steps are summarised as:

  1. Instrument everything
  2. Make security visible
  3. Take control of security
  4. Implement strong defenses
  5. Know your enemy
  6. Hack yourself
  7. Expect failure
  8. Think security.

In the seventh step "expect failure", the handbooks says "[this] means that you are prepared for a successful attack, are monitoring for attacks, and have captured enough information to make a thoughtful response possible". This includes attack detection and incident response and explicitly recommends AppSensor-like behaviour "applications can and should detect their own attacks" and "attempts to detect application layer intrusions from the outside, typically in some kind of perimeter device, are doomed to failure". Bravo!

In contrast, the first step "instrument everything" describes a different type of application instrumentation. The handbook recommends "sensors run on a continuous basis, verifying both positive and negative security aspects of software" and "positive sensors model correct behavior of an application, whereas negative sensors model vulnerable behavior". In this regard, the process of instrumenting an application for CAS has some similarities with the considerations for adding detection points in AppSensor.

However, AppSensor detection points are designed to log malicious (user) behaviour in order to identify an attack, rather than either correct (development) behaviour or vulnerable (development) behaviour. CAS sounds orthogonal to AppSensor in that it assists the prevention of vulnerabilities, whereas AppSensor helps detect malicious intent before an attacker can identify any vulnerabilities present. And the CAS handbook says "the investment necessary to build and deploy many sensors is often minimal, similar to the effort required to perform a single penetration test for that issue" and "some complex security defenses may require more complex sensors" — rather like AppSensor detection points then too.

Please read the concise 26-page document and consider the ideas yourselves. Registration is required to download the document. See also the presentation AppSec at DevOps Speed and Portfolio Scale and Introducing Continuous Application Security by Jeff Williams at AppSec USA 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Posted on: 09 December 2014 at 07:53 hrs

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05 December 2014

The Problems with Security Badges, Seals and Marks

A paper presented at this year's Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Computer and Communications Security discusses why security-related third-party seals are poor indicators of site security, and how in some cases can actually assist attackers to compromise the web sites.

Partial view of the content in the paper 'Clubbing Seals: Exploring the Ecosystem of Third-party Security Seals'

Problems with one of the privacy seal providers have been in the news recently, and the paper Clubbing Seals: Exploring the Ecosystem of Third-party Security Seals assesses the effect on a web site's security by including a security seal from service providers Norton Secured, McAfee Secure, Trust-Guard, SecurityMetrics, WebsiteProtection (provided by GoDaddy), BeyondSecurity, Scan Verify, Qualys, HackerProof, and TinfoilSecurity.

The paper's authors Tom Van Goethem, Frank Piessens, Wouter Joosen and Nick Nikiforakis examined the guarantees offered by these schemes, and the realities. Their findings were:

  • There is a lack of thoroughness, meaning insecure websites being certified as secure
  • Malware hosted on a certified web site can trivially evade detection
  • Some attacks can be facilitated by the seal scheme
  • Phishing attacks can be aided by the use of seals
  • The seals can be used to help attackers find vulnerable web sites.

The message is to concentrate on building and operating secure web sites, rather than using a seal to create the illusion of security. Application security through the software development life cycle (SDLC).

Posted on: 05 December 2014 at 08:32 hrs

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28 November 2014

Game On at OWASP Cambridge and London

Next week I will be attending two free United Kingdom OWASP events, and providing a full talk at one of them.

Part of the OWASP Snakes and Ladders game board

Cambridge

On Tuesday 2nd December, I will speak for the first time at OWASP Cambridge about OWASP Cornucopia, the ecommerce website security requirement card game. Jerome Smith will present a second talk about a SSL Checklist for Pentesters.

Also at the event in Cambridge I will briefly mention the somewhat less serious application security awareness board game OWASP Snakes and Ladders and will be handing out free copies to everyone attending, kindly paid for by the OWASP Cambridge chapter. We will have time after the presentations to play both Cornucopia and Snakes and Ladders. On the subject of Snakes and Ladders, this week volunteers Yongliang He, Cédric Messeguer, Riotaro Okada and Ivy Zhang have generously translated the game for web applications into Chinese, French and Japanese.

Please register in advance for the free event in Cambridge The meeting will be held in the Lord Ashcroft Building, Room LAB003; 17:00 for a prompt start at 17:30 hrs.

London

On Thursday 4th December, OWASP London is holding its final event of the year in Skype's offices at 2 Waterhouse Square, 140 Holborn, London, EC1N 2ST, 18:00 for 18:30 hrs start. Christian Martorella will be talking about Offensive Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) — the process, techniques and how attackers are using it to prepare their cyber attacks. Afterwards project leader Matteo Meucci will speak about the new OWASP Testing Guide v4.

Then, as in Cambridge, I will mention OWASP Snakes and Ladders, with printed copies available for everyone, but this time paid for by the London chapter.

Please remember to register for OWASP London on Thursday 4th December.

Elsewhere

There are numerous other UK OWASP chapters — join their mailing lists to be informed of future meetings.

Seeking a bigger application security event? In January OWASP London will be organising a cyber security week, and AppSec EU 2015 is being held in Amsterdam next May. The call for research, papers and trainers for the latter are now open.

Posted on: 28 November 2014 at 07:55 hrs

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06 November 2014

OWASP Snakes and Ladders

In a month's time we will probably be in full office party season. I have been preparing something fun to share and use, that is an awareness document for application security risks and controls.

OWASP Snakes and Ladders Mobile Apps

Snakes and Ladders is a popular board game, with ancient provenance imported into Great Britain from Asia by the 19th century. The original game showed the effects of good and evil, or virtues and vices. In this OWASP version, the virtuous behaviours (ladders) are secure coding practices and the vices (snakes) are application security risks. I have created two versions so far:

I created the game to use as an ice-breaker in application security training, but it potentially has wider appeal simply as a promotional hand-out, and maybe also more usefully as learning materials for younger coders. To cover all of that, I use the phrase "OWASP Snakes and Ladders is meant to be used by software programmers, big and small".

OWASP Snakes and Ladders Web Applications

The game might be a useful transition from learning about the OWASP Top Ten Risks and before moving into the Top Ten Proactive Controls in a PCI DSS developer training session for example.

Snakes and Ladders Web Applications is available in German and Spanish, as well as in (British) English. Translations to Chinese, Dutch and Japanese are also in progress. The OWASP volunteers who are generously translating the text and performing proof reading are:

  • Manuel Lopez Arredondo
  • Tobias Gondrom
  • Martin Haslinger
  • Riotaro Okada
  • Ferdinand Vroom
  • Ivy Zhang

Print-ready PDFs have been published - these are poster sized A2 (international world-wide paper sizes). But the original files are Adobe Illustrator, so these are also available for anyone to use and improve upon. OWASP Snakes and Ladders is free to use. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, so you can copy, distribute and transmit the work, and you can adapt it, and use it commercially, but all provided that you attribute the work and if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence.

Just print out the sheet as large as you can make them. It is better to play using a real die and counters (markers), but you can cut out and make these from the paper sheet itself if you have scissor and glue skills.

You can also follow two mock games on Twitter which upload a position image every hour:

Please enjoy and share.

Further information, and all the PDFs and source files, are available on the Snakes and Ladders project website. Please keep in touch by joining the project mailing list.

Posted on: 06 November 2014 at 08:31 hrs

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22 October 2014

Denial of Service Attack Prevalence and Recurrence

I do not often refer readers of the blog to the Akamai State of the Internet report, but the latest edition contains some useful data on denial of service (DoS) attacks.

One of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) data charts from the Akamai State of the Internet report Q2 2014

The 2014 Q2 State of the Internet Report can be downloaded after registration and providing some sales lead information.

The observations on denial of service attacks describes how almost 30% of the ports attacked relate to web applications, and provides a break down of attacks by industry sector for its clients. But of particular interest in the latest report is data on the frequency of repeated attacks against a single organisation.

The report includes much more information on Internet adoption and usage.

The 2014 Q2 Global DDoS Attack Report is also available from Prolexic, now owned by Akamai. There is also a well-designed chart on this page from June showing the nation source and destination of DoS attacks.

Posted on: 22 October 2014 at 18:07 hrs

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17 October 2014

Cost of Cyber Crime for UK Companies 2014

The third annual study of the cost of cyber crime in UK companies has been published.

Partial view of the cover from the Ponemon report ''

This 2014 report from Ponemon Institute is the third annual study of U.K companies, and is based on a representative sample of 38 organisations across industries. Findings for other regions/nations, relating to 257 companies in 7 countries in total, have also been published.

The report describes:

  • Mean annual cost
  • How the cost varies across sectors
  • Types of cyber crime
  • Mitigations
  • Effect of response time on incident cost.

2014 Cost of Cyber Crime Study: United Kingdom can be downloaded for free from HP after registration.

Also of use in this area, an analysis of the value of data and tools/services to criminals was published this month by the Infosec Institute.

Posted on: 17 October 2014 at 07:30 hrs

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01 October 2014

Online Organised Crime 2014

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has published a new report about online organised crime.

Partial screen capture of the cover from European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) report '2014 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (iOCTA)'

EC3 is the focal point in the EU's fight against cybercrime which supports Member States and the European Union's institutions operational and analytical capacity for investigations, and cooperation with international partners.

The 2014 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (iOCTA) (summary findings and recommendations) identifies global trends, a service-based culture, and abuse of anonymisation as the main issues. the recommendations presented relate to activities in awareness, capacity building, training, partnerships, protection and investigation.

Although the data is rather generic for application threats, there is good information for broader risk assessments.

Posted on: 01 October 2014 at 09:10 hrs

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16 September 2014

AppSensor 2x2x2

OWASP AppSensor co-project leader John Melton has published two further AppSensor v2 assets.

Screen capture of the AppSensor 2 web site showing the headings on the user guide section - instrument your application, test and deploy the system, monitor, and tweak as necessary

AppSensor defines how to implement application intrusion detection and automated response.

Website 2.0.0

John has designed, coded and written a new standalone website for AppSensor. It was published on Friday and includes a brief description of the concept, an overview, getting started information and a user guide for the reference implementation. In John's words, the objectives were to:

  • Explain the high level concept in a simple way and point people back to the project site and the book for more detail
  • Give developers a nice entry point to the project - modelled after other framework/library sites
  • Give us more flexibility in how we present the project (not just wiki format)
  • In the future, hoping to have live demos.

I think it succeeds on the first three of these, and I will help if I can with the final statement.

To provide feedback or to contribute, please use the project's general mailing list.

Code 2.0.0 beta

If the new website wasn't enough, John has also been putting in many hours of coding to finish developing the new standalone version AppSensor reference implementation. On Sunday he announced the beta release of version 2.0.0.

The reference implementation currently supports three execution modes:

  • REST web service
  • SOAP web service
  • Local (embedded Java).

John is hoping a final release can be arranged for October/November.

To provide feedback or to contribute, please use the project's code development mailing list.

2x2x2

So the AppSensor project now has a new guide, a new website, and will imminently have a final release of the version 2 code. I am thrilled. I will be highlighting this new code when I speak at the London API event tomorrow evening. If you are attending that, I will have some free printed copies of the AppSensor Guide with me — if you would like one, please ask me a question about AppSensor.

Posted on: 16 September 2014 at 07:58 hrs

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