Archive: 2011-01

Recently George Jones and I attended USENIX Security '11. We hosted an evening Birds of a Feather (BoF) session where we asked a question of some significance to our CERT® Network Situational Awareness (NetSA) group:

Is Large-Scale Network Security Monitoring Still Worth the Effort?

One of the foundational principles behind most organizations' network security practices is still "defense in depth," which is implemented using a variety of security controls and monitoring at different locations in an organization's networks and systems. As part of a defense-in-depth strategy, it has become commonplace for organizations to build enterprise security operations centers (SOCs) that rely in part on monitoring the extremely large volumes of network traffic at the perimeter of their networks. There has been a recent trend toward increased investment in (and reliance on) network monitoring "above the enterprise" in order to simplify sensor deployments, decrease cost, and more easily centralize operations. At the same time, the idea of a well-defined defensible perimeter is being challenged by cloud computing, the insider threat, the so-called advanced persistent threat problem, and the prevalence of socially-engineered application-level attacks over network-based attacks. For an opinion piece about how things have changed, read Rik Farrow's article in the USENIX magazine ;login:.

A few years ago, I published a blog entry called Signed Java Applet Security: Worse than ActiveX? In that entry, I explained the problems that arise when a vulnerability is discovered in a signed Java applet. Let's see how the Cisco AnyConnect vulnerability is affected.

US-CERT Vulnerability Note VU#490097 describes a vulnerability in the Cisco AnyConnect ActiveX and Java clients that allows an attacker to download and execute arbitrary code. The vulnerability note indicates that Cisco has addressed this vulnerability, but what does that actually mean?

Version 2.0 of the CERT Basic Fuzzing Framework (BFF) made its debut on Valentine's Day at the 2011 CERT Vendor Meeting in San Francisco. This new edition has a lot of cool features that we'll be describing in more detail in future posts, but we wanted to let you know that it's available so that you can download and try it.

The CERT Network Situational Awareness (NetSA) team has published an SEI technical report on monitoring web-based threats.

The report draws on related work such as OWASP but comes from a different point of view. While OWASP is focused on developing web applications securely, this report focuses more on situations where you don't have that control, but you need to protect servers and clients from web-based threats. The report may help you answer the following questions:

  • What kinds of network monitoring do you need to do?
  • How do you identify the attacks?
  • How do you prevent them at the network level?

At more than 100 pages, the report is as comprehensive as we could make it and still get it out in a (relatively) timely manner.

Hi, folks. As you can see, we've changed the name of the Vulnerability Analysis Blog to the CERT/CC Blog. With this name change, we're expanding the focus of the blog to include content from other technical teams.

The current RSS and Atom feeds will continue to work, but you may want to update to the corresponding new feed location now (RSS, Atom) in order to avoid any problems in the future.

Past blog entries will continue to be available at the existing URLs.