SEI Insights


Vulnerability Insights

In May 2010, CERT released the Basic Fuzzing Framework, a Linux-based file fuzzer. We released BFF with the intent to increase awareness and adoption of automated, negative software testing. An often-requested feature is that BFF support the Microsoft Windows platform. To this end, we have worked to create a Windows analog to the BFF: the Failure Observation Engine (FOE). Through our internal testing, we've been able to help identify, coordinate, and fix exploitable vulnerabilities in Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Autonomy, and Apple software, as well as many others. Our office shootout post is a good example of this testing.

Hello this is Jonathan Spring. Recently, Leigh Metcalf and I uncovered some interesting results in our continuing work on properties of the Domain Name System (DNS). Our work involves an unconventional use of CNAME (canonical name) records. Besides an IP address, CNAME records are the only other location a domain may have in the DNS. Instead of an IP address, a CNAME record is a redirection or alias service that points to another name.

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?