Category Archives: Penetration Testing

Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering – Part 3 Monitoring and Social Media Policies

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monitoringThis is the final article in my series on Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering.  This information relates to the main topics from my presentation that I am giving this week at the 7th Annual Ohio Information Security Summit.  For more background information, see part one.  If you missed part two (blogs, message boards and metadata) you can check that out here.  This last article will be about putting together a simple monitoring program/toolkit and creating a social media policy for your company.

OSINT and Monitoring
After reading this series you are probably asking yourself…what do I do will all of these feeds and information that I have gathered?  Much of the information you have found about your company may be pretty overwhelming and you might find there is a ton of noise to filter through to get to the “good stuff”.  The next sections of this article will hopefully help you organize these feeds so you can begin a basic monitoring program.

What do you want to monitor?
This first thing you want to ask yourself…what do you want to monitor and what is most important?  You probably have noticed that it would be difficult to monitor the entire Internet so focus on what is relevant to your company or business.  Also, you want to pay particular attention to the areas of social media that your business has a presence on.  For example, if your business has a Facebook page, LinkedIn group and Twitter account you should be paying special attention to these first.  Why?  These are the sites that you have most likely allowed certain employees to use this form of media for business purposes.  Lastly, keep in mind that choosing what to monitor should be a group collaborative effort.  Get your marketing and public relations people involved in the decision making process.  As a bonus, it helps with making security everyone’s business.

Free tools to aggregate this information
Lets discuss briefly some tools to aggregate and monitor all the information sources you have decided as important.  There are two tools that I will talk about.  Yahoo! Pipes and RSS readers (specifically Google Reader).

1. Yahoo! Pipes
First, what is Yahoo! Pipes?  The best description is probably found on the Yahoo! Pipes main page:

“Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.  Like Unix pipes, simple commands can be combined together to create output that meets your needs:

– combine many feeds into one, then sort, filter and translate it.
– geocode your favorite feeds and browse the items on an interactive map.
– grab the output of any Pipes as RSS, JSON, KML, and other formats.

The great thing about pipes is that there are already many different mashups that have already been created!  If you find one that doesn’t do what you like it to…you can simply copy a pipe, modify it and use it as your own.  Creating a pipe is really easy as well.  Yahoo! provides good documentation on their site even with video tutorials if you are lost.  Everything is done in a neat visual “drop-n-drag” GUI environment.  For example, you could take some of the sites that you find a bit more difficult to monitor, configure them in a pipe and send the output to RSS.  Once you have an RSS feed you can plug this into a RSS reader (like Google Reader) for monitoring.  Here are a few of my favorite pipes (pre-built) that can be used for monitoring:

Social Media Firehose
Social Media Monitoring Tool
Aggregate Social Media Feeds by User & Tag
Twitter Sniffer for Brands
Facebook Group RSS Feed, improved version here

2. Google Reader or your favorite RSS reader
The second part of your monitoring toolkit is to put your Yahoo! Pipe RSS feeds and the other feeds you determined as important and put them into the RSS reader of your choice.  I personally like Google Reader because it’s easy to use and manage.  However, you may prefer a desktop client or some other type of reader…all up to you.

What’s easy and works best?
First, assign someone to look at the information you are monitoring.  This should be someone in your information security department and someone with social media skill sets.  Next, create RSS Feeds from identified sites and utilize Yahoo! Pipes to customize and filter out content if you need to.  Finally, plug these feeds into your RSS reader and set up procedures for monitoring.  When will you check these feeds? What happens if the monitoring person is out?  Is there a backup for this person?  These are just a few of the things you need to think about when putting together these procedures.  There may be many more (or less) depending on your business.  Lastly, for sites you can’t monitor automatically determine manual methods and be sure to build procedures around them.

What is the company social media strategy? Do you even have one?
The first thing you need to do before you create policies or standards around what employees can or can’t do on social media/networking sites (related to your business), is to define a social media strategy.  Without a strategy defined it would be nearly impossible to determine a monitoring program without knowing what areas of social media your business is going to participate in.  This is a very important step and is something that your marketing/public relations/HR departments need to determine before security gets involved.

Internet postings or the “social media” policy
What if you have policies for Internet usage already in your company?  If you do, have you checked to see if they include specific things like social networks?  How about commenting on company news or issues on public social networks?  This is an area where many of the “standard” Infosec or HR policies don’t cover or don’t mention procedures about how employees use this new world of social media.  The other important part is that you need to partner with marketing/public relations/HR to collaborate on this policy.  The design and creation needs to have input from all of these areas of the business, especially these groups because they are going to be the main drivers for the use of social media.  Lastly, what is acceptable for employees to post?  Keep in mind that employees have Internet access *everywhere* nowadays.  iPhones, smartphones, Google phones…employees have these and guess what?  They are most likely using them at work.  How do you know that they are not commenting about company confidential business?  With this new generation of devices…the line between personal and company business will continue to blur. Oh, and this is just one simple example!

Examples of good policies to reference
So where do you go from here?  Create the policy!  The last part of this article has examples of good policies that you can reference when creating your own policies.  There is lots of good information in the following links and you can customize these for your own environment and business situation:

Cisco Internet Postings Policy
Intel Social Media Policy
4 Tips for Writing a Good Social Media Policy
10 Steps to Creating a Social Media Policy for your Company

Remember, monitoring the use of social media and creating policies around them is new and potentially uncharted territory for many organizations.  Hopefully with this series (and the related presentation) will help guide you and your organization to make the right decisions on finding information about your company, creating a monitoring program and working with your business partners to create the right policies for your business.

UPDATE: You can download my slide deck now on SlideShare.

Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering – Part 2 Blogs, Message Boards and Metadata

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message_boardThis post is part two of my three part series on Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering.  This information relates to the presentation that I am giving this week at the 7th Annual Ohio Information Security Summit.  For more background information, see part 1.  Part three will be about putting together a simple monitoring program/toolkit and creating a Internet postings (social media) policy for your company.

Part one of the series discussed ways to gather OSINT on social networks and some of the challenges this creates.  Besides gathering OSINT on social networks there are many more sources of information that company information may be posted on.  These include blogs, message boards and document repositories.  One of the byproducts of finding documents is metadata, which I will explain in more detail below.

OSINT and Blogs
Blogs can be searched via any traditional search engine, however, the challenge with blogs are not necessarily the posts themselves but the comments.  When it comes to blog posts the comments are usually where the action is, especially when it comes to your current and former employees (even customers) commenting on highly sensitive pubic relations issues that a company might be conducting damage control over.  The other point to make about commenting is that employees might be posting things that be violating one of your policies and cause brand reputation problems.  Examples of this are all the countless leaks of profits, downsizing, confidential information and more that the news media reports on.  Wouldn’t be great to be monitoring blogs and their comments to find these things out before they go viral?

Listed below are some of the blog and comment search sites that I recommend you add to your monitoring arsenal which I will talk about creating in part three:

Social Mention (has *great* comment search and RSS for monitoring)
Google Blog Search (great for creating RSS feeds and very customizable)
Blogpulse (has comment search)
BackType (has comment search)
coComment (has comment search)

OSINT and Message Boards
Message boards have always been a great source of OSINT.  Message boards date back before blogs were popular and are still widely used today.  Because there are so many message boards out there that could contain good OSINT you really need to use message board search engines unless you know about specific message boards that you know your employees use (or could).  Good examples of these are job related message boards like or Yahoo/Google Finance discussion forums or groups centered around stock trading.

Here is my list of message board search engines and a few that might be more specific for a company:

Google Groups (always a good choice for creating RSS feeds and very customizable)
Yahoo! Groups
Big Boards (huge list!)
BoardReader (very good search and RSS feeds of results)
Board Tracker (very good search and RSS feeds of results)

More specific:
Craigslist Forums (RSS available)
Vault (job/employee discussions)
Google Finance (search for company stock symbol and check out the discussions)
XSSed (XSS security vulnerabilities)
Full Disclosure Mailing List (Security vulnerability disclosure)

Document Repositories
Something that I have seen more of recently are sites called document repositories.  These sites either aggregate documents found from various sources on the Internet or people can upload their own documents and presentations for public sharing purposes.  These sites are probably my favorite since you will find all sorts of interesting information!  Here is my list of favorites:

*Really good document search engine.  I wish there was better RSS for it but they have an API in which Yahoo! Pipes could probably be used.

Scribd (RSS feed of results)
SlideShare (RSS feed of results)
PDF Search Engine

Great! You found documents.  Now what?
Once you find interesting documents be sure to check out the document metadata.  What is metadata? Metadata is simply “data about data”.  Metadata in documents is traditionally used for indexing files as well as finding out information about the document creator and what software was used to create the document.  It goes without saying that document metadata is a treasure trove of information that could be used against your company.  For example, vulnerable versions of software that can be used for client side attacks, OS versions, path disclosure, user id’s and more can all be viewed through document metadata.

There are lots of good tools to pull out metadata from documents and pictures. With some of these tools it’s even possible to write a script to automatically strip metadata from documents and pictures (start with the script Larry Pesce wrote in his SANS paper below).  However, the best method for removing metadata in my opinion is to make sure it’s removed (or limited) in the first place!  If you are creating a new document make sure you are removing it or not allowing the application to save some of the more revealing things like user id’s and OS/version numbers.  If you want more detail on metadata and how to use some of the tools that are available check out the great paper over at the SANS InfoSec Reading Room titled “Document Metadata, the Silent Killer created by Larry Pesce.  Here is a short list of tools I use (or have used) to analyze metadata:

EXIFtool (my personal favorite! The swiss army knife of metadata tools)
Maltego (built-in metadata transform) (another favorite!)

What’s the deal with brand reputation?
One last point I want to make is about brand reputation.  You may ask yourself, how does brand reputation relate to information security? Why should we care?  I have found it interesting that many of us in information security have been asked to do more research on brand reputation issues because no one else in the company had those types of skill sets to monitor information.  Brand reputation is vital to an organization, even more so in this economy.  Think of the CIA triad…Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability.  All three have aspects that reflect brand reputation.  All of us in information security need to be thinking of brand reputation in our daily job.

Next up in part three
In part three I will talk about setting up a simple monitoring program with the sites and tools I have mentioned thus far.  This will include how to start using Yahoo! Pipes to aggregate many of the feeds I talked about.  I will also conclude with information on how to create a Internet Postings Policy or now better known as a Social Media Policy for your company and why this is more important then ever.

Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering – Part 1 Social Networks

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masked_gather_smUPDATE: You can now download my slide deck from SlideShare.

Next week I will be speaking at the 7th Annual Ohio Information Security Summit on “Enterprise Open Source Intelligence Gathering”.  Here is the talk abstract:

What does the Internet say about your company?  Do you know what is being posted by your employees, customers, or your competition?  We all know information or intelligence gathering is one of the most important phases of a penetration test.  However, gathering information and intelligence about your own company is even more valuable and can help an organization proactively determine the information that may damage your brand, reputation and help mitigate leakage of confidential information.

This presentation will cover what the risks are to an organization regarding publicly available open source intelligence.  How can your enterprise put an open source intelligence gathering program in place without additional resources or money.  What free tools are available for gathering intelligence including how to find your company information on social networks and how metadata can expose potential vulnerabilities about your company and applications.  Next, we will explore how to get information you may not want posted about your company removed and how sensitive metadata information you may not be aware of can be removed or limited.   Finally, we will discuss how to build a Internet posting policy for your company and why this is more important then ever.

Leading up to my talk at the summit this series of posts will focus on several of the main topics of my presentation.  I plan on referencing these posts during the presentation so attendees can find out more information about a specific topic that will be discussed.  I will touch on the following main points in this series: Part 1 – Gathering intelligence on social networks, Part 2 – Gathering intelligence from blogs/message boards/document repositories, Part 3 – Putting together a simple monitoring program/toolkit and creating a Internet postings (social media) policy for your company.

This first post in the series will focus on gathering intelligence on social networks.  The topic of gathering intelligence from social networks will be looked at in two ways.  First, through the eyes of the penetration tester or attacker.  Second, from a monitoring perspective relative to the enterprise and business.

What is OSINT?
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is basically finding publicly available information, analyzing it and then using this information for something.  That something can be extremely valuable from the eyes of an attacker.  For a fantastic overview of how OSINT is used specifically from a penetration testing perspective I suggest you check out the presentation that Chris Gates recently did at BruCON.  Chris goes into detail and provides good examples on how OSINT can be used in gathering intelligence on a network infrastructure as well as how to profile company employees.  All of the techniques Chris talks about should be used in a penetration testing methodology.

Why look for OSINT about your company?
I have found that OSINT is surprisingly often overlooked by most businesses from a security monitoring perspective.  If a company does any monitoring of public information at all it is usually found in your public relations and/or marketing groups.  These groups traditionally don’t look for things that could be used to target or profile an organization.  The same information that is being viewed by your PR/Marketing department needs to be looked at by your in house information security professionals.  Specifically, I suggest people in your information security department with an “attacker mindset” look at this OSINT.  This could be people on an internal penetration testing team or someone involved with the security assessments in your organization.  You should really ask yourself: If you don’t know what information is publicly available about your company…how can you properly defend yourself from attack?

OSINT and Social Networks
Social networks have recently become the 4th most popular method for online communication (even ahead of email) today.  If you are not looking for OSINT on social networks you are potentially missing major and vital pieces of information.  Having said that, searching for OSINT on social networks brings its own challenges and needs to be looked at slightly different then looking at other forms of OSINT.  For example, you might find that searching for information on social networks like Facebook different because there is both private and public information.  Facebook as an example has a built in search feature “behind” a valid login id and password.  Searching Facebook in this manner can yield better results then just going to Google or using a specific social network search engine (I’ll talk more about Facebook below).

1. Social Network Search Engines
There are lots of different search engines that specifically look for “public” information on some of the major social networks.  The disadvantage about these types of search engines is that they only pull public information that can be easily indexed.  Private information like the Facebook example above cannot be indexed without violating the TOS (Terms of Service) even though there are tools like Maltego that can have transforms written to “page scrape” this information (more on that in the Maltego section below). Here is a list of social network search engines that I recommend you check out to search for this type of public information (there are more…this is just the list I use).  While there are other ways to search specific social networks (like or FriendFeed) the list below just mentions search engines that search multiple networks:

Spock (has a search for “private” profile info but is a pay service…haven’t checked that feature out)
Social Mention
WhosTalkin (this is one of my favorites! Lots of socnets included!)
Twoogle (Google/Twitter search combined)
KnowEm Username Check
Firefox Super Search Add-On (over 160 search engines built in)

Don’t forget about photo/video social networks and social bookmarking sites:

Flickr Photo Search”comapny name”&m=text
YouTube/Google Video Search”company name”
Junoba Social Bookmark Search (Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc..)

Pay Services (might be worth checking out):


2. Maltego
Maltego goes without saying…it’s probably the best tool to “visually” show you information found on some of the social networks and the relationships that information has connected to it.  I have found that Maltego works well for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace profiles (publicly available).  The Twitter transforms are probably the highlight since you can dig into conversations as well.  There is also a Facebook transform that was specifically written to search within the Facebook network using a real user account.  However, this transform doesn’t work anymore due to recent structural changes to the way Facebook HTML was coded.  Note that this transform violates Facebook TOS since it did screen scraping but when it did work it was a great way to search status and group updates not available to public search engines!  If anyone wants to help get this transform working again there is a thread on the Maltego forum about it.

Lastly, if you want more information on Maltego and how to use it I suggest checking out the work Chris Gates has done in his Maltego tutorials here and here to learn more.  Keep in mind.  Maltego works great for finding information if you need it for a specific scope, like a pentest.  Maltego even works great if you need to dig a little deeper into something you find on a social network.  In terms of automating a monitoring process, I suggest using Google dorks, Yahoo Pipes!, and other techniques which we will talk about here and in future posts.

3. Google Dorks (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn)
While you can just simply type in your company name into Google and see what comes up…It’s way easier to use a little Google dork action to search for information on specific social networks.  As I stated before, this will only pull publicly available information but you might be surprised what you find about your company just in these searches!  Simply paste these into the Google search bar/window.  Note: change “bank of america” to whatever you like…not picking on bofa but there is a ton of information about them on social networks! 🙂

Facebook Dorks
Group Search: inurl:group (bofa | “bank of america”)
Group Wall Posts Search: inurl:wall (bofa | “bank of america”)
Pages Search: inurl:pages (bofa | “bank of america”)
Public Profiles: allinurl: people “John Doe”

*To search personal profile status updates (unless they were made public wall posts via pages or groups) you need to be logged into Facebook and use the internal Facebook search engine.  Setting your status updates privacy settings to “Everyone” is actually everyone in Facebook.  Rumor has it that next year “Everyone” will mean everyone on the Internet! FTW!

MySpace Dorks
Profiles: inurl:profile (bofa | “bank of america”)
Blogs: inurl:blogs (bofa | “bank of america”)
Videos: inurl:vids (bofa | “bank of america”)
Jobs: inurl:jobs (bofa | “bank of america”)

LinkedIn Dorks
Public Profiles: inurl:pub (bofa | “bank of america”)
Updated Profiles: inurl:updates (bofa | “bank of america”)
Company Profiles: inurl:companies (bofa | “bank of america”)

While these are Google dorks from the top three social networks (Twitter actually has a really good search engine,, which I don’t think needs explaining), you can easily modify these for your own use and even include more advanced search operators to include or exclude additional queries.  The point of using Google dorks is to make it easier to quickly search for information on social networks without going to each site individually.  Still, with most social networks if you want to find private information you either need to login as a user or use some social engineering get the information you want. 🙂

What’s next?
In part three of this series I will talk about how to use Google dorks and various search queries for monitoring purposes.  Once you have the dorks you want to query, it’s trivial to plug these into Google Alerts to create RSS feeds.  Take your feeds and plug them into your favorite RSS reader and you have a simple monitoring tool.  More on this in part 3 including a section on aggregating this type of into and customizing it via Yahoo! Pipes which I like to think as the preferred and most customizable method for monitoring social networks.

Next up…in part 2 I will talk about how to find company information on blogs, message boards and document repositories.  Oh, and sprinkle a little bit of metadata into the mix as well. 🙂

Links from my NEOISF Talk: New School Man-In-The-Middle

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Here are the links for the tools from my talk titled “New School Man-In-The-Middle” that was given at the North East Ohio Information Security Forum (NEOISF). I will update this post with a link to the slide deck on SlideShare by the end of the week. Thanks to everyone for coming out!

Old School!

New School!
Network Miner
The Middler

* Note: …both the new and old school tools provide the pentester with a ton of value! Use them all!

MITM Defense

UPDATE: Click here to view the slide deck.

Maltego 2.0.2 Released with Local Transforms!

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Just a quick blog post about the latest release of Maltego that was just announced. This is great! You can now create custom transforms that will integrate directly with Maltego! This is something that many of us have requested and it’s finally here. From first glance it looks like you can code them in any language as well. Should be interesting to see what the community comes up with in regards to transforms now. I know I have some ideas….

Oh and if that wasn’t enough the pentest entities are now also available locally!

Great work Maltego team! Check out the full announcement here.

What is Maltego if you don’t know about it?
“Maltego is a unique platform developed to deliver a clear threat picture to the environment that an organization owns and operates. Maltego’s unique advantage is to demonstrate the complexity and severity of single points of failure as well as trust relationships that exist currently within the scope of your infrastructure.

The unique perspective that Maltego offers to both network and resource based entities is the aggregation of information posted all over the internet – whether it’s the current configuration of a router poised on the edge of your network or the current whereabouts of your Vice President on his international visits, Maltego can locate, aggregate and visualize this information.”

Read more about Maltego here.

Maltego 2.01 Released

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Looks like the fine folks over at Paterva have released version 2.01 of Maltego. If you don’t know what Maltego is…look here. Check out some of the changes and new features. From the announcement:


* Copy and paste to/from graphs
* Copy and paste to/from text
* Above can also function as “import”
* Zoom to pointer
* Looking glass zoom mode
* Added notch on slider that will return 10,000 entities (if your RAM can stomach it)
* Brought back “Run All Transforms” – you asked for it!
* Cancel transform run (e.g. i clicked on the wrong transform and it’s taking forever while my graph is turning into a green mush, can we please stop this now)
* Easier Mac install


* Authentication proxies now works (including NTLM)
* Cancel on entity export (small annoying fix)
* Transform manager window resizes properly (useful for those on E^3s)
* The dreadful save bug has been fixed (if you never saw it count yourself lucky)

In addition they note the in the upcoming 2.1 version they will be allowing local scriptable transforms! I am really looking forward to this feature as the custom transform creation process will hopefully get a whole lot easier.

Note that the main download page doesn’t have the new package yet so if you want it now you need to get the download links from the forum post here. I would expect the main site updated later today.

Also…the crippled “community edition” is still on the old version for now (updated shortly I am sure). By the way, it’s only $430 USD for the first year, $320 USD per year thereafter for a license of the commercial version…well worth it!

Information Gathering with Maltego

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Last Wednesday I gave a presentation to the Northeast Ohio Information Security Forum on Maltego which is a fantastic tool for information gathering. The presentation focused on a high level overview of the application and how it can be used for all types of security related work including security assessments, investigations and helping find public information about a company or person.

You can download the presentation here. Like I mentioned at the talk you can get more information on Maltego from the Paterva website. If you are looking for a few good tutorials you can check out part one and part two on or

Finally a use for Incognito

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Lets say (hypothetically for the sake of this post) that you were able to exploit the system of a Windows domain admin during a pentest. The goal of this attack? Steal the credentials of the domain admin and continue on with owning the domain. Sure, you could use gsecdump, pass-the-hash and do the same thing…however, Incognito (tool to conduct token passing) is nice when you know a system is vulnerable to an exploit and you want to do everything through a nice Metasploit meterpreter shell. The problem with gsecdump is that it would require you to use psexec to run it remotely on the admin’s system. Depending on the scope of your assessment and if you are trying to be covert, gsecdump/psexec may not be the best idea as you may get noticed by either an anti-virus, HIDS alert or some other detection system on the host, including the admin (don’t get me wrong…gsecdump is a GREAT tool and should be part of any pentest toolkit). So here comes Incognito to help you out in this situation…

How does Incognito work? I won’t go into a ton of detail as you can check out CG’s posts over at Carnal0wnage. He did an awesome two part write up about the tool…in detail…you should check out. Here are the high level steps:

1. Ensure you have the latest Metasploit snapshot. Not by doing an “svn update” either…you have to use Subversion and do an “svn co”. Run msfconsole through this trunk. Be warned that Subversion is picky with proxy servers if you have to deal with that.
2. Exploit system with Metasploit and a meterpreter payload.
3. Follow CG’s posts (linked above)
4. Once you impersonate the domain admin, use the tool in your meterpreter shell to create a domain user and add your new user to the domain admins group (again…follow CG’s posts).
5. Continue on with your domain compromise…rinse and repeat with your next client and/or pentest! 🙂

Building the pentest team skillset

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I saw this post on Hexesec the other day that made me think about all the skill’s that when you put them together could make one kick ass penetration testing team. Note that this is a pretty large list of skills that would be difficult if not impossible for one person to master. However, it gives you an idea of the various skill sets that should be required for a robust, high caliber team.

As a pentester you should be familiar with most of these areas, meaning, you should have working knowledge at a minimum. Of course, reverse engineering and vulnerability development may not be everyone’s forte…but take for example the web application pentester. Reverse engineering and vulnerability development is a skill that can be learned (especially if you have a deep programming and development background). Same goes for wireless penetration testing as someone with a networking background can easily pick this up. Everyone will still have their own specialty but you can still expand on your existing skills to learn new ones.

What’s the point? The more you and your team learn the more valuable you become to your organization, clients and your own career.

The Evolution of Penetration Testing

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Last week GNUCITIZEN posted an article entitled “Tiger Team Operations vs. Penetration Testing”. I personally feel this is a spot on article and is a must read for anyone involved in either tiger team operations or penetration testing. The article focused on three areas in regards to these two types of assessments: quality, pricing and time frames. While these three areas are quite different when comparing a tiger team operation vs. a penetration test I see something more when it comes to penetration testing. I see the penetration test as we know it eventually evolving into tiger team operations.

While we will always need to conduct traditional network and web application penetration tests, clients and employers are asking us to conduct more “unique” assessments. These unique types of assessments include things like social engineering, client-side phishing, physical security reviews, user security awareness, or testing the overall security of a specific facility or business unit. These unique individual assessments are addressing the changing threat landscape and new ways information systems and people are being exploited.

A tiger team can address many of these different types into one unique assessment of it’s own (including network and web application penetration when appropriate). Keep in mind, a tiger team operation is very different then a penetration test in terms of quality and quantity as GNUCITIZEN mentions. A tiger team requires multiple unique skill sets (for example a physical security specialist) and always requires multiple high performance team members. Let’s also not forget about timing and preparation. A tiger team operation and a penetration test should always be conducted unannounced and to conduct the operation properly the team must be held to strict confidentiality. In regards to preparation, a tiger team operation may take many weeks and/or months to prepare. Why so long? The longer preparation time (meaning the reconnaissance phase) the closer you will get to simulating an actual attack on the targets selected. The real bad guys that want to do harm to your organization have the advantage of time…a tiger team must try to replicate this as close as possible. There may also be variations of a tiger team operation as well. Some methods may or may not need to be used depending on the scope and the target(s).

I am currently putting together a presentation for a conference later this year on how tiger team assessments work in a large corporate environment and how you can take these same concepts and use them either with an internal penetration testing program or for clients. More on this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you want to know what a tiger team operation/assessment is like…I recommend you check out the Tiger Team series that was on TruTV last year. You can find torrents and also view one of the episodes on the TruTV web site.