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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Security+
 9  Chapter 1:  General Security Concepts (Domain 1.0; 30%)
      9  1.7  Auditing

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System/Network Scanning
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1.8  Summary
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More on Scanning Tools

You can learn more about scanners in the paper, “Network Scanning Techniques” by Ofir Arkin120.

Nmap121 (for *nix and Windows), Nessus122 (for Unix) and Sara123 (also for Unix) are popular free network scanners. Many other commercial solutions exist, such as eEye Digital Security’s Retina124 (for Windows), Internet Security System’s RealSecure Protection System125 (management platform for Windows and sensors for Windows and UNIX) and WWDSI’s SAINT126 (an updated version of the freely available SATAN scanner for UNIX). Many have said that for CEO-impressing reports, eEye’s award-winning Retina scanner is tops.127

Historically, scanners have searched for vulnerabilities at the network layer and defective server software. A new frontier for scanners is that of web applications. Web application scanners (sometimes called CGI scanners, if used to scan for CGI script vulnerabilities) work at the application layer, and look for exploitable web pages (such as CGI scripts or JSP or ASP pages). This area of scanning is still relatively new, but tools written to specifically address it include Web Scarab128 (a new open-source tool written in java, with preliminary alpha test release expected in September, 2002) and SPI Dynamics’ WebInspect129.

In addition to running system scanners, another way you can check for vulnerabilities in your current system and network configuration is via penetration tests.

[spacer]Running a Pen(etration) Test

There are a variety of “pen test” scenarios, including:

1. Attempting to access the organization’s machines from outside the network, with no background knowledge about the network.

2. Attempting to access the organization’s machines from outside, with some amount of background knowledge, possibly including the locations of email, DNS and other servers, dial-in telephone numbers, etc.

3. Attempting to access the organization’s machines from inside the network, with detailed background knowledge about the network and installed software, and perhaps normal user-level access to services customarily available to all employees


Definition of a Pen Test

A penetration test is an exercise in which one or more people attempt to gain access to system/network resources. It may be conducted from inside or outside the organization’s network, and by using or not using certain internally known information, depending on what security is being evaluated by the test.


Network scanners and penetration exercises (not tests – the real thing) are two tools in the cracker’s arsenal. Employing these tools on your own network – before the crackers do – allow you to find and address weaknesses in your network’s security before they are exploited.

Tracking

Check your network’s logging configuration. Are all of the important events like user logons and logoffs, incorrect logon attempts, user account and security settings administration, system startup and shutdown, etc. being logged? If not, enable logging for those types of information..



 __________________

120. Arkin, Ofir, “Network Scanning Techniques”, 1999, http://www.sys-security.com/archive/papers/Network_Scanning_Techniques.pdf

121. http://www.insecure.org

122. http://www.nessus.org

123. http://www-arc.com/sara/

124. http://www.eeye.com/html/Products/Retina/index.html

125. http://www.iss.net/products_services/enterprise_protection

126. http://www.wwdsi.com/products/saint_engine.html

127. Peikari, Cyrus and Seth Fogie, Windows .NET Server Security Handbook, Prentice-Hall, April, 2002, http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.html?id=0130477265

128. http://www.owasp.org/webscarab/

129. http://www.spidynamics.com

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