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A second type of auditing is vulnerability
scanning, which may be accomplished by running system scanner programs
from inside the organization, or may be accomplished by a penetration
test in which someone attempts to gain access to system/network resources
from outside the organization.
Scanning is the process of checking a system or network for exploitable (or potentially exploitable) vulnerabilities.
Some things that can be detected
by scanners include:
- Servers running on each host (which might be
unnecessary, and thus should be turned off).
- Vulnerability of services to known attacks (which
imply that you should get an updated version of whatever software youre
using to provide that service, or possibly turn the service off until
an update is available).
- Type of OS and service software running on a
host (see also: OS Fingerprinting in section 1.4).
- System architecture (if you want to try a buffer
overflow exploit that only works on x86-based Linux systems, you not
only need to make sure that the host is running Linux and the appropriate
version of the software you want to exploit
you also need to make
sure its an x86 machine).
- Rogue hosts set up by users without the IT departments
authorization, whose configuration may or may not be known.
- Firewall rules in place (by examining TCP/IP
replies, a scanner can sometimes differentiate between services that
arent blocked by the firewall but arent running on a host,
and services that are blocked by the firewall and may or may not be
running on the host).
- Open file shares.
- Insecurely coded web pages.
If run against a single system, the
scanning software may be run on the system itself (so that it has access
to local files which might not be visible to external network connections),
or it may run over the network. If run against a network, the software
generally doesnt even need to run on the same network being scanned.
Why should you scan your network regularly? Simply, you should do
this so that you know what the crackers know about your network, and
have a chance to address it (hopefully) before THEY do.
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CertiGuide for Security+ (http://www.CertiGuide.com/secplus/) on CertiGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: November 15, 2004
Adapted with permission from a work created by Tcat Houser et al.
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