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RE: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions
From: "Simon Thornton" <simon () thornton info>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 18:35:16 +0200

Hi Nick, 

NS> "Should binary analysis (i.e. reversing and fuzzing) 
NS> be part of an internal vulnerability and pen testing solution?" 

You are asking about two different activities with widely different
requirements in terms of the time and potentially resources needed. Fuzzing
is the simpler of the two exercises and can be automated, often used as part
of pentesting exercises. Reverse engineering is largely a manual process and
can be significantly more challenging and time consuming.

Part of the answer depends on the perceived attack surface (the risk of an
attack) and the impact a successful compromise would have. If this is an
internal application on a closed network not connected to the internet then
it may be worth it. If however this application contains data covered by
regulatory compliance and/or legal requirements (privacy laws) and it is
exposed directly or indirectly to the internet then this is different.

Start with a simple risk assessment, considering the data (classification)
processed by the application, location of the service, who accesses it etc.
This should give you an indication if you need to consider more in-depth
analysis. To go as far as reverse engineering would normally be predicated
by an event which cannot be explained by looking at source code, logs etc.
Examples might be

- if a security incident or breach occurred which could not be explained by
other analysis. 
- Another example might be a requirement (legal/regulatory) that all
applications used strong ciphers or long key lengths and the source code was
not available.

My experience; most of the time reverse engineering is not justified from a
cost/risk perspective. Fuzzing interfaces can detect functional bugs not
caught through normal testing.  Whatever the source of a vulnerability or
issue the risk (impact/exploitability or impact/likelihood) needs to be


-----Original Message----- 
From: listbounce () securityfocus com [mailto:listbounce () securityfocus com] On
Behalf Of nschroedl () mtiorg com 
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 17:15 PM 
To: security-basics () securityfocus com 
Subject: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions 

Hello everyone, 

                A debate has been started in the office that I work in over
this question.  

"Should binary analysis (i.e. reversing and fuzzing) be part of an internal
vulnerability and pen testing solution?" 

                There is mission critical custom in house software solutions
deployed here.  My opinion is Yes, but others say it is a waste of resources
to go this deep into offensive security.  Please send your comments, and
opinions so that I can either win/loose this debate.

Nick Schroedl 

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