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RE: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions
From: "Simon Thornton" <simon () thornton info>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 10:25:01 +0200

  
As you say, a full risk assessment is often not justified; however I would
counter that the issue is not at the level of the security specialists but
at management level. We generally understand the issues and the relative
importance, however at the management level the understanding is often
minimal and it can boil down to equating  perceived security risk to
business risk and time = money arguments; why should I spend the money. You
don't need to write a book, just enumerate your thought processes and why
you think it is necessary. If you can convince them once to do such an
exercise then the rational can be used again.

Rgds, 

Simon 

-----Original Message----- 
From: listbounce () securityfocus com [mailto:listbounce () securityfocus com] On
Behalf Of David Gillett 
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:44 PM 
To: security-basics () securityfocus com 
Subject: RE: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions 


  It's true that precise, complete risk analysis is impossible -- it's also
rarely necessary.  in deciding whether to bring my umbrella this morning, I
considered my aversion to getting drenched (probably higher than many
people's, if not by much), the cost/effort (minimal), the weather report
(warm and dry).  I DIDN'T consider the odds of asteroid impact -- on days
when that probability isn't negligible, I'd have to also figure in the
effectiveness of my umbrella as a mitigation....

  Even without attaching hard numbers, an experienced security engineer
should have a good sense of the relative importance of various factors, and
of how risks and mitigating measures interact.  A million-dollar security
measure is hard to justify and rarely necessary, but a ten-thousand-dollar
measure might be a wise investment or a waste, and it's useful to have a
somewhat numerical argument demonstrating which.

David Gillett 
CISSP CCNP 


________________________________________ 
From: Mikhail A. Utin [mutin () commonwealthcare org] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:30 PM 
To: Simon Thornton; security-basics () securityfocus com; nschroedl () mtiorg com 
Subject: RE: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions 

Nick, 
And Simon as recommending so named "risk analysis". 
If you want to be dragged in discovering of the Universe of InfoSec
exploits/attacks/malware/etc., you can try Simon's " Part of the answer
depends on the perceived attack surface (the risk of an attack) and the
impact a successful compromise would have."

I wrote twice to this list that the number of attacks is unknown, and
concerning the exposure of each in your company (infinite number - you can
do that estimate for your job security for the rest of your life. BTW, both
components are changing daily.

Quantitative risk analysis is good if you need to write a document for
compliance matters, and nobody will be able to object your estimate as right
estimates are unknown.

So, use your common sense, which is qualitative risk analysis. 

However, I bet you are talking practical matters, so do not do any risk
assessment IF - see above about job security. 

Mikhail Utin,  CISSP, PhD 


-----Original Message----- 
From: listbounce () securityfocus com [mailto:listbounce () securityfocus com] On
Behalf Of Simon Thornton 
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:35 PM 
To: security-basics () securityfocus com; nschroedl () mtiorg com 
Subject: RE: Binary Analysis with Internal Solutions 

Hi Nick, 

NS> "Should binary analysis (i.e. reversing and fuzzing) be part of an 
NS> 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
addressed.


Simon 


-----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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it benefits your company and how your customers can tell if a site is secure. You will find out how to test, purchase, 
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