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Re: Security Certifications
From: B3r3n <B3r3n () argosnet com>
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 20:01:02 +0100


Never read the CISSP trojan? Nice no?

Security Advisory MA-2003-01     CISSP - Trojan Security Certification

Original Release Date: Thursday January 16, 2003
Last Revised: --
Source: --

Systems Affected

        o Information Security Community
        o Information Technology Employers
        o Information Security Consultants


It has recently been identified that The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (CISSP) has developed and released a potentially destructive trojan application, which masquerades as a valid standard for professional certification in the field of information security.

I. Description

Delivered in the benign form of a six hour examination, the CISSP prompts target user with a series of 250 questions regarding the following topics:

        o Access Control Systems & Methodology
        o Applications & Systems Development
        o Business Continuity Planning
        o Cryptography
        o Law, Investigation & Ethics
        o Operations Security
        o Physical Security
        o Security Architecture & Models
        o Security Management Practices
        o Telecommunications, Network & Internet Security

This rather large payload, commonly referred to as the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), may cause a Denial of Service situation, leaving the target overwhelmed and unable to respond to further requests during the duration of the attack. If the target handles the Denial of Service attack appropriately, and is unaffected, the CISSP trojan discontinues this attack, and self-mutates into a certification of added IS credibility. If accepted by the target, this certification begins to cause the following symptoms:

        o Increase in self-confidence
        o Increase in salary requirements
        o False sense of accomplishment
        o False sense of self-improvement

Despite the symptoms, the target experiences no real benefit whatsoever. The affected target then is made to transfer funds in excess of $2,000 (US) to a remote bank account owned by ISC2. Finally, the affected target promotes itself to a "Certified Information Security Expert" sans authentication. The affected target may then infect others, eventually creating a massive army of unskilled, prefabricated, shrink-wrapped, not for resale, half-assed security engineers, consultants, and
"research scientists".

II. Impact

An abundance of sub-par information security engineers, consultants, and "research scientists".

A negative impact on the economy, specifically within the Information Technology sector.

III. Solution

Avoid any certifications issued by ISC2 until a patch is distributed.
Obtain information security related certifications from valid sources.
Employers are encouraged to recognize the CISSP as a trojan certification.

Appendix A - Vendor Information

International Information Security Certification Consortium, Inc.

(ISC)2 is the premier organization dedicated to providing information security professionals and practitioners worldwide with the standard for professional certification.

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