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Re: [PEN-TEST] Evaluating Auditors Abilities
From: "Gallicchio, Florindo (2282)" <florindo.gallicchio () ESAVIO COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 18:11:38 -0400

I certainly agree that it's a good idea for the client to ask the right
questions and to determine if the auditing process will work for them.
However, there aren't many clients out there who know what the right
questions are to evaluate the auditors' capabilities.  Most clients don't
understand the audit process to begin with, so they don't have a frame of
reference from which to base their questions.

We give our clients a thorough explanation of how we will approach the test,
including our methods, tools and our deliverables.  We find this to be a
great selling point since many of our competitors don't reveal this much
information during the presales phase.  We then offer as a part of the audit
contract on-the-job training for our clients as we are conducting the audit.
It's a "side-saddle" training where we teach the client our methodology and
the fundamentals (security principles) behind the audit.  This allows the
client to better understand what we're doing and gives them some say in how
the deliverable will be formed.


Florindo Gallicchio
Director, Security Services

-----Original Message-----
From: Kuss, Kenneth
Sent: 9/7/00 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: [PEN-TEST] Evaluating Auditors Abilities

It is very hard to assess the abilities of the outside auditors that
be conducting the reviews.  You can look at resumes, engage reputable
firms, etc.  I believe that the most important part of engaging any
assistance to establish the process up front.  All aspects of the review
should be covered including; tools to be used, reporting deliverables
the process to verify results of any findings before reporting to upper
management.  This gives the operators of the system, network, etc. the
ability to address any false positives identified.

Derrick <Derrick () ANEI COM>@SECURITYFOCUS.COM> on 09/07/2000 12:46:27 AM

From: Derrick <Derrick () ANEI COM>@SECURITYFOCUS.COM> on 09/07/2000 12:46

Please respond to Penetration Testers <PEN-TEST () SECURITYFOCUS COM>

Sent by:  Penetration Testers <PEN-TEST () SECURITYFOCUS COM>

Subject:  Evaluating Auditors Abilities

Dear Pen-Testers,

     Recently I underwent something that had me thinking about Security
companies and others (Big accounting firms that offer a side service of
auditing). Management decided that we needed to be audited by an outside
firm, which I am in full favor of. The problem came about in what an
un-named auditor did. Firewalls tend to cause false positives in some
and other anomalies that many auditors may not be aware of. So they
performed this audit which we did pick up and were aware of. What
next is what baffles me. The auditors did not understand the results
nmap and other tools gave them. Near the end of the business day they
contact management proclaiming they have found numerous security issues
even some backdoors in our network. After a long couple of days of
we found none of these issues were correct, and we then spent many hours
several meetings explaining that the firm hired didn't seem to know what
they were doing. Management made the default comment of "We are paying
a lot so they must be right, fix these problems". After several days of
explaining why they results were wrong and verifying the network we came
to show that the auditors did in fact improperly interpret the results.
     The end result is management walks away wondering if they got
off or
if we were just trying to cover problems. It also caused a lot of
and extra work for us to explain and prove the network to management. So
end questions are these.

How can companies decide which auditors really do a decent job and are
their value ?
Are there any certifications or Industry groups out there or on the
that will evaluate and endorse auditors ?
What is the best approach from a Network Admin position to counter end
results delivered by auditors if they seem to be in error ?
Has anyone else been through this, and is destined to get worse before
getting better ?

Thanks for any thoughts or comments,

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