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Re: OSSTMM how good is it?
From: Pete Herzog <lists () isecom org>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 11:30:11 +0200

Hi,

> The OSSTMM is not a Standard that many would think.  It is a
> methodology that takes into account all the standards that you must
> comply with and creates a new customized standard for your
> organization.

I think that's an overstatement. The OSSTMM has been designed as a standard and one that's not a high level. While there is a layer of abstraction to it, no one can deny that the quick changes of how technology is applied would lend itself to a useless methodology if each specific test had to be described. Going into detail on each test, rather than at a slightly higher level of abstraction, would cause a methodology to truly be quickly out of date-- for example:

Task: Review domain registration information.

Lower level than this would require listing tools and techniques, the "how". However if I went into each of the steps one might go through today to get this information from all the places and all the ways one searches for all the possible domains to looking up each domain as well as the search engines, tools and methods to do so would not only would make it a "how to" manual but would quickly be out of date. Not only that but the how to info is plastered all over the place from blogs to whitepapers.

Honestly, the OSSTMM is a very difficult manual to develop and maintain because of all the verification and research involved. As a standard, it strives to be the structure from which one develops regulations, policy, services, and test plans. What it is not is a test plan itself. Not yet anyway....

Will OSSTMM ever be finished? No, it's a living document. It will always need to evolve. With that said, the evolution that is being built now is one where research has shown that some of the traditional ways of testing have proved obsolete. This will be difficult and maybe unwarranted for people who don't accept change of what they see as an art. However, those who see security testing/audits as a science will be much relieved.

If anyone has OSSTMM questions, feel free to write me directly, even confidentially, and ask.

Sincerely,
-pete.

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