In terms of training, Offensive Security is best known for their Pentesting with BackTrack/Kali (PWK) and Cracking the Perimeter (CTP) courses. While PWK and CTP have reputations for being intense, grueling courses that require months of sacrifice and dedication, the word “Advanced” is conspicuously absent from their titles. This fact alone should emphasize where Offensive Security AWE falls in relation to these other courses.
After registering for the course, the student must complete a reversing challenge to ensure he or she has a basic understanding of the foundation concepts that are required to digest the course content. The material in the course is far more advanced than the challenge, and successfully completing the challenge is no guarantee that the student is fully prepared for the course. However, if the student is unable to complete this challenge, or has extreme difficulty with it, there is a significant gap in requisite knowledge, and it is recommended to pursue the course at a later date after additional preparation. Did I mention “Advanced?”
It’s a Thursday evening, and happy hour begins in a few minutes. You’re ready to get out of the office, as quickly as possible. You’ve been working on a report, and you know you still have work to do in the morning. So you lock your machine. It’s safe enough, right? You’ve got a strong password and full disk encryption. Ophcrack or a bootable Linux distro like Kali won’t work. You’d think you’d be fine, but you’d be wrong. More and more, attackers are using blended attacks to get the good stuff, and that includes utilizing the latest in forensic techniques.
There is a single section of your computer full of unencrypted sensitive information any attacker would love to get their hands on: your active memory. The system stores all manner of valuable information in memory for easy reference. Full disk encryption mechanisms must store encryption keys within memory somewhere. The same is true for Wi-Fi encryption keys. Windows keeps the registry hives in memory, and consequently the System and SAM hives. Most clipboards are stored within memory. Many applications keep passwords within memory. The point is, memory houses much of the valuable information that the system needs at a moment’s notice. Getting to it requires using some of the same forensics techniques employed by attackers. This article helps add some of those techniques to your pentesting toolkit.
Penetration testing is a multi-staged process by which an authorized consultant tests information systems and software for security vulnerabilities, and in turn demonstrates how they can be exploited. Penetration testing has become more and more challenging as vendors, developers and administrators become more aware of the threats and vulnerabilities to their information systems and software. As such, penetration testers have to stay abreast of the cutting-edge techniques used to compromise even the most modern information systems and associated mitigations. In this light, SANS Institute has developed their most technically intense course, SANS SEC 760 Advanced Exploit Development for Penetration Testers.
SANS SEC 760 Advanced Exploit Development for Penetration Testers is a six-day course that teaches the advanced techniques that are needed to compromise modern information systems. The course description states that, “Few security professionals have the skillset to discover let alone even understand at a fundamental level why the vulnerability exists and how to write an exploit to compromise it.” Therefore, topics such as threat modeling, IDA Pro, Heap Overflows, Return Oriented Shellcode, and Binary Diffing are just a few of the topics that are covered extensively. This article provides a day-to-day review of the live, in-person course which also happens to be taught by the courseware developer himself, Stephen Sims.
Like many of you I was extremely excited when my organization started allowing purchases of iPhones and Android devices. With the entire buzz around “the consumerization of IT” and “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD),” it wasn’t long before these devices started becoming a necessity for business rather than simply the coolest new gadget. Syncing my email and calendar was a great first start, although I have to admit the electronic leash has become quite long in the past few years. When I was able to make travel reservations, submit expense reports, attend internal web conferences, review Statements of Work (SoW) and presentations all without opening my laptop, I became a huge fan. Policy never came to mind much less a hack first mentality.
If you’ve read any of my previous articles, then you will realize I come from a hacking background first and foremost. Therefore, when I began to delve into mobile security, I didn’t start with learning best practices or how to develop secure mobile applications. And a corporate policy was definitely the last thing on my mind. I simply wanted to start breaking things. However, as it wouldn’t do to brick a corporate device, I explored the possibility of purchasing an iPhone/iPad/iPod without a data plan to use as a hardware testing platform. This was not only a stroke of genius for learning mobile application security, but it led to this article. So let’s look at a practical business decision, but, from the get-go, approach it as a hacking exercise.
As security testers and ethical hackers, we are all looking for a better and more efficient way to infiltrate our clients’ target networks. For some time now, breaching an organization from the external-facing network has been much more difficult, as security has been more tightly controlled. Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW), Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDP/IPS), Demilitarized Zones (DMZ), and other implementations of layered security have become increasingly prevalent in security conscious organizations. As the defense has adapted, so has the offense. Both the good and the bad guys alike have turned more attention towards attacking weak web applications and are finding that these websites are the gateways into the network of the target organization. To keep up with this trend and to provide the required knowledge and skills to those responsible for testing web security, new courses have arisen with a focus on web applications. Enter eLearnSecurity Web Application Penetration Testing (WAPT), a new course by the provider of online security training.
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Most high profile attacks in the news these days happened because not only is web and cloud usage skyrocketing, but it has also become the low hanging fruit in many organizations. Web vulnerabilities may lead to information disclosure, session hijacking, stolen sensitive information, and even system compromise. Is your organization ready to handle these types of attacks? Do you have newer employees that need to get up to speed with their co-workers? Are you a seasoned professional looking to keep up with the latest attack trends? Stick with us after the break as we take an extensive look into the latest online course and certification for web application security.
Python has rapidly become a popular language for security professionals. It’s human readable with an easy syntax, has a comprehensive standard library and easily importable external libraries, is multi-platform, and is suitable for both larger programs and smaller scripts alike. Python is easy to learn for novice programmers yet robust enough for seasoned developers. What makes it such an effective tool for security professionals is the support of extensive libraries specifically designed for penetration testing. For that reason, it makes perfect sense for the SANS Institute to add SEC573 Python for Penetration Testers to their vast list of InfoSec courses.
“SANS SEC573 Python for Penetration Testers” is a five-day class that teaches the basics of the Python language then builds on that knowledge to show how to utilize its specialized libraries to perform network capture and analysis, SQL injection, Metasploit integration, password guessing and much more. You also learn how to use Python to create an encoded backdoor to evade IDS and antivirus controls. This article presents an extensive day-by-day review of the in-person course taught by Mark Baggett, the author of SANS Python for Penetration Testers course and the pyWars gaming environment.
Ever since the Internet took off from its humble beginnings as a simple connection between the two networks of UCLA and Stanford for educational purposes, it has increasingly been used by the global population as a means of communication, commerce, charity and much more. The myriad ways of utilizing the Internet backbone all require software engineering of web-enabled applications (webapps). A new product from High-Tech Bridge SA called ImmuniWeb® performs webapp security assessments. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that this is just another webapp vulnerability scanner but hang on! It provides an innovative hybrid approach along with some really creative additional modules for assessing security beyond just the webapp. Why would we need such a hybrid approach?
Critical systems are being moved to the Internet by every industry, each of which now requires diligence to ensure their own existence. Education uses the Internet to evolve learning platforms and make enrollment more efficient. The media industry uses the Internet for everything from personal blogs to content delivery of every type. Commercial industry utilizes it from customer service to revenue collection. Banking from account management to funds transfer. Communication from voice and data. Government is using technology to… well let’s not turn this into a political argument. Let’s just take a detailed look at this unique new offering and how it can help the security posture of your entire organization regardless of the industry to which you belong.
WordPress is by far the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world today. According to W3 Techs, “WordPress is used by 58.2% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 18.6% of all websites.” As with most modern, popular CMSs, the WordPress application itself is hardened and secure out of the box. But to get all of the cool ‘stuff’ to make your site memorable and engaging, WordPress site owners often use 10 – 20 plugins for each installation. As of July 2013, WordPress.org lists 25,700 plugins with more than 475 million downloads, and that doesn’t include those outside of the WordPress repository. It’s these third party plugins that leave a tight framework vulnerable to exploitation and attempts at hacking WordPress common. Many installed plugins remain unpatched or overlooked, and even those not activated through the WordPress Dashboard provide an excellent attack surface. With shared hosting plans and consolidated corporate data centers, it is more often than not that your instance of WordPress is not the only web application residing on your server.
For the sake of brevity, I won’t “beat a dead horse” and talk about why Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is dangerous. There still is some confusion surrounding XSS and its role in network breaches, how it is used, and how it can be utilized over and over to do the same thing. An attacker cannot leverage an XSS flaw to directly “hack” into a server. Instead, by chaining vulnerabilities together and socially engineering personnel, an attacker can move from XSS to an internal compromise fairly quickly. This tutorial shows how hacking WordPress with a simple XSS flaw can be crafted into a vehicle to intrude on internal networks.