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Vulnerability Assessments vs Penetration Tests

I occasionally see the terms Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Test used interchangeably, or worse, phrases such as “Automated Penetration Test” – something that really pains me, as there are very distinct types of assessment. In this article I’d like to show the distinctions between the different types of assessment. Setting aside any argument of specific terminology, I aim to explain the different approaches that can be taken and the aims of each – regardless of what you choose to call them. I aim to assist companies engage with their security assessment providers to ensure that the service they’re getting is what they are expecting and so that they are aware of the alternatives.

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TLS/SSL Vulnerabilities

“Which SSL ciphers should I disable?”

A client recently gave me a list of their supported ciphers and asked me which SSL ciphers they should disable – effectively looking for the most secure SSL ciphers they can use. Instead of the fast answer of “disable the insecure ones”, I thought I’d try and write up something useful.

So here’s a handy reference guide I’m working on. This has been time consuming to develop and no doubt will be added to over time. This isn’t intended to be read from start-to-finish, but is more of a handy SSL/TLS issue cheat-sheet.

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A long old way to Domain Admin: Propagating Infections

On a recent penetration test I made heavy use of Sec-1 Ltd’s tool sharecheck in a way to gain Domain Administrator privileges that had previously been missed. Effectively there was a lot of ground work in horizontal propagation which I automated through Meterpreter and Sharecheck.

I’ve mentioned Sharecheck before on my Internal Penetration Testing post, but I don’t believe I’ve ever ran through the features of this tool which I make use of on almost every test. Effectively this tool allows you to do four main things:

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USA versus Love

There is a case ongoing which is known as The United States versus Love. As always when I mention the law on this site, I am not a Lawyer, therefore I will link to all of my sources inline and allow you to draw your own conclusions. I support Lauri Love and I would like to detail some reasons as to why you should too. I also wish to highlight some things you should be seriously concerned amount regardless of your opinion on Lauri or his case specifically.

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Cross-site Scripting (XSS): Life After the Alert Box

This is an advanced Cross-site Scripting (XSS) post, if you’re new to XSS maybe try this one first: What is Cross-site Scripting?

 

During Penetration Tests I often see testers utilising Cross-site Scripting attacks, popping an alert(1) and stopping there; additionally looking through the payloads used by other testers I often find one area missing. So if you’re a tester, think of the payloads that you deploy and think how you are testing for the type of vulnerability described below:

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