IT Security

How to mitigate against session hijacking attacks with HTTP Security Headers

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Session cookies constitute one of the main attack targets against client authentication on the Web. To counter these attacks, modern web browsers implement native cookie protection mechanisms based on the HttpOnly and Secure flags. … Our analysis of the Alexa-ranked top 1000 popular websites gives clear evidence that such risks are far from remote, as the HttpOnly and Secure flags appear as yet to be largely ignored by web developers. – CookiExt: Patching the Browser Against Session Hijacking, Journal of Computer Security (2015).   Summary of Session-hijacking attacks When you login into a website, the web-server creates a “session” to identify your identity by sending the client browser a session cookie. Cookies have functions other than sessions, but perhaps the most important use of cookies from a security perspective managing your “state” or “session-state”. This is because a single IP address may have many clients connecting to the server, so…

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Safari Browser URL Spoof Vulnerability

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Last week, Rafay blog wrote a short blog piece about the recently publicized browser URL spoofing vulnerability in Safari. To summarize, the browser bar is considered the only reliable security indicator to validate the authenticity of the website. Looking at the browser URL bar at the top of your browser, and checking that the domain contained in the URL matches the domain of the site you expect to be visiting. If it says “google.com” or “facebook.com” you should be able to reliably tell that you are on the correct website. However, in addition, all browsers include a symbol to show whether the SSL/TLS certificates have been properly validated to authenticate the identify of the server you are communicating with, as well as initialize an encrypted connection to protect your data as it transits the internet. Besides the recent publicized vulnerability in Safari, URL spoofing has been accomplished by attackers in…

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Hunting A Process Making Network Connections

Monitoring your network traffic and sniffing packets for rouge connections is an important step to determine if data-ex filtration is happening on your network.  Monitoring traffic can also uncover legitimate processes that are broadcasting or poking around your network.  Wireshark, tshark, or tcpdump can monitor network traffic  and a more robust Network Intrusion detection System (NIDS) can attempt to detect and parse out anomaly traffic.  If the process is legitimate, you may want to simply disable it, and if its not legitimate, initiate an incident response process . But how to determine what process is initiating the network traffic?  Wireshark does provide any process ID (PID) or name. This following examples show how to get the process ID and name on a client that has open connections and is also attempting to make a remote connections to two different servers on the local network. You can see that the processes…

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Building Your IT Security News Pipeline

If you are responsible for securing a network, you should know that monitoring reliable IT security news is now critical to mitigating threats on your precious goods. Prioritizing that news landscape and rolling out a timely response is also critical to a solid recipe for security. While it is not realistic to expect security architects to have that kind of response time, if you are ignoring IT security news, you  might need those backups you have been diligently maintaining or worse. Building a solid incoming information pipeline requires an analysis of the IT security news landscape.  The most fundamental elements of this landscape includes threat advisories & guidelines, updates to best-practices and standardization recommendations,  and changing legal requirements if they apply to your organizational assets.  Threat analysis reports and newly released Common Vulnerability Exposure details (CVEs) are critical secondary elements that relay more detailed information about vulnerabilities affecting specific software. …

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Sources of Red Team Education

What is red-teaming? A important term in IT security context, a red team (red cell) is a group of hackers with various skill-sets, who simulate attacks on the network infrastructure.  By contrast the blue team’s job is to defend the network.  Red teams follow a specific set of rules known as the rules of engagement which stipulate what types of attacks are allowed and points in the attack when they should stop and reporting should be done.  The attacks may employ technical, physical, social or process-based attack vectors.  This intends to cover all aspects of a organization’s security controls such as physical,  administrative, and technical.  The red team helps step 4 of the NIST Risk Management Framework to assess the security controls. Taking the steps of the cyber-kill-chain into account (reconnaissance, weaponization, delivery, exploitation, installation, command and control, actions on objectives), the red team may simply seek to gain reconnaissance…

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