The Hoff Co-Hosts The Network Security Podcast

Martin was out of town this week and put our fine show into my trustworthy hands. A trust I quickly dashed as I invited Chris Hoff to join the show. We managed to avoid any significantly bad language, and both of use were completely sober. I think. Chris and I started with a discussion of the latest national cybersecurity recommendations, moving on to the CheckFree attack, the DNSChanger trojan, DLP/DRM advances by Microsoft/EMC and McAfee/Liquid Machines, and finishing with one of our pontificating discussions about the cloud. Here’s the show, and the show notes: The Network Security Podcast, Episode 131, December 9, 2008. Show Notes: The Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency releases their long-awaited report. CheckFree online bill payment redirected to a malicious site. The DNS Changer trojan starts it’s own internal DHCP server. The future of DLP/information-centric security as Microsoft and EMC partner, then McAfee and Liquid Machines (and a few other vendors we talk about). Share:

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A Good (Potential) Risk Management IQ Test For Management

It looks like China is thinking about requiring in-depth technical information on all foreign technology products before they will be allowed into China. I highly suspect this won’t actually happen, but you never know. If it does, here is a simple risk related IQ test for management: Will you reveal your source code and engineering documents to a government with a documented history of passing said information on to domestic producers who often clone competitive technologies and sell at lower than the market value you like? Do you have the risk tolerance to accept domestic Chinese abuse of your intellectual property should you reveal it? If the answer to 1 is “yes” and 2 is “no”, the IQ is “0”. Any other answer shows at least as basic understanding of risk tolerance and management. I worked a while back with an Indian company that engaged in a partnership with China to co-produce a particular high value product. That information was promptly stolen and spread to other local manufacturers. I don’t have a problem with China, but not only do they culturally view intellectual property differently than us, there is a documented history of what the western world would consider abuse of IP. If you can live with that, you should absolutely engage with that market. If can’t accept the risk of IP theft, stay away. (P.S.- This is also true of offshore development. Stop calling me after you have offshored and asking how to secure your date. You know, closing barn doors and cows and all). Share:

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Building a Web Application Security Program, Part 5: Secure Development

Now that we’ve laid out the big picture for a web application security program, it’s time to dig into the individual details. In this part (see also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4) we’re going to discuss how to implement security during the development phases of the web application lifecycle, including which tools we recommend. In web application security, process modification, education, and development tool choices are all typically undeserved. Security is frequently bolted on as an afterthought, rather than built in by design. The intention in this section is to illuminate your best options for integrating security during pre-deployment phases of application development (i.e., requirements gathering, design, implementation, and QA). Web Application Security: Training and the SDLC Most web applications today were designed, built, and deployed before web application security was considered. Secure coding practices are just now entering the consciousness of most web development teams, and usually only after a security ‘event’. Project Management and Assurance teams typically take on security only when a compliance requirement is dropped into their laps. News may have raised awareness of SQL injection attacks, but many developers remain unaware of how reflected Cross Site Scripting and Cross Site Request Forgeries are conducted, much less what can be done to protect against them. Secure Application Development practices, and what typically become part of a Secure Software Development Lifecycle, are in their infancy- in terms of both maturity and adoption. Regardless of what drives your requirements, education and process modification are important first steps for producing secure web applications. Whether you are developing a new code base or retrofitting older applications, project managers, developers, and assurance personnel need to be educated about security challenges to address and secure design and coding techniques. The curriculum should cover both the general threats that need to be accounted for and the methods that hackers typically employ to subvert systems. Specialized training is necessary for each sub-discipline, including process modification options, security models for the deployment platform, security tools, and testing methodologies. Project management needs to be aware of what types of threats are relevant to the web application they are responsible for, and how to make trade-offs that minimize risk while still providing desired capabilities. Developers & QA need to understand how common exploits work, how to test for them, and how to address weaknesses. Whether your company creates its own internal training program, organizes peer educational events, or invests in third party classes, this is key for producing secure applications. Threat modeling, secure design principles, functional security requirements, secure coding practices, and security review/testing form the core of an effective secure SDLC, and are relatively straightforward to integrate into nearly all development processes. Process also plays an important role in code development, and affects security in much the same way it affects employee productivity and product quality. If the product’s specification lacks security requirements, you can’t expect it to be secure. A product that doesn’t undergo security testing, just like a product that skips functional testing, will suffer from flaws and errors. Modification to the Software Development Lifecycle to include security considerations is called Secure-SDLC, and includes simple sanity checks throughout the process to help discover problems early. While Secure-SDLC is far too involved for any real discussion in this post, our goal is instead to highlight the need for development organizations to consider security as a requirement during each phase of development. Tools and test cases, as we will discuss below, can be used to automate testing and assurance, but training and education are essential for taking advantage of them. Using them to augment the development and assurance process reduces overhead compared to ad hoc security adoption, and cuts down on vulnerabilities within the code. Team members educated on security issues are able to build libraries of tests that help catch typical flaws across all newer code. Extreme Programming techniques can be used to help certify that modules and components meet security requirements as part of unit testing, alongside non-security functional testing and regression sweeps provided by assurance teams. Remember- you are the vendor, and your team should know your code better than anyone, including how to break it. Static Analysis Tools There are a number of third party tools, built by organizations which understand the security challenges of web app development, to help with code review for security purposes. Static analysis examines the source code of a web application, looking for common vulnerabilities, errors, and omissions within the constructs of the language itself. This serves as an automated counterpart to peer review. Among other things, these tools generally scan for un-handled error conditions, object availability or scope, and potential buffer overflows. The concept is called “static analysis” because it examines the source code files, rather than either execution flow of a running program or executable object code. These products run during the development phase to catch problems prior to more formalized testing procedures. The earlier a problem is found the easier (and cheaper) it is to fix. Static analysis supplements code review performed by developers, speeding up scans and finding bugs more quickly and cheaply than humans. The tools can hook into source code management for automated execution on a periodic basis, which again helps with early identification of issues. Static analysis is effective at discovering ‘wetware’ problems, or problems in the code that are directly attributable to programmer error. The better tools integrate well with various development environments (providing educational feedback and suggesting corrective actions to programmers); can prioritize discovered vulnerabilities based on included or user-provided criteria; and include robust reporting to keep management informed, track trends, and engage the security team in the development process without requiring them double as programmers. Static analysis tools are only moderately effective against buffer overruns, SQL injection, and code misuse. They do not account for all of the pathways within the code, and are blind to certain types of vulnerabilities and problems that are only apparent at runtime. To fill this gap, dynamic

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