Improve your firewall auditing

As a penetration tester you have to be an expert in multiple technologies. Typically you are auditing systems installed and maintained by experienced people, often protective of their own methods and technologies.

On any particular assessment testers may have to perform an analysis of Windows systems, UNIX systems, web applications, databases, wireless networking and a variety of network protocols and firewall devices. Any security issues identified within those technologies will then have to be explained in a way that both management and system maintainers can understand.

The network scanning phase of a penetration assessment will quickly identify a number of security weaknesses and services running on the scanned systems. This enables a tester to quickly focus on potentially vulnerable systems and services using a variety of tools that are designed to probe and examine them in more detail e.g. web service query tools. However this is only part of the picture and a more thorough analysis of most systems will involve having administrative access in order to examine in detail how they have been configured.

In the case of firewalls, switches, routers and other infrastructure devices this could mean manually reviewing the configuration files saved from a wide variety of devices.

Although various tools exist that can examine some elements of a configuration, the assessment would typically end up being a largely manual process. Nipper Studio is a tool that enables penetration testers, and non-security professionals, to quickly perform a detailed analysis of network infrastructure devices. Nipper Studio does this by examining the actual configuration of the device, enabling a much more comprehensive and precise audit than a scanner could ever achieve.

With Nipper Studio penetration testers can be experts in every device that the software supports, giving them the ability to identify device, version and configuration specific issues without having to manually reference multiple sources of information. With support for around 100 firewalls, routers, switches and other infrastructure devices, you can speed up the audit process without compromising the detail.

You can customize the audit policy for your customer’s specific requirements (e.g. password policy), audit the device to that policy and then create the report detailing the issues identified. The reports can include device specific mitigation actions and be customized with your own companies styling. Each report can then be saved in a variety of formats for management of the issues.

Author: Ian Whiting, CEO of Titania. Titania’s products are used in over 40 countries by government and military agencies, financial institutions, telecommunications companies, national infrastructure organizations and auditing companies, to help them secure critical systems.

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