Book Review: Penetration Testing with the Bash Shell

Penetration Testing with the Bash shellA few weeks ago, I reviewed Georgia’s book about penetration testing. In the same topic (pentesting), I was asked to review another one which focus on shell scripting using the bash shell. Keith Makan is the author of “Penetration Testing with the Bash Shell“. Bash is the default shell on many UNIX distributions and is also the primary interface between the operating system and the user when no graphical interface is available. Why talk about a shell in the scope of a penetration test? Simply because good pentesters write code! It’s almost impossible to complete a penetration test without write some lines of code. Because we need to gain time, we need more visibility and we need to parse thousands of lines or files. Usually, the UNIX shell is the first tool that we have to achieve such tasks. That’s the goal of the book. Throughout the chapters, Keith demonstrates how to take advantage of the many bash features to make your life easier.

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Check Point Firewall Logs and Logstash (ELK) Integration

Firewall LogsIt has been a while that I did not write an article on log management. Here is a quick how-to about the integration of Check Point firewall logs into ELK. For a while, this log management framework is gaining more and more popularity. ELK is based on three core components: ElasticSearch, Logstash and Kibana. Google is your best friend to find information about ELK. But why Check Point? Usually, I don’t blog about commercial products but I investigated a request from a customer who was looking for a clean solution to integrate this product logs into ELK and I didn’t find my heart’s desire on the Internet

Check Point firewalls are good products amongst others but what I really like is the way they handle logs. By default, logs generated by the firewall modules are sent to the management system (the “SmartCenter“) where they can be reviewed using a powerful fat client but… running only on top of Microsoft Windows systems. To export the logs to an external log management solution, Check Point has developed the OPSEC framework which allows third party applications to interact with firewalls. One of the feature is to get a copy of logs using the LEA protocol. LEA means “Log Export API” and provides the ability to pull logs from a Check Point device via the port TCP/18184. What about Syslog could you ask? It is simply not possible in an out-of-the-box way! To forward logs to a remote Syslog server, you can use the “fwm” command:

# fw log -f -t -n -l 2>/dev/null | awk 'NF' | sed '/^$/d' | logger -p local4.info -t cpwd &

An alternative way is to create a “User Defined Alert” which will call a script for every(!) line of log. In such situations, how to be sure that our firewall will be able to handle a big amount of logs?

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Password – (noun) A Reminder for Your Dog’s Name

My Dog NameAaaaah… Passwords! Why write a blog article about them. Everything has alreay been said about passwords. Everybody hates them because they are hard to remember, because we should change it regularly, because we have way too much of them. They are often present in security awareness campaign (see the article introduction picture). And despite this, people are still managing their passwords no matter how! I won’t repeat the same blah-blah about how to take care of your passwords, how to generate them, stop! Here is just another proof that human behavior won’t change.

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Book Review: Penetration Testing – A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking

PenetrationTestingA few weeks ago I bought Georgia Weidman’s book about penetration testing: “A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking“. Being overloaded by many projects, I finally finished reading it and it’s now time to write a quick review. Georgia is an awesome person. There are not many recognized women in the information security landscape and Georgia is definitively one of them, I already met her a few times during security conferences! She started her own company, she’s a great speaker and the author of the SPF (“Smartphone Pentesting Framework“). That’s why I did not hesitate to buy her book.

The book title contains the word “Introduction” and, as explains Georgia in her introduction, this is the kind of book that you dream of when jumping into the penetration testing business. It covers indeed many topics but don’t be fooled by the title, it contains many tips and examples that could be useful also to experienced pentesters. Why? Sometimes people ask me how to “work in security” and I always compare information security to medicine. You have many specializations. It’s even more true for a pentester: web applications, reverse engineering, wireless, mobile devices, etc… It’s practically impossible to have a strong knowledge in all those ever-changing topics! That’s why Georgia’s book is a good reference. This is a technical book which focus on practical examples.

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Offline Malware Analysis with Host-Only VirtualBox Networks

OfflineFollowing the presentation that I made at the RMLL 2014 last week, I slightly changed my malware analysis setup. The goal is to make it fully operational “offline“. Indeed, today we are always “on“, Internet is everywhere and it’s easy to get a pipe. However, sometimes it’s better to not send packets to the wild Internet, even more when playing with malwares. We can be connected to a network with restricted access and some “exotic” ports won’t be authorized (ex: IRC). By allowing malicious code to connect to the world, we could trigger some firewalls, IDS or IPS if working in a corporate environment. If the malware is targeting a specific company or country, it can be suspicious to flood the C&C or any other resource with suspicious traffic (in this case, we are suspicious for the attacker). In short, “to live happy, live hidden;-)

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RMLL 2014 Security Track Wrap-Up

RMLL 2014I’m just back from Montpellier where was organised the 2014’s edition of the RMLL (“Rencontres Modiales des Logiciels Libres”) or LSM in English (“Libre Software Meeting”). This is a huge event similar to the FOSDEM in Brussels where people who love free software exchange views, researches and make some networking. The event location changes every year and this edition was organised in the south of France… not a bad place! The event is huge and is organized across a whole week, attracting a few hundreds of people. Within the main event, other small events are organised and talks are divided in multiple topics like:

  • Society
  • Enterprises
  • Culture
  • Development
  • Sysadmin
  • Health
  • Education
  • Internet
  • Do-It-Yourself
And, of course, security! I attended the security talks presented on Monday and Tuesday. Here is my quick wrap-up.

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Hack in Paris 2014 Wrap-Up Day #2

Hack in Paris stageAnd we are back to the Disneyland conference centre for the second day of Hack in Paris… It looks that the night was very short for many people (who hacked all night long?) because the planning started with a delay!

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Hack in Paris 2014 Wrap-Up Day #1

HIP Main RoomToday started the 2014 edition of Hack in Paris, a French security conference held in Disneyland Resort Paris – a very nice place for such kind of event! The conference started with a sunny sky over the conference centre in the New York hotel. I arrived just in time to register and to grab some coffee. Here is my wrap-up for the first day. Happy reading!

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HITB Amsterdam 2014 Wrap-up Day #2

Sunny AmsterdamAnd here is the second day wrap-up. The day started with a sunny sky over Amsterdam. After a breakfast and a chat with the Help Net Security team, we moved to the rooms. Like yesterday, the main stage is dedicated to women for two keynotes. The first one should be Pamelo Fusco with her keynote title: “Behind the Crosswire” but she never arrived… No news from the speaker, maybe lost in the Amsterdam night life?

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HITB Amsterdam 2014 Wrap-up Day #1

HITB BannerI’m in Amsterdam for the next two days to attend the new edition of Hack In The Box. This is a special edition with many improvements. First, it’s the fifth edition (already!) and the location changed to “De Beurs van Berlage”, a very nice place in the center of the city. Second, the normal conference is also held alongside with HITB Haxpo, a technology and security expo for hackers and geeks. This expo is open to everyone for free. Due to a holiday in Belgium and Holland, I joined Amsterdam smoothly without any traffic jam and was in time to grab my badge, some coffee and some 802.11x packets before the talks.

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