Posts tagged infosec

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PHPSecInfo v0.2 now available

PHPSecInfo Screenshot PHPSecInfo Screenshot

The newest version of PHPSecInfo, version 0.2, is now available.  Here are the major changes:

  • Added link to “more info” in output.  These lead to pages on the site giving more details on the test and what to do if you have a problem
  • Modified CSS to improve readability and avoid license issue with PHP (the old CSS was derived from the output of phpinfo())
  • New test: PhpSecInfo_Test_Session_Save_Path
  • Added display of “current” and “recommended” settings in test result output
  • Various minor changes and bug fixes; see the CHANGELOG for details

-Download now

-Join the mailing list


2007: The year of the 9,999 vulnerabilities?

A look at the National Vulnerability Database statistics will reveal that the number of vulnerabilities found yearly has greatly increased since 2003:


Average yearly increase (including the 2002-2003 decline): 48%

6605*1.48= 9775

So, that’s not quite 9999, but fairly close.  There’s enough variance that hitting 9999 in 2007 seems a plausible event.  If not in 2007, then it seems likely that we’ll hit 9999 in 2008.  So, what does it matter?

MITRE’s CVE effort uses a numbering scheme for vulnerabilities that can accomodate only 9999 vulnerabilities:  CVE-YEAR-XXXX.  Many products and vulnerability databases that are CVE-compatible (e.g., my own Cassandra service, CIRDB, etc…) use a field of fixed size just big enough for that format.  We’re facing a problem similar, although much smaller in scope, to the year-2000 overflow.  When the board of editors of the CVE was formed, the total number of vulnerabilities known, not those found yearly, was in the hundreds.  A yearly number of 9999 seemed astronomical;  I’m sure that anyone who would have brought up that as a concern back then would have been laughed at.  I felt at the time that it would take a security apocalypse to reach that.  Yet there we are, and a fair warning to everyone using or developing CVE-compatible products.

Kudos to the National Vulnerability Database and the MITRE CVE teams for keeping up under the onslaught.  I’m impressed.

Using mod_security to block PHP injection attacks

mod_security is an essential tool for securing any apache-based hosting environment.  The Pathfinder High Performance Infrastructure blog has posted a good starter piece on using mod_security to block email injections.

One of the more common problems with PHP-based applications is that they can allow the injection of malicious content, such as SQL or email spam. In some cases we find that over 95% of a client’s ISP traffic is coming from spam injection. The solution? Grab an industrial size helping of Apache mod_security.

BTW, Ivan Ristic’s (the developer of mod_security) Web Security Blog is well worth a spot in your blogroll.

(Edit: fixed title.  Duh.)

Useful Awareness Videos

The results are in from the EDUCAUSE Security Task Force’s Computer Security Awareness Video Contest.  Topics covered include spyware, phishing, and patching.  The winning video,  Superhighway Safety, uses a simple running metaphor, a steady beat, and stark visual effects to concisely convey the dangers to online computing as well as the steps one can take to protect his or her computer and personal information.

The videos are available for educational, noncommercial use, provided that each is identified as being a winning entry in the contest.  In addition to being great educational/awareness tools, they should serve as inspiration for K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

Web App Security - The New Battlefront

Well, we’re all pretty beat from this year’s Symposium, but things went off pretty well.  Along with lots of running around to make sure posters showed up and stuff, I was able to give a presentation called Web Application Security - The New Battlefront.  People must like ridiculous titles like that, because turnout was pretty good.  Anyway, I covered the current trend away from OS attacks/vandalism and towards application attacks for financial gain, which includes web apps.  We went over the major types of attacks, and I introduced a brief summary of what I feel needs to be done in the education, tool development, and app auditing areas to improve the rather poor state of affairs.  I’ll expand on these topics more in the future, but you can see my slides and watch the video for now: