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Posts Tagged ‘vulnerability scanning’

Do You Need IT Penetration Testing?

Posted by websiteverification on January 19, 2012

IT penetration testing is a process used to assess the safety and security of a computer system or network by faking an attack from malicious hackers.  The procedure is related to a vulnerability assessment, but includes a lot more.  A vulnerability assessment is performed by a machine looking throughout your network.   With a penetration test, a professional penetration testing resource reviews the results of the vulnerability scans and also validates the results against the network or application.  Because it is an actual human being performing the review, there are frequently new findings that a machine doesn’t catch.  Also, because the test is usually carried out from the position of a prospective hacker, it will more often find the vulnerabilities that hackers find.  You may have heard penetration testing referred to as ethical hacking.

Penetration testing is done for many different reasons.  Some of these are: To discover high risk vulnerabilities that can result from low risk vulnerabilities.  To recognize vulnerabilities that may otherwise be hard to identify with automated network or vulnerability scanning software. Testing networks to be able to successfully detect and respond to hacking attacks.

Penetration tests are an element of a security audit.  The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the security and auditing standard require both annual and ongoing penetration testing.

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You Can Overcome Website Vulnerabilities That Can Lead to Hacking

Posted by websiteverification on March 18, 2011

All website and online business owners are concerned about the website vulnerabilities that may affect their site.  This is because internet threats are everyone.  One in particular is hacking.  Everyone has heard of computer hacking, but do you really know what can happen to your website if it is hacked? How can you overcome website vulnerabilities that lead to hacking?

Wikipedia describes computer hacking as the practice of changing computer hardware and software to accomplish a function which is outside of the creator’s original purpose.  Essentially, hacking is unlawful use of a computer and its network resources. Crimes such as identity theft, credit card fraud or other computer crimes are often the result of hacking.

Some hackers are technology buffs who enjoy learning how computers work and may even consider computer hacking as a form of art.  However, computer hacking is illegal unless it is done under contract between an ethical hacker and an organization.

Vulnerability scanning is the best way to protect your website from the vulnerabilities that can lead to things like hacking.   It is crucial that you test your website applications on a regular basis to ensure the safety of your computer systems and web data, as well as your customer’s private information. According to the PCI Security Standards, you should have your website and system scanned at least quarterly by an approved scanning vendor.  The vulnerability scans will identify any type of vulnerabilities found in your website so you can fix them.

So if you are doing what you should be and taking the steps to protect your site and overcome website vulnerabilities, then you will look out for computer hackers.

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Avoid Website Vulnerabilities

Posted by websiteverification on November 11, 2010

When you have created your own website, you need to be aware of the risks of website vulnerabilities.  You spend a lot of time producing your website and maintaining it.  You don’t want an attack against your site because most likely, you would have to start all over.  Be sure that your site is not vulnerable to malicious attacks.  Below are listed some of the most prevalent website attacks that you should be aware of.

Cross Site Scripting

Cross site scripting (also known as XSS) has been proven to be the most prevalent threats to websites. XSS happens when one of your web applications gathers malicious data because of an attacker setting it up. Malicious attackers insert client side script into web pages that are viewed by other users.  When the user clicks on a link to your site from another website, instant message, or email message, it attacks your site.  The attacker is then able to gather data from your site, and it can cause major problems. The best way to avoid this is as a user, only open links from web pages that are trusted.  Cross site scripting is one of the most common threats to websites.

SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks are another common website threat. SQL stands for “structured query language”.  An SQL injection attack is when a person places malicious code into the SQL strings of your website.  The producer of the website may accept the code while they are creating their website, not realizing that it is malicious.  It will then cause major problems to the website because the attacker will now have access to website data.  They may change or steal data from your website.

Session Hijacking

Another threat to be sure your website is not vulnerable of is session hijacking.  This is when a valid computer session is exploited.  The attacker is able to take over a web user’s computer session by obtaining the session id and then pretending to be the authorized user.  They can then steal important information from the victim.  Session hijacking may or may not be detectable to the website owner.  But if your website is not responding in the normal or expected way, session hijacking could be a possible cause, so be aware.

So if you are an owner of a website, you need to watch out for these website vulnerabilities.  One of the best ways to get rid of any website vulnerabilities is to have quarterly scans of your website by an approved scanning vendor.

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What You Should Know About PCI Vulnerability Standards

Posted by websiteverification on June 29, 2010

The topic of the PCI Vulnerability Standards has been all over the web over the last few years. By now we all pretty much know that PCI compliance is an obligation for all merchants that accept credit cards. But all the talk about PCI has brought up numerous questions as well.  I put together a list of some frequently asked questions to help everyone with some answers.

What exactly are the PCI Vulnerability Standards? The PCI vulnerability standards, usually referred to as PCI DSS (PCI data security standards), consist of 12 detailed requirements produced by the PCI council.  The PCI council consists of the five major credit card companies. The standards were created for the purpose of bringing forth a unified way for businesses to keep their customer’s private information safe and secure. It was put into place September of 2006.

Do the PCI standards apply to all businesses? Any business that accepts transmits or stores credit card information must meet the specifications of PCI compliance, no matter their size.  To put it more simply, if you accept credit cards at your place of business, then the PCI requirements must be followed.

What if we don’t accept credit cards, but we accept debit cards? PCI compliance still applies here.  The PCI standards must be followed by any organization accepting credit or debit cards, or pre paid cards.  Essentially, if you are accepting any kind of cards branded with a logo from one of the five major credit card companies – American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, or Visa – you must be in compliance.

Where is a complete list of the PCI Vulnerability Standards? Check out the website https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org.

How is PCI scanning related to PCI compliance? According to the PCI council, in order to sustain proper PCI compliance, your business should undergo daily or quarterly PCI scans of your system.  An ASV, approved scanning vendor, should scan your system including things like your website, office internet connections, and more.  Basically anything that is connected to a public IP address.

What happens if I am not in compliance? Outrageous fines as high as $100,000 a month may be charged for violating PCI.  This can becatastrophic, especially to small businesses, so do not take this lightly.

This article may or may not have answered all your PCI related questions.  Above all just remember that the PCI vulnerability standards must be followed and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. There is a lot of information available and PCI compliance is very important.

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Identity Theft Can Be Avoided With Vulnerability Assessments

Posted by websiteverification on June 26, 2009

It has been said that identity theft is the largest white collar crime ever in the United States.  As a website owner, you may wonder what you can do to protect your clients.  I am here to recommend that you should definitely have vulnerability assessments done on your website.  A vulnerability assessment is defined as the process of identifying, quantifying and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system.  You may have also heard of vulnerability scanning or pci scanning, it is really all basically the same thing.  And it is one of the best ways that you, as an online business owner, can protect the information of your customers.

Criminal identity theft occurs when a thieve gives another person’s name and personal information such as a drivers’ license, date of birth, or Social Security number (SSN) to obtain a job, housing, money, goods, or other services. It’s been reported by the Federal Trade Commission that in the last twelve months 9.93 million people have had some type of identity theft crime committed against them. Victims spend on average $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses and an average of 175 hours in time and effort to resolve the many problems caused by identity thieves. The scary thing is that it takes a victim on average 12 months before they even realize they have been victimized!

So how can vulnerability assessments help? Having vulnerability scanning conducted by an approved scanning vendor yearly or even quarterly can protect your site and help keep you compliant with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards). Merchants that accept, process or store credit card information on their site, must have the scanning conducted.  Once passing the scan they will receive the official certification that they need to submit to their acquiring bank.  You can be sure that you will avoid penalties and heavy fines, if you are conducting these scans and staying compliant.

It has been proven that merchants who are pci compliant see online orders increase. Why? Because shoppers are more confident in using their credit cards online when they know that the sites they are shopping on are more protected from the risk of identity theft.

Some areas that are tested during a vulnerability assessment are firewalls, server vulnerabilities, virtual private networking (VPN), email configuration, remote access services, web site analysis, modems, and more.

So if you own an online business, don’t take any risks.  Keep your site compliant and safe from identity thieves for the protection of your business and your customers. Start vulnerability assessments now.

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Vulnerability Assessments?

Posted by websiteverification on March 18, 2009

You may have heard the term “vulnerability assessment, but aren’t quite sure what it means. You are not alone. I ran into this term a few times in my research and wasn’t quite sure what to think, so I decided to find out what exactly a vulnerability assessment is, and how it relates to PCI compliance.

These days, the risk of threats on the internet has become increasingly worrisome. The rising cleverness of intruder attacks using vulnerabilities found in online networks and applications has made it crucial for businesses to assess their network on a regular basis. This is where a vulnerability assessment comes in. A vulnerability assessment works hand in hand with PCI scanning to accurately scan web applications, databases, networks, operating systems and other software to find threats and assess the risk to the business. In a nutshell, running these PCI scans (sometimes referred to as vulnerability scans) help to reveal any areas in your network that are weak or prone to attack. Then you will be able to make any changes needed to your network to ensure that your business and customers are safe.

As with anything, it is important to realize that using vulnerability scanning alone, is not entirely fail-safe. As a business, you can combine the use of vulnerability scanning along with other means of website protection to ensure the security of your business and customers. Also, you should be aware, that not all vulnerability or PCI scanners are the same, so you really should do some research and make sure that you are using an approved scanning vendor (aka ASV), that will do the best job for you.

A company that I have found to be very helpful in all my research is Trust Guard. They offer a lot of information on a vulnerability assessment and vulnerability scanning. Check it out, and ensure that your business is protected.

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