Minggu, 06 Mei 2012

30 Questions Every Manager Should Ask-Network Security

1. What does your network/security architecture diagram look like?
The first thing you need to know to protect your network and systems is
what you are protecting. You must know:
• The physical topologies
• Logical topologies (Ethernet, ATM, 802.11, VoIP, etc.)
• Types of operating systems
• Perimeter protection measures (firewall and IDS placement, etc.)
• Types of devices used (routers, switches, etc.)
• Location of DMZs
• IP address ranges and subnets
• Use of NAT

In addition, you must know where the diagram is stored and that it is
regularly updated as changes are made.

2. What resources are located on your DMZ?
Only systems that are semi-public should be kept on the DMZ. This
includes external web servers, external mail servers, and external DNS.
A split-architecture may be used where internal web, mail, and DNS are
also located on the internal network.

3. What resources are located on your internal network?
In addition to internal web, mail, and DNS servers, your internal network
could also include databases, application servers, and test and
development servers.

4. Where is your organization’s security policy posted and what is in it?
There should be an overall policy that establishes the direction of the
organization and its security mission as well as roles and
responsibilities. There can also be system-specific policies to address
for individual systems. Most importantly, the policies should address the
appropriate use of computing resources. In addition, policies can
address a number of security controls from passwords and backups
to proprietary information. There should be clear procedures and
processes to follow for each policy. These policies should be included in
the employee handbook and posted on a readily accessible intranet site.

5. What is your organization’s password policy?
A password policy should require that a password:
• Be at least 8 characters long
• Contain both alphanumeric and special characters
• Change every 60 days
• Cannot be reused after every five cycles
• Is locked out after 3 failed attempts
In addition, you should be performing regular password auditing to check
the strength of passwords; this should also be documented in the
password policy.

6. What applications and services are specifically denied by your
organization’s security policy?
Your organization’s security policy should specify applications, services,
and activities that are prohibited. These can include, among others:
• Viewing inappropriate material
• Spam
• Peer-to-peer file sharing
• Instant messaging
• Unauthorized wireless devices
• Use of unencrypted remote connections such as Telnet and FTP

7. What types of IDSs does your organization use?
To provide the best level of detection, an organization should use a
combination of both signature-based and anomaly-based intrusion
detection systems. This allows both known and unknown attacks to be
detected. The IDSs should be distributed throughout the network,
including areas such as the Internet connection, the DMZ, and internal

8. Besides default rulesets, what activities are actively monitored by
your IDS?
IDSs come with default rulesets to look for common attacks. These
rulesets must also be customized and augmented to look for traffic and
activities specific to your organization’s security policy. For example, if
your organization’s security policy prohibits peer-to-peer
communications, then a rule should be created to watch for that type of
activity. In addition, outbound traffic should be watched for potential
Trojans and backdoors.

9. What type of remote access is allowed?
Remote access should be tightly controlled, monitored, and audited. It
should only be provided over a secure communication channel that uses
encryption and strong authentication, such as an IPSEC VPN. Desktop
modems (including applications such as PCAnywhere), unsecured
wireless access points, and other vulnerable methods of remote access
should be prohibited.

10. What is your wireless infrastructure?
Part of knowing your network architecture includes knowing the location
of wireless networks since they create another possible entry point for
an attacker. You must also confirm whether they are being used for
sensitive data and are they secured as best as possible.

11. How is your wireless infrastructure secured?
Wireless access must at least use WEP with 128-bit encryption.
Although this provides some security, it is not very robust, which is why
your wireless network should not be used for sensitive data. Consider
moving to the 802.11i standard with AES encryption when it is finalized.

12. What desktop protections are used?
Desktops should have a combination of anti-virus software, personal
firewall, and host-based intrusion detection. Each of these software
packages must be regularly updated as new signatures are deployed.
They must also be centrally managed and controlled.

13. Where, when, and what type of encryption is used?
VPNs should be used for remote access and other sensitive
communication. IPSEC is a great choice for this purpose. Strong
encryption protocols such as 3DES and AES should be used whenever
possible. Web access to sensitive or proprietary information should be
protected with 128-bit SSL. Remote system administration should use
SSH. Sometimes file system encryption is also used to protect stored

14. What is your backup policy?
A good backup policy includes weekly full backups with incremental
backups performed daily. This includes all critical systems. In addition,
the backups should be stored at an offsite location. Since backups
include very valuable, easily accessible information, only trusted
individuals should be performing them and have access to them. An
organization should also encourage users to perform local backups as

15. How is sensitive information disposed?
Hard copies of sensitive information should be destroyed by pulping,
shredding, or incinerating. Sensitive information on hard drives and disks
should be completely erased using special software, or the disks
destroyed. Simply deleting a file is not sufficient to prevent attackers
from undeleting the file later. If you are disposing of a computer system,
be sure to erase all sensitive files from the hard drive by using a wipeout

16. What is included in your disaster recovery plan?
Your disaster recovery plan (DRP) should include recovery of data
centers and recovery of business operations. It should also include
recovery of the accrual physical business location and recovery of the
business processes necessary to resume normal operations. In addition,
the DRP should address alternate operating sites.

17. How often is your disaster recovery plan tested?
The plan is no good unless it is tested at least once a year. These tests
will iron out problems in the plan and make it more efficient and
successful if/when it is needed. Testing can include walkthroughs,
simulation, or a full out implementation.

18. What types of attacks are you seeing?
Typically an organization sees a constant stream of port scan attacks.
These are a regular occurrence on the Internet as a result of attackers
and worms. An organization should not be seeing many substantial
attacks such as compromises, backdoors, or exploits on systems. This
would indicate that the security defenses are weak, patching may not be
occurring, or other vulnerabilities exist.

19. How often are logs reviewed?
Logs should be reviewed every day. This includes IDS logs, system
logs, management station logs, etc. Not reviewing the logs is one of the
biggest mistakes an organization can make. Events of interest should
be investigated daily. It can be a very tedious task for a single person to
do this job as their only assignment (unless they really enjoy it). It is
better to have a log review rotation system amongst the security team.

20. How often are you performing vulnerability scanning?
An organization should be performing vulnerability scanning as often as
possible, depending on the size of the network. The scanning should be
scheduled to allow adequate time to review the reports, discover
anything that has changed, and mitigate the vulnerability.

21. What physical security controls are in place in your organization?
Physical security is a large area that must be addressed by an
organization. Examples of physical controls includes physical access
controls (signs, locks, security guards, badges/PINs, bag
search/scanning, metal detectors), CCTV, motion detectors, smoke and
water detectors, and backup power generators.

22. What are your critical business systems and processes?
Identifying your critical business systems and processes is the first step
an organization should take in order to implement the appropriate
security protections. Knowing what to protect helps determine the
necessary security controls. Knowing the critical systems and processes
helps determine the business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan
process. Critical business systems and processes may include an ecommerce
site, customer database information, employee database
information, the ability to answer phone calls, the ability to respond to
Internet queries, etc.

23. What are the specific threats to your organization?
In addition to identifying the critical business systems and processes, it
is important to identify the possible threats to those systems as well as
the organization as a whole. You should consider both external and
internal threats and attacks using various entry points (wireless,
malicious code, subverting the firewall, etc.). Once again, this will assist
in implementing the appropriate security protections and creating
business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

24. What are the tolerable levels of impact your systems can have?
An organization must understand how an outage could impact the ability
to continue operations. For example, you must determine how long
systems can be down, the impact on cash flow, the impact on service
level agreements, and the key resources that must be kept running.

25. Are you performing content level inspections?
In addition to the content level inspection performed by the IDS,
specific content inspections should also be performed on web server
traffic and other application traffic. Some attacks evade detection by
containing themselves in the payload of packets, or by altering the
packet in some way, such as fragmentation. Content level inspection at
the web server or application server will protect against attacks such as
those that are tunneled in legitimate communications, attacks with
malicious data, and unauthorized application usage.

26. How often are your systems patched?
Systems should be patched every time a new patch is released. Many
organizations don’t patch regularly and tend to not patch critical systems
because they don’t want to risk downtime. However, critical systems are
the most important to patch. You must schedule regular maintenance
downtime to patch systems. As vulnerabilities are discovered, attackers
often release exploits even before system patches are available.
Therefore, it is imperative to patch systems as soon as possible.

27. How are you protecting against social engineering and phishing
The best way to protect against social engineering and phishing attacks
is to educate the users. Employees should attend security awareness
training that explains these types of attacks, what to expect, and how to
respond. There should also be a publicly posted incidents email address
to report suspicious activity.

28. What security measures are in place for in-house developed
Any development that is taking place in house should include security
from the beginning of the development process. Security needs to be a
part of standard requirements and testing procedures. Code reviews
should be conducted by a test team to look for vulnerabilities such as
buffer overflows and backdoors. For security reasons, it is not a good
idea to subcontract development work to third parties.

29. What type of traffic are you denying at the firewall?
There should be a default deny rule on all firewalls to disallow anything
that is not explicitly permitted. This is more secure than explicitly denying
certain traffic because that can create holes and oversights on some
potentially malicious traffic.

30. How are you monitoring for Trojans and backdoors?
In addition to periodic vulnerability scanning, outgoing traffic should
be inspected before it leaves the network, looking for potentially
compromised systems. Organizations often focus on traffic and
attacks coming into the network and forget about monitoring
outgoing traffic. Not only will this detect compromised systems with
Trojans and backdoors, but it will also detect potentially malicious
or inappropriate insider activity.

Author: Dr. Eric Cole
Chief Security Strategist
Secure Anchor Consulting


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