Saturday, 27 February 2021

What Are the Pros and Cons of Network Penetration Testing?

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There are an increasing number of cyber threats impacting various industries around the world. Significant sectors, including retail, government, healthcare, automobile, real estate, etc., have experienced some kind of breach due to a pre-existing flaw in their IT infrastructure. More organizations are motivated to re-examine their security measures and hire security professionals to protect their sensitive information, which is where network penetration testing steps in.

Network penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack performed to assess exploitable vulnerabilities in your computer network and applications. It is widely accepted as a significant branch of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity experts expect that it will become a USD 4.5 billion industry by 2025.

Network penetration testing is a popular exercise, but there are some disadvantages in the process that may result in significant issues. This blog will shine a light on some of the major positive and negative aspects of a pen test that you should keep in mind before you conduct your next one.

Pros of Penetration Testing

Identify All Types of Vulnerabilities

One of the major benefits of conducting a penetration test is identifying the different range of vulnerabilities. Organizations are susceptible to several potential threats, which might be capable of leveraging hordes of vulnerabilities.

Moreover, these vulnerabilities are exposed to possibly destructive attacks (e.g., SQL injection). Actions like error pages seem non-threatening, but they can offer hackers ample opportunities to manipulate a less noticeable but highly destructive vulnerability.

Evade Fines and Penalties

Business associations have made penetration testing a compulsory process. It is also essential that the entities conducting the pen test reveal the name of the pen tester. These organizations prescribe an essential network penetration testing checklist that needs to be followed, or else face severe fines. Penetration testing helps in evading these fines and penalties, which is also essential for the business’ reputation.

Identify High-Risk Weaknesses

Certain loopholes exist in the system, even if management is aware of it. These loopholes are constantly under threat of being exploited by a hacker. They take their time to pry open small security gaps until they become significant vulnerabilities. The network penetration testing process identifies such existing loopholes that you can close or keep an eye on.

Risk analysis is an essential aspect of pen testing. Network penetration test reports can score and rank weaknesses based on the scale of the risk and the organization’s budget. The companies can then concentrate on a specific vulnerability that can cause significant damage.

Prioritize Threats

A pen testing report is a very detailed analysis of all the threats that the IT infrastructure is exposed to. The upper management can prioritize the threats and fix them one by one. Some vulnerabilities are costly and take time, while others take a few minutes to resolve. Prioritization will also allow you to oversee the process and keep an eye on budget and resource churn.

Cons of Penetration Testing

A Time-Consuming Process

Network penetration testing takes a lot of time to examine a specific system to pinpoint attack vectors. A thorough pen test can take between a few weeks if the business is looking for a detailed report. If you plan to conduct a pen test, your employees should be ready to face certain inconveniences at work.

Trust Issues

White box penetration testing requires clients to divulge complete information and give the tester open access to applications and networks. This can be challenging if there is no trust between the tester and the client. Besides, applying the same strategies as the “bad guys” raises ethical questions.

Can Cause Damage If Not Done Right

Damages may occur if the penetration test isn’t done correctly. A slight mistake can go on to cause significant damages and halt operations for a long time. As a solution, you should always hire an experienced penetration tester who has worked on different scenarios with businesses big and small. He/she will be more careful while handling your system.

How to Hire the Right Pen Tester

Penetration testing is a mandatory process in this era. In fact, many trade organizations prescribe this activity, and not adhering to the guidelines can result in massive fines. Despite this, penetration testing could have severe negative effects if not taken care of properly. In order to ensure that your pen testing exercise doesn’t turn into bad news, you should hire an experienced professional to carry out this task.

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An expert pen testing professional should know how to work in different IT infrastructures and resolve a variety of issues. You should always check their certifications because those play an important role in shaping their knowledge base.

Whether you’re looking to hire or become a pen tester, EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) is the ultimate penetration testing certification. It’s been designed to help narrow the skill gap and maps to the positions of a security analyst and penetration tester, allowing aspirants to take their skills to the next level by learning about the latest tools and technologies. The certification also offers real-world experience, providing the practical knowledge they need to succeed.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

Phishing Trends to Look Out For in 2021

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With a vast number of corporate employees working from home, digital threat actors or hackers are indulging in phishing attacks now more than ever, exploiting people’s fear of the ceaseless spread of COVID-19.

With the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the globe, many countries have shut down public places as a precautionary measure. Many countries have shut down educational institutes, offices, and canceled public gatherings. Some countries in Europe, where the infection rate is high have escalated the lock down to even a greater level. As many organizations in comparatively less infected countries have been advised to reduce their workforce, many are deciding whether or not to allow employees to work from home, but a new cybersecurity threat looms.

Read More: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA v10)

Recorded Future has reported the registration of thousands of fake coronavirus-related websites claiming to provide updates on the spread of the disease, its control, and treatment. Tapping into the fear surrounding the pandemic and the lack of ideal security measures for people working from home, threat actors are exploiting the situation with the spread of malware through Phishing.

Security researchers at Mimecast Threat Intelligence have studied more than 300 variants of Phishing campaigns that target remote workers that appear to be authentic health details offered by trusted healthcare organizations. The most common variants are either a map representing the spread of infection or a list of coronavirus precautions and tips. Uploaded in OneDrive, the scam prompts the user for their login credentials, counting on human error as they give into their fear or curiosity.

In addition to these types of Covid-19 Phishing scams, Kaspersky Labs has ironically discovered a new strain of COVID family pathology, a cookie trojan termed “Cookiethief”. This trojan tends to acquire the root rights for the victim’s device first, and then transfers cookies used by their browser to the attacker’s system. For Facebook, the use of the stolen cookies can be made to access a unique session ID, enabled by the Facebook app on Android that identifies and grants access to the user without a need for password and login; thus, enabling the attacker to bypass the authentication.

Phishing Assaults and Upcoming Trends

Multiple Phishing cases and a spike in hacker activity are keeping up with the novel coronavirus spread, as reported by various national and international cybersecurity institutions.

Skynew reported the targeting of healthcare workers by cybercriminals via email scams, luring them to register for a fake survey about coronavirus, aimed at obtaining their personal information. Similarly, Check Point reported in its research that a Mongolian public sector was targeted with Phishing emails trying to appear as coronavirus briefings published by the Mongolian Health Ministry. These Phishing emails are generally followed with ransomware attacks, such as in Illinois where its public health agency reported a ransomware attack by a relatively new ransomware called the ‘NetWalker’ resulting in its main website being disabled. Threat actors are exploiting the current situation to satisfy their financial desires or other malicious causes. The current COVID pandemic is being utilized by these attackers to bank on the fear of people and spread false and misleading information to sow distrust.

The aim of such attacks differs widely, from obtaining funds to non governmental agendas. The top sector being targeted is the business sector, which is currently in a slump in many major countries. Due to the lockdowns and self-quarantine rules, many new people are working from home and these endpoint users working away from the organization's security structure tend to be more easily penetrable.

As Phishing emails were common and recurrent since long before coronavirus hit, a question might arise, how is it different this time? Naturally there are many security measures against scams that organizations typically apply on a daily basis, but these are not normal times. During a pandemic crisis many organizations and government bodies are focusing their attention towards fighting the spread of the disease; hence, stretching thin their manpower and resources committed to cybersecurity. And, like any other operation, cybersecurity is also dependent on many other organizational branches and processes to form a network of security operations; thus, even the closure of any one vertical will affect the entire network's efficiency. In European countries where the shutdown is very intense, and a majority of IT employees are working from home, the only ways to carry out work is either the availability of work programs in the cloud or to connect to the office network through VPN (Virtual Private Network).


Cloud computing is at its core large server farms present at physical locations, collecting and distributing data throughout the globe. It is ubiquitously available for users to access information at any given time or place using a web browser. The application of cloud is flexible for organizations as it is sourced and maintained by cloud vendors, who also find the maintenance of cloud more affordable as a single farm could be used to host the applications and information from multiple clients. Also, as the cloud is hosted by specialized vendors who are or have employed cybersecurity experts, cloud security is considered one of the most formidable security features across the cybersecurity landscape. Thus, companies that incorporate cloud into their business process tend to migrate all of their workload to cloud and provide its employees with login access to these portals. Though cloud computing is spreading across the digital market like wildfire, there still exists many small and medium organizations that have not yet adopted it, and still use private servers for running business related applications and storing information.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Virtual Private Network, as its name suggests, are channels created virtually to connect users to private networks. It is more like extending the private network across the public network to connect to the user. Even the ISP provider does not have any control or knowledge of its traffic. It allows employees and branch offices to directly connect to the network of the main office. VPN does not make network connections completely anonymous. Information about the users at the end points of the VPN is plainly visible, but the data being communicated between these users is private. VPN provides robust security features using tunneling protocols or cryptography where the authentication protocol of valid users is required to be satisfied for secure connection. Different VPN vendors provide a different combination of tunneling protocols such as PPTP (Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol), L2TP (Layer Two Tunnelling Protocol), IPSec (Internet Protocol Security), etc., and encryption (symmetric and asymmetric) such as AES, RSA, Blowfish, Diffie-Hellman, etc.

Regardless of cybersecurity measures in place, even a well-secured network can be hacked if the user is not aware of cybersecurity threats and their prevention. Like the examples above where Phishing attacks prompted users to log into the malicious OneDrive, which siphoned their username and password, credentials for both cloud and VPN could be easily obtained by dropping sniffers and decryption tools into the user’s network end. Where The sniffers try to search for logs or files where credentials might have been stored, and decryption tools may try to work on the weak symmetric ciphers. So it’s vital that users become the first line of defense to combat Phishing attacks.

Mitigation of Phishing Scams with Security Awareness Training

The prevention of Phishing for a non-technical person is improved with anti-phishing education and awareness provided by many reputable organizations such as OhPhish, which provides education and training for an organization’s employees against Phishing attacks. Only understanding Phishing theoretically is not sufficient because, even if a person knows Phishing is done via malicious/spam emails, one cannot possibly differentiate between a benign and malicious email. Thus, practical experience of Phishing attacks and how to tackle them is very helpful. OhPhish solutions provide virtual simulations for Phishing attacks by sending employees Phishing emails and monitoring their response to it, based on their result-tailored education and mitigation knowledge.

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As the user her/himself is the first line of defense against any cyberattack, the know-how to tackle Phishing attacks is highly important. Anti-Phishing education could not only help to educate the employees of any organization, on ways to recognize and tackle Phishing emails, but offer the advice and training of security experts along the way. The training of IT people regarding different types of Phishing modes can be done as:

◉ Spear Phishing: Customized emails/campaigns are tailor-made to match the work discipline of the target industry. In some cases, the threat actors conduct reconnaissance to obtain and uncover as much information as possible to make the Phishing template more believable. This includes using names and emails of clients of the company to trick the user into believing the validity of its origin. The solution for such attacks forms the core of anti-Phishing training vendors, where they teach upon differentiation and quarantine of such emails.

◉ Vishing & Smishing: Voice Phishing and SMS Phishing conducted through phone calls or messages, respectively, by the threat actor pretending to be your IT service/security admin. The prevention of which involves training simulations with employees to increase their sense of risk awareness.

The immediate precautions against such threats involve securing the cloud and VPN access at both remote systems and the central network, along with immediate creation of security policies and guidelines that help in educating the remote workers on handling and mitigating such attacks. Whereas the long-term policy dictating security responsibilities in such situations in future could only be achieved through assisted education and awareness programs.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

5 Reasons Why IT Admins Need Network Defense Training

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Every field in the IT sector has gone through gradual updates. As time goes by and new technologies arrive, some departments become redundant, and their employees are expected to transition into new roles.

Network administration is a similar example. Just see how far networking has come since the early days of the internet. Today, the job profile is so niched that specialized certifications are training professionals for a rewarding IT administrator career path. IT admins today face a grave challenge from hackers who are continuously innovating their attack methods. Apart from this, the arrival of new technologies like Internet of Things, blockchain, and mobile devices have also prompted the need for network professionals to learn further.

Network defense training is now a must for IT and network admins. Just notice how cyber threats have increased since last year. The cause of the high-profile Manchester United hack in 2020 is attributed to ignorance of sports associations regarding cyber defense. But such incidents will motivate employers to make room for network security officers to ensure a hacker-proof IT infrastructure. If you are a network administrator not satisfied with your current role and want something more, network defense training would be wise. Here are a few reasons that will help you make your decision.

A Network Admin’s Expertise Won’t Be Enough in the Future

IT admins with CCNA and MCSE training may find themselves in a constricted environment with their role slowly becoming redundant. It is not that a network administrator will not get jobs in the future, but why wait if there is a chance to grow further? IT professionals should think like a hacker to counter emerging cyber threats. A network defense certification will help you achieve these goals and ensure the longevity of your career.

Changing Market Trends and New Challenges

A network defense certification will provide you with a practical approach to deal with network security problems. Most future job roles will require an understanding of IoT and Cloud. Attacks like DDoS are too complex for a network administrator to sense and raise the alarm. Defense in depth is another popular network security approach that a network administrator is expected to know about. Changing norms will force every network administrator to consider a network security certification.

According to, the global network security market size is anticipated to register at a CAGR of 10.2%, growing from USD 168.27 billion in 2019 to attain a valuation of USD 273.58 billion by 2027.

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Source –

New Career Opportunities Around the World

Organizations are expressing a growing interest in hiring a network security officer. A network defender analyst earns an average of $62,083 per year. The professionals who have prior expertise as an IT admin can learn network components, policies, and technologies through network security training. A certification will help you land a job in a prestigious organization as it elevates your skill set.

Find Quick Promotions in the Same Organization

With a network defense certification, you are very likely to get promoted to higher-level jobs in the same organization. Advanced understanding of networking will ensure that your employers see you as an asset who they won’t let go of.

Continuous Scope to Learn More

Network Security officers have a bright future, but that doesn’t mean that it is the end of their careers. You can consider the following job roles in future:

◉ Threat Intelligence Analyst
◉ Forensic Investigator
◉ SOC Analyst

The chance to reach new heights in your career path is always around when you are a network security officer.


Saturday, 20 February 2021

What is Digital Evidence and Why Is It Important?

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Digital devices surround our world in 2021. The immediate thought we get of a digital device is a computer, mobile phone, or internet. But the rise of IoT has made every electronic device a source of digital evidence. For instance, a built-in TV can be used to store, view, and share illegal images. Digital forensics experts, who are the first responders in this case, need to recognize and be able to properly seize every potential digital device for evidence.

If you are keen on a career as a forensic investigator to serve your community and help solve crimes, this blog will serve as your introduction to collecting digital evidence, along with the best path forward to pursue a calling in this exciting field.

What Is Digital Evidence?

Digital evidence can be defined as the information or valuable data stored on a computer or a mobile device that was seized by a law enforcement organization as part of a criminal investigation.

Digital evidence is commonly associated with e-crime (Electronic Crime), such as credit card fraud or child pornography. The information stored or transmitted in binary form on a computer hard drive, a mobile phone, or any other electronic device can be used as digital evidence by the forensic responders in a court of law. This evidence can include files on emails or mobile phones of the suspects, which could be critical to track their intent and location at the time of the crime and the searches they made on search platforms like Google or YouTube.

The types of evidences that a digital forensic examiner must consider are:

1. Analogical Evidence

This kind of evidence can only be useful for increasing credibility by drawing parallels when there isn’t enough information to prove something in a workplace investigation, but it cannot be produced as evidence in a court of law.

2. Anecdotal Evidence

This type of evidence can only be used to get a better picture of an issue and to support a particular conclusion, but cannot be used in court as evidence.

3. Circumstantial Evidence

This type of evidence is used to infer something based on a series of facts. It can be used in criminal investigations to separate facts from other facts that can be proven when no strong evidence is considered.

4. Character Evidence

This is a document or testimony that can help prove that the actions were taken in a particular way based on another person’s character. It can be used to prove intent, motive, or opportunity.

5. Digital Evidence

Digital evidence can be any sort of digital file from an electronic source. This includes email, text messages, instant messages, files and documents extracted from hard drives, electronic financial transactions, audio files, and video files.

6. Demonstrative Evidence

A document or an object which demonstrates a fact can be considered as demonstrative evidence.

7. Documentary Evidence

Written forms of evidence such as letters or wills, documentary forms of media evidence such as images, audio recordings, or video formats.

8. Direct Evidence

The testimony of a witness who can give a first-hand account of the incident is the most powerful type of evidence.

9. Exculpatory Evidence

A law enforcement personnel can disclose any exculpatory evidence to the defendant that they think can help the case get dismissed.

10. Forensic Evidence

Scientific evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, trace evidence, and ballistic reports comes under forensic evidence, providing solid proof for a person’s guilt or innocence.

11. Testimonial Evidence

Spoken or written evidence given by a witness forms the most common type of evidence.

What Are the Types of Digital Evidence?

There are basically two types of digital evidence:

◉ Volatile, which is non-persistent: Memory that loses its content once the power is turned off like data stored in RAM (semiconductor storage).

◉ Non-volatile, which is persistent: No change in content even if the power is turned off. For example, data stored in a tape, hard drive, CD/DVD, and ROM.

Digital evidence can be found on any server or device that stores data, including some new home gadgets such as video game consoles, GPS sports watches, and internet-enabled devices used in home automation. Digital evidence is often found through internet searches using open-source intelligence (OSINT).

Digital evidence encompass any sort of digital file from an electronic device. This includes email, text messages, instant messages, files, and documents extracted from hard drives, electronic financial transactions, audio files, video files.

The five rules while gathering digital evidence are admissible, authentic, complete, reliable, and believable.

How to Perform Digital Evidence Acquisition and Analysis?

Digital evidence collection essentially involves a 3-step sequential process:

◉ Seizing the available electronic media.

◉ Acquiring and creating a forensic image of the electronic media for examination.

◉ Analyzing the forensic image of the original media. This ensures that the original media is not modified during analysis and helps preserve the probative value of the evidence.

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Large-capacity electronic devices seized as evidence in a criminal investigation, such as computer hard drives and external drives, may be 1 terabyte (TB) or larger. This is equivalent to about 17,000 hours of compressed recorded audio. Today, media can be acquired forensically at approximately 1.5 gigabytes (GB) per minute. The forensically acquired media is stored in a RAW image format, which results in a bit-for-bit copy of the data contained in the original media without any additions or deletions, even for the portions of the media that do not contain data.

Examples of Digital Evidence

These are the digital evidences that a court of law considers and allows the use of:

◉ Emails

◉ Digital photographs

◉ ATM transaction logs

◉ Word processing documents

◉ Instant messages history

◉ Accounting files

◉ Spreadsheets

◉ Internet browser history

◉ Databases

◉ Contents in a computer memory

◉ Computer backups & printouts

◉ GPS Tracks

◉ Digital video

◉ Audio files

Challenges of Digital Evidence

Collecting digital evidence requires a different kind of skill set than those required for gathering physical evidence. There are many methods for extracting digital evidence from various devices, and these methods, as well as the devices on which the evidence is stored, change rapidly. Investigators need to either develop specific technical expertise or rely on experts to do the extraction for them.

Preserving digital evidence is also challenging because, unlike physical evidence, it can be altered or deleted remotely. Investigators need to be able to authenticate the evidence and provide documentation to prove its integrity.


Thursday, 18 February 2021

Boost Your Cybersecurity Career with SOC Certification

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The Security Operations Center (SOC) is a command center facility for IT professionals and team of experts who control, analyze, respond, and protect an organization from cyberattacks and take necessary precautions. A SOC can continuously improve detection and prevention attacks. It helps organizations to safeguard their intellectual assets, business data, and brand integrity.

This blog provides vital information to anyone who wants to secure a job in the cybersecurity domain and gives you information about everything that the job entails.

Importance of SOC in Cybersecurity 

A SOC is the central hub of an organization’s security architecture and is collectively responsible for connecting people, processes, and technologies together to protect a businesses’ assets and intellectual property. SOCs continually monitor the state of cybersecurity in real-time, actively analyzing, logging, and resolving all kinds of threats.

SOCs also incorporate Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) frameworks, governance-risk and compliance (GRC) systems, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Intrusion Detection System (IDS), User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA), Endpoint Detection and Remediation (EDR), and Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIP).

The role of an SOC in an organization is as follows:

1. Threat prevention: Detecting anomalies and unusual behaviour in public and private networks, making future attacks more difficult, patching network security gaps, and resolving IT architectural vulnerabilities.

2. Real-time proactive monitoring: 24/7 real-time proactive monitoring using behavioural analytics and SIEM for mitigating emerging threats. This involves monitoring day-to-day business operations and minimizing threat behaviour as well.

3. Alert classifications: Notifying security analysts of threats and categorizing them based on priority levels. Identifying false positives amongst alerts and determining the aggressiveness of certain threats are also included.

4. Root cause analysis: Identifying the root causes of threats, where they emerged from, and their sources. This is to prevent future attacks and bolster cybersecurity measures.

5. Log management: Logging in all threats and maintaining records of activities and communications across company networks. This helps in troubleshooting and stopping future problems from occurring later.

6. Compliance management: Many cybersecurity policies and systems fail to be legally compliant and do not meet regulatory guidelines. An SOC by its nature audits its own systems and makes sure it complies to governance rules and regulations such as the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

Role of a SOC Analyst

The primary duty of a SOC Analyst is to ensure that the organization’s digital assets are secure and protected from unauthorized access. SOC analysts are actively involved in safeguarding both online data and the office premises data of an organization, and quickly respond to security incidents. They detect and analyze the data to identify suspicious activity, implement defensive measures, and monitor data to reduce the risk of a breach. If unauthorized access is determined, a SOC Analyst will be at the forefront to defend the information security.

SOC Certification 

​In today’s busy work environment, cybersecurity courses are in high demand because of their short-term nature and ease of access. Among these, Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) stands out due to its comprehensive coverage of cutting-edge topics in an easy-to-consume format. By getting certified as SOC Analyst, you can get an overview of a SOC and gain access-level and intermediate-level knowledge of it. After the program, you can apply for Tier-1 & Tier-2 roles as a Security Analyst.

CSA empowers learners to develop and gain essential knowledge and skills to enter today’s dynamic cybersecurity workforce. You will learn about cybersecurity analyst tools, including data protection, endpoint protection, SIEM systems, network fundamentals, acquired knowledge around critical compliance, threat intelligence, and incident response and forensics.

Systems and Organization Controls Protocol (SOC)

Also abbreviated as SOC, Systems and Organization Controls Protocol are audits that address the risks related to information security and related financial health. The standard operating procedures that build these reports are based on controls for financial reporting, organizational oversight, vendor management, risk management, and regulatory oversight. Due to the rapid increase in usage of the cloud service as a platform for storing data, incorporating SOC 2 audit and compliance has become a must for technology companies and service providers. For SOC compliance, there is some requirement to prepare for SOC 2, which involves writing security policies and procedures. Everyone in the company should stick to these written documents.


SOC 1 audit focuses on controls related to financial reporting. SOC 1 is the service provider or the service auditor and its audit reports are best suited for organizations that have confidence in their controls and safeguards over their customers’ financial data. Examples of such services include data center services, cloud computing, network monitoring services, SaaS, Payroll, and medical claims processing.

◉ SOC 1 Type 1: Includes a description of your system and the auditor’s opinion regarding controls are fairly presented and effectively designed.

◉ SOC 1 Type 2: The Type 2 of SOC 1 audit contains a description of tests performed and their results. Includes an opinion on whether your controls are effectively operating over a specified period.

​SOC 2

SOC 2 is a compliance report that is the best fit for an organization that wants to show its clients that they take data security very seriously. SOC 2 reports are compliant with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AIPCA) trust services criteria, with safety being the standard criteria. It can also expand its scope into other trust services criteria, including Security, Availability Confidentiality, Integrity, and Privacy. The SOC 2 certification costs anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 based on the infrastructure.

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SOC 2 developed by AICPA, and it manages customer data on five trust service principles. They are:

Security: For securing the data, three steps need to be followed — multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection

Availability: Performance monitoring, disaster recovery, security incident handling

Processing integrity: Quality assurance, processing monitoring

Confidentiality: Access controls, firewalls

Privacy: Encryption, multi-factor authentication

SOC 2 Type I: A SOC 1 Type 2 comes under an internal control report which is expected to reach the needs of the OneLogin customers management and auditors, as they estimate the effect of the OneLogin controls on their own internal controls for financial reporting.

SOC 2 Type II: Complete analysis of security systems and rules evaluated over a period (typically a year). It is the elected report and certification of prospects. In many instances, this type is required.

HITRUST Certification vs SOC 2

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) is an organization governed by representatives from the healthcare industry whose intention is to meet the requirements of multiple regulations and standards. It understands the challenges of assembling, data protection compliance, and maintaining varied programs, which is why its integrated approach ensures the components are aligned, maintained, and comprehensive to support the organization’s information security management program. HITRUST also adapts certification requirements to an organization’s risks based on organizational, system, and regulatory factors.

There is a difference between SOC 2 and HITRUST CSF in that SOC 2 is an attestation report, and a certification accompanies a HITRUST review. The SOC 2 report’s purpose is to meet the needs of a broad range of users developed by the AICPA. They need information and assurance about the controls at a service organization that help maintain the five Trust Services Criteria (TSC) categories: security, confidentiality, privacy, availability, and processing integrity. Organizations choose the five TSC categories to report on and engage an independent service auditor to decide whether the controls are appropriately designed and operating effectively.

The advantage is that there are synergies between SOC 2 TSC categories and the underlying standards and HITRUST CSF controls. Cost savings and time efficiency can be realized by holding controls for addressing HITRUST CSF requirements in SOC 2 engagements and service organisations. HITRUST and AICPA are together developing and introducing a set of recommendations to streamline and simplify that process.

A certification gives a lot of direction in any chosen career path, particularly in a field such as cybersecurity, where a specific certification not only enhances an individual’s abilities, but also adds value to the hands-on experience of a professional. The certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program of the EC-Council is the ideal addition to the qualifications and resume of any professional. This curriculum provides a person with comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity and its various protocols.


Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Top SIEM Tools You Should Not Ignore

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Security information and event management (SIEM) is software that provides organizations with detection and response features, offering security tools to protect information and manage events in one convenient package. The primary function of SIEM tools is to collect important data from multiple sources, identify deviations, and work on them.

Security information management (SIM) collects the data from logs to monitor, analyze, and report the threats. Security event management (SEM) examines the log files stored internally for suspicious and irregular logs such as unauthorized changes made in files. The purpose of designing SEM is to compare the known threat in the updated database with detected threats. It is the process of identifying threats, collecting them, and then reporting them to network administrators.

SIEM works as a lookout for information security in an organization. It collects log data from multiple users, evaluates the threats, and takes action to remove risk.

SIEM Process

◉ Collecting data from multiple sources.

◉ Collating all the data collected.

◉ Identifying the data breaches in the data.

◉ Informing the security team of the threats.

Benefits of SIEM

Implementing SIEM in the organization is essential. Most organizations use SIEM for log management as well as complying with various SOX and PCI regulations to gather and track data.

Employees play a significant role in the successful implementation of SIEM. Dividing employees into three groups or panels will help detect threats and defend against them quickly.

Security Group: This group of employees provide information and alerts all over the organization, which helps to take measures against threats.

Operation Group: They operate all the events and logs in the organization, helping to solve the problem quickly.

Compliance Group: This group plays a vital role in handling data and compiling them according to the organization’s rules.

Other benefits include:

◉ The time taken to identify threats is less.

◉ Can use it in various log data functions such as network security, help desk, etc.

◉ As SIEM collects data from multiple sources, it becomes easy for IT professionals to review and recover threats faster.

◉ It can reduce data breaches.

◉ Provides threat detection.

◉ It can perform forensic analysis in threats.

Working of SIEM

Security Information and Event Management software collects the event and logs data generated from host systems, firewalls, and web applications across the organization, merging them into a single platform. If SIEM identifies a network threat, it quickly sends alerts and defines the type of threat.

For example:

If a user is trying to log into an unknown account through 15 attempts in 15 minutes, it is considered a suspicious act. If a user tries 150 attempts in 10 minutes, it is regarded as a brute force attack by the SIEM system, which proceeds to alert the organization.

Importance of SIEM Tools

Security is the most important element in any organization when it comes to the effective functioning of cybersecurity. SIEM tools protect the sensitive information of the organization and work on collecting and grouping the log data so they can detect and defend against the threat. These tools have quickly become essential and easy to use.

Top SIEM Tools

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◉ IBM QRadar

IBM QRadar is reliable to integrate a vast range of logs across all the systems in the organization. Of course, IBM products are costly, but organizations with huge log management needs should use it as a tool.

◉ AlienVault OSSIM

AlienVault OSSIM contains the AlienVault Open Threat Exchange’s power, allowing users to both contribute and receive real-time information about malicious hosts. With that, they provide ongoing development for AlienVault OSSIM as they believe that everyone should have access to security technologies. It offers a chance to improve security visibility and control in the network.

It is best for small and mid-sized organizations.

◉ SPLUNK Enterprise Security

It is a SIEM solution that helps the security team to detect and respond to attacks. It’s used in examining, searching, and analyzing an organization’s security posture in real time. It can handle incidents on its own, minimizing risk by securing the organization.

◉ McAfee ESM

McAfee comes with rich content and analytics, which can detect threats.All the functions in the database are visible in real-time. It can run both Windows and macOS.

     ◉ It features two-way integration.

     ◉ Alerts are prioritized.

◉ SolarWinds SIEM

SolarWinds is a network monitoring software that helps detect and defend threats in less time. This increases service levels while focusing on securing system from email threats. It can also perform forensic analysis. It supports Linux, macOS, and Windows.

◉ Micro Focus ArcSight ESM

Micro Focus ArcSight ESM possesses an open architecture that grants a standout capability. This tool can take up data from a broader range of sources than other SIEM products and can use the structured data outside.

◉ Datadog

Datadog is an analytics and monitoring tool used to obtain event monitoring and performance metrics for infrastructure and cloud services. It supports Windows and Linux. The user interface features customizable dashboards that can show graphs composed of multiple data sources in real time. Datadog can send also send user notifications for performance issues.

◉ LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform

For critical log management on Windows, LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform is the best option. The dashboard helps simplify the workflow, and it is an easy tool for trained information technology staff. This tool has fast-growing AI and automation features, which is not the case with other tools. LogRhythm does not scale very well for larger businesses, and there is a limited support if you expand into cloud environments.

◉ RSA NetWitness Platform

This is another solid option for log management and threat intelligence. You can get over two dozen intelligence feeds populated by RSA NetWitness Platform to build up any intel you enter into the system with a support agreement and proper maintenance. With the SIEM tool’s help, you can rewind complete sessions to observe exactly what happened during the attack and get hacker perception and tactics with automated behavior analysis. It is a useful tool.

◉ Sumo Logic Cloud SIEM Enterprise

It is a newly introduced cloud-based platform. As it is a new product, there isn’t much of a community base in place, but Sumo Logic Cloud SIEM Enterprise claims its product fills gaps in IT security that other products don’t, especially when it comes to cloud deployments.

◉ Elastic

Elastic SIEM is a free tool, which enables security teams to triage security incidents and conduct an initial investigation. Besides these two primary tasks, Elastic helps monitor cyber threats, gather evidence, forward possible incidents to ticketing and SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response) platforms.It supports the Linux OS platform.

Explaining SOC and SIEM 

SIEM tools offer a centralized approach for identifying, monitoring, analyzing, and recording security incidents in a real-time environment. At the same time, a SOC is a dedicated team of security professionals who continuously monitor an IT infrastructure and raise an alert whenever they spot any suspicious activity or threat.

Furthermore, a SOC also uses various foundational technologies, with one of them being the SIEM system. The tools under the SIEM system aggregates system logs and events across the entire organization. Most importantly, this system relies on correlational and statistical models, which then look for a security incident, alerting the SOC team.

To put it differently, check this brilliant coverage on “Exploiting and Augmenting Threat Intel in SOC Operations” by Vijay Verma, a dynamic security professional with more than 24 years of cross-functional experience in the Indian Army and Corporate Sector in the Information Security and Telecom domains:

To learn the job responsibilities of a SOC Analyst along with all these efficient SIEM tools and various others, register for Certified SOC Analyst (CSA). The program is a one-stop training module for all the skills you need to adopt before joining a SOC. Not to mention, it will introduce you to end-to-end workflow and allow you to gain hands-on experience.


Thursday, 11 February 2021

OSINT: All You Need to Know

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Information is power in today’s world. However, this information is easily accessible to cybercriminals as they devise several ways to perpetrate an attack. Social networking sites are termed as the biggest threat, but we do not realize that businesses are also equally contributing to data leaks. Having knowledge of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) is important to understand incident response in today’s cyber world.

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Knowing the various OSINT techniques will help you and your organization understand the accessibility of sensitive information, thereby allowing you to prevent breaches by educating others and by identifying vulnerabilities.

What Is OSINT?

OSINT is the short form for Open-Source Intelligence, one of the key aspects for understanding cybersecurity in today’s internet-savvy world. OSINT is the practice of collecting information from published sources or publicly available sources. It employs advanced techniques for churning out hidden data from a huge chunk of information. Both IT security pros and malicious hackers use OSINT techniques to source information, with the IT departments of organizations beefing up operational security by adopting OSINT techniques.

Why Is OSINT Important?

OSINT is extremely vital in every organization to keep a tab on the information that is getting churned up every minute on the network. The three most crucial functions that the IT team must perform within the OSINT framework are:

◉ Public-facing assets: They help IT teams to detect public assets, generating information which could lead to a potential attack. Their main goal is to record the information which is accessible publicly without the need of hacking methods.

◉ Information from outside the organization: The OSINT tools also help in locating any information which comes from outside of an organization. Companies who make a lot of acquisitions and merge their assets benefit a lot from this function. Due to the rapid advancement of social media, it is always a good idea to look for loopholes outside the organizational boundaries as well.

◉ Putting data together: An OSINT scan on a large organization produces a barrage of data which can be very difficult to collate as it includes internal and external assets. OSINT helps in collating this data and determining the most serious threats that need to be addressed on priority.

What Is OSINT Used For?

OSINT is used in the following ways for cybersecurity:

◉ Ethical hacking and penetration testing: OSINT is used by security professionals to identify potential weaknesses and remediate an attack. The most common weaknesses are accidental leaks of sensitive information, unsecured internet-connected devices, open ports, unpatched software, and exposed assets.

◉ Identification of external threats: Open-source intelligence helps security professionals to identify the most dangerous external threats and address them immediately.

What Is the OSINT Framework?

As the name suggests, the OSINT framework is a cybersecurity framework with a collection of OSINT tools which can make the task of data collection very easy. Security researchers and penetration testers use this tool for digital footprinting, OSINT research, intelligence gathering, and reconnaissance. The OSINT framework provides an easy web-based interface through which you can browse different OSINT tools.

What Are the Different OSINT Techniques?

OSINT techniques are tools which assist and support intelligence analysts. The most common sources are media, public, government data, etc. Every sector requires the OSINT software to monitor and leverage the easily accessible information. The most common applications of OSINT are:

◉ Asset protection: To identify dangerous phenomena that may require tactical action in real time, multinational companies need to strengthen corporate security activities and identify potentially harmful patterns and phenomena that may require strategic action to protect the organization. A huge amount of data generated by multiple sources is processed by OSINT techniques based on semantic technology.

◉ Important business planning: CEOs of important companies across the world spend a lot of time in business meetings. Knowing all about the people they meet will allow them to develop good interpersonal and professional relationships more effectively and productively. Easily available information about other companies through open sources helps them to conduct these meetings in a well-structured manner.

◉ Customer surveys: To better understand the needs of consumers and developments in the industry, businesses should incorporate customer input, as well as business insight and signals from external sources. Innovative OSINT approaches can obtain both qualitative and quantitative data on the needs and problems shared by clients and assess their relative satisfaction level.

What Are the Various OSINT Tools?

OSINT tools use AI functionality to gather different information about all relevant data from public sources which can be used later. The investigation stage becomes simplified with OSINT software. It is necessary to understand that OSINT tools effectively reduce the number of permutations and combinations of data obtained from publicly accessible sources.

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The 7 most common OSINT tools are listed below.

1. Maltego: Maltego is one of the most potent OSINT systems used to gather valuable information by security professionals and digital forensics investigators. Using different transformations to produce graphical results, Maltego can easily collect information from various public sources.

2. Shodan: Shodan is the short form of Sentient Hyper Optimized Data Access Network. The Shodan tool is like Google, the search engine for cyber attackers. Shodan does not show results like normal search engines; it shows results that are only understood by cybersecurity experts. Shodan is an important instrument for an incident response plan.

3. Metagoofil: This is a useful tool to extract metadata from the target. Metagoofil is compatible with pdf, doc, and ppt. It also gives an idea of the operating system and network used by attackers.

4. Harvester: It is a tool which helps derive the email and domain-related information.

5. Recon-ng: This OSINT tool helps get information about the target. Add the preferred domains in the workspace and use the modules to get all the information.

6. Social Engineer Toolkit: This is the best tool for an online social engineering attack. It is also used to execute a client-side attack.

7. Recorded Future: This tool is powered by AI to trend predictions and massive data analysis. The future predictions are made with the help of AI algorithms.

With the rapid progression of technology and internet-based communications, OSINT has become very important for every organization, and having the knowledge of OSINT is vital to drive intelligent solutions such as incident handling. EC-Council is a well-known training and certification organization that concentrates on the arenas of anti-hacking, incident response, and penetration testing.

If this is your calling, then enroll for the ECIH certification program today and take your career to new heights!


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A Comprehensive Guide to Ethical Hacking Courses for Beginners

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The modern corporate structure depends on a lot of external factors to thrive in the business. Everything is connected to the internet, which has also exposed different loopholes in the infrastructure. Cyberattacks have increased, and so have the requirements for ethical hacking professionals.

Ethical hacking is one of the most sought-after careers in the modern world. Pre-existing notions dictate that an ethical hacking course is something that involves complex technical knowledge, but this is far from the truth. Beginners with a fundamental understanding of computers, specific languages, and cyber hygiene can also find certifications and make a move in this career path.

This blog will empower you with all the essential facts regarding ethical hacking courses for beginners, along with your future career prospects in this dynamic industry.

Ethical Hacking as a Career

In the last few years, ethical hacking has become a mainstream term. More and more organizations have connected their infrastructure with the internet and are taking services from third-party vendors for different functions. Vulnerabilities have become common in internal and external infrastructures, and no one knows when they will become a victim of a cyberattack. Modern organizations and government agencies need professionals who can keep their networks and systems secure. These professionals are known as ethical hackers.

Ethical hacking encompasses all the processes involved in identifying vulnerabilities, exploiting known vulnerabilities, and mitigating further attacks. Whatever an ethical hacker does is under a legal setting, and their clients are aware of these exercises.

Reasons to Consider an Ethical Hacking Course Online

Professionals who wish to pursue the career path of ethical hacking will find a lot of options waiting for them. The idea of considering ethical hacking certifications online comes from the fact that many aspirants are either working professionals or students. An online program like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH v11) by EC-Council offer flexibility to balance work and learning.

Here are some reasons to consider ethical hacking courses online:

Build up your cybersecurity career

There is a shortage of skills within the IT industry, and each day, new job prospects are emerging. There are approximately 350,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States which are still vacant and projected to increase dramatically by 2021.

If you already have the basic IT knowledge and know enough about networking, an ethical hacking certification can be a knowledge booster. The information you’ll gain will help you break into other roles, such as Penetration Tester, Information Security Analyst, Cybersecurity Analyst, Computer Forensics Analyst, Security Engineer, and Homeland Security Specialist, among others.

Real-world hacking simulations

An online ethical hacking course also provides the facility of experiencing a simulation of a cyberattack. Elaborate programs like CEH v11 focus on these tests so that ethical hacking aspirants check their responsive skills, problem-solving abilities, and role as part of a team.

Better career opportunities

Ethical hacking can be a step toward career advancement and learning specific skills that could prove valuable to your company. Learning relevant case studies and tools will also help you become an industry leader with bright career prospects.

Regulatory compliance

As outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), recent regulations clarify the rules regarding corporate responsibility for data breaches. Gaining an industry-recognized certification can be extremely beneficial because you’ll learn how to align with the standard corporate regulations and avoid hefty fines.

Salary booster

Obtaining the CEH certification is significant when considering new job roles. According to a study by EC-Council, a

According to PayScale, CEH v11 certified professionals earn $92,965 P.A. As a Certified Ethical Hacker, you’ll find jobs as a Cybersecurity Analyst, Cybersecurity Engineer, and Information Security Analyst in some of the top companies and government agencies around the world, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and Lockheed Martin.

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Who Should Pursue an Ethical Hacking Course?

To start your career as an ethical hacker, you must successfully pass the CEH examination and prove your skills in handling real-world hacking challenges through the CEH (Practical) Exam. This requires the potential ethical hacker to uncover and manipulate real-time vulnerabilities while auditing the systems put in place by EC-Council in the cloud, hence improving the challenge and making candidates job-ready.

While anyone can become an ethical hacker, there are some prerequisites before you take the plunge:

◉ A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, IT, or a related discipline.

◉ A minimum of 2 years of work experience in the InfoSec sector.

◉ Or should have attended an official EC-Council training.


Saturday, 6 February 2021

The Next Cybersecurity Risk Management Model Post the COVID-19 Crisis

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The COVID-19 pandemic developed additional challenges for businesses all over the world as they made adjustments to their typical operations with the “new normal.” IT and security teams are required to impose a higher level of security as millions of employees work from the safety of their homes. Cybersecurity is now a major concern because cyber criminals have been taking advantage of gaps and are performing exploitative actions amidst the crisis.

This article gives awareness about the cyber risks that emerge from the coronavirus environment, and how to optimize mitigation measures for your organization.

Cybersecurity Risk Management Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The constraints imposed by governments around the world to lessen coronavirus cases have prompted businesses to take a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, which allows employees to access corporate information while staying at home. While many organizations don’t have the tightest security when working in a remote environment, the pandemic exposed companies to an even greater risk when using personal computers or laptops.

Home Wi-Fi networks are uncomplicated to attack and can make your organization vulnerable against cybercrime. It is a must to update your cybersecurity management, an assessment , an assessment that aims to detect risks and mitigate threats by applying suitable actions and extensive solutions to ensure that your organization is well-protected, especially when your employees are granted access to private data in remote areas.

Business Needs That Demand Changes in the Risk Management Framework

Business risks should be prioritized according to the level of impact they may cause in the future. Here are some risks that need to be addressed as they are more dangerous than others.

Security Risk

Cases of hacking become more apparent as people are enthusiastic about sharing their information and personal data on online platforms such as social media sites. This type of risk could be critical for growing businesses; not only does this risk lead to identity theft and payment fraud, but a company can also be financially responsible for such actions, which could lead to a downfall in trust and reputation.

Financial Risk

The less debt load you have, the better. Every organization could have debts on hand, may it be from a loan to start the company or credit extended to customers. Make it a habit to keep debt at a minimum or lower your debt load to avoid cash flow interruption or unexpected loss. Interest rate fluctuations are also a threat, so it is also essential to market your services successfully. Income loss from a loyal client won’t be as catastrophic if you were able to diversify your services.

Economic Risk

In relation to financial risk, it is essential to save as much money as you can for a steady cash flow. Along with the fluctuation of markets, the economy changes and this can be either good or bad for the environment. Be watchful of updates and trends that can lead to purchasing surges or reduced sales. A business plan should function accordingly to all economic cycles and can prepare you well enough for an economic downturn in case an unforeseen event arrives.

Operational Risk

Natural disasters or human-induced events can trigger operational risks to be exploited. It involves a variety of factors that can either happen internally, externally, or both. When not addressed properly, this risk can cause you to lose business continuity and affect your time, reputation, and money. Risk management practices for this threat should include thorough trainings for employees, as they can make mistakes that may lead to financial loss and unproductive efforts.

Compliance Risk

Laws and regulations are necessary to be complied with and can impact your normal operations when left unattended. Fines and penalties are effects of non-compliance which can therefore raise a red flag for your business. Stay vigilant in monitoring your mandatory compliance and seek assistance from consultants who can help minimize compliance risks from state laws and local agencies.

Competition Risk

Businesses strive with the help of different marketing essentials, and it has always been evident that there are competitors within the industry. Making continuous improvements and offering new services that can appeal to customers can greatly put your business one step ahead among the rest. Be aware of the trends and never settle for less, as growing competition within the market can result in loss of customers. Reassessing company performance, optimizing social media marketing, refining strategies, and maintaining strong relationships can fight off competition risk.

Reputation Risk

A simple bad review or a negative tweet can instantly cause a plummet in your revenue. Managing your reputation and responding to bad or good comments in a professional manner can keep your business away from lawsuits and reputation damages. Social media reviews and comments can greatly affect a business’ brand reputation; therefore, it is essential to provide quality services in order to maintain strong relationships with your customers.

Impact of COVID-19 in the Cybersecurity World

Threats have intensified because of the opening opportunities for attackers that grew apparent during the COVID-19 outbreak. On the other hand, hacktivists or hackers battling against political issues increase cybersecurity threats in their will to pursue social or political data. Script kiddies, also called junior hackers, are also exploring on their own, testing out cyberattack packages and honing their skills. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are using elevated digital technologies and traffic to find vulnerabilities and bait victims into clicking links that are related to the pandemic.

Risk Management Best Practices Post COVID-19

Luckily, strategies and practical steps for businesses are available to lessen the impact of intensified cyber risks in an organization. To prevent costly repercussions, the following practices should be implemented:

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Determine weak spots

Even when you think you have the strongest defense, there will always be weaknesses that pop out from time to time. Consider determining vulnerabilities upon running tests and impose solutions to strengthen your security.

Apply new technology and techniques

Encourage the dynamic use of cyber threat intelligence to recognize and address attack trends. Use recently developed tools such as host checking, an authoritative tool to check security status before accessing company data, to fortify the security of remote working in these pandemic times.

Install antivirus programs

Investing in antivirus and antimalware software license defends your employee’s personal devices from low-level attacks.

Implement cybersecurity awareness

Best practices and protocols should be known to all employees to prevent leaking private data on the organization’s cloud storage. They should also remain vigilant with acknowledging emails and double check their credibility, as phishing scams have risen during the crisis.

Indulge in frequent assessments

New methods of cyberattacks should always be considered and evaluated. Check whether existing supervision vectors are sturdy enough, and update management documents such as crisis plans and business continuity plans. Consider new cyberattack methods and provide solutions to known risks.

Execute risk management

Prepare for future attacks and execute risk management plans. They provide a comprehensive view of the company’s risk exposure, carry out periodic cyber crisis simulation activities to prepare their response to attacks, or prepare their retaliation to malicious attempts before a cybercrime is committed.

Use a VPN for protection

Employees that work at home should ensure that their Wi-Fi connection is secured with a strong password. Better yet, the use of a virtual private network (VPN) can add an extra layer of security to work from home operations. They are not exactly a prevention from cyberattacks, but they serve as a useful barrier against threats.

Optimizing Your Risk Management Model

As the pandemic made millions of businesses adjust according to the new normal protocols, the risk management function should also be modified to be more effective. Some ways on how to optimize your risk management model include: enhancement of monitoring practices, streamlining of market risk operations model, optimization of reports and plans, and the automation of performance management and governance. It can take years to implement a stronger risk management function, but these fundamental practices outline the security of your organization to be in good shape.

COVID-19 had every person wearing masks and face shields when going out to prevent themselves from catching the virus. Similarly, being prepared in the cyber world is better than shouldering the burdens from failed security. Being able to react to unforeseen events quickly can lessen the impact of cyberattacks. Organizations that are continuously wary of such illegal acts are well prepared to face the battle against the endless increase of cyber risks and cyber threats.


Thursday, 4 February 2021

2 Ways You Can Use Burp Suite for Penetration Testing

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We live in a digital world where cybercriminals are always on the lookout for a vulnerable system to exploit. This is why penetration testing is one of the most important parts of the security verification process. There are several penetration testing tools to choose from and most perform the same set of functions.

One web app penetration testing tool that stands out of the pack is Burp Suite Professional. It’s used by 46,000 people across 140 countries and has gained popularity through its USP — extensibility through free plugins. This is why knowledge about Burp Suite is crucial for organizations and pen testers.

In this blog, we are going to introduce you to Burp Suite basics and how to perform web application penetration testing with it.

What Is Burp Suite?

Burp Suite is a set of tools that is used for web application penetration testing. It was designed by PortSwigger, an alias used by founder Dafydd Stuttard, as an all-in-one set of tools that you can boost by installing add-ons known as BApps. Burp Suite is quite easy to use, which makes it a solid alternative to penetration testing tools like OWASP ZAP.

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How to Use Burp Suite for Penetration Testing?

Here are two ways you can use Burp Suite for penetration testing:

1. Burp’s embedded browser

This method does not require any additional configuration. All you have to do is go to the “Proxy” > “Intercept” tab and then click “Open Browser.” A new browser session will begin where all the traffic is proxied through Burp Suite automatically. You can then use this to test the HTTPS without installing Burp’s CA certificate.

2. External browser

In case you don’t want to use Burp’s embedded browser, you need to do some additional steps to configure your browser to work with Burp Suite and install Burp’s CA certificate.

Using Burp Scanner

Burp Scanner automatically finds the security weaknesses in a web application. It can be used with existing methodologies and techniques to perform manual and semi-automated web applications penetration tests. It is also commonly used in bug bounty programs to help find vulnerabilities.

Note: Using Burp Scanner can result in unexpected effects in some applications. It would help if you tried to use the scanner with non-production systems until you are familiar with its functionality and settings.

Burp’s Scanning Paradigm

When using most web scanners, you can input the URL for the application and just watch as the progress bar updates until the scan is completed. This scanning model has significant limitations and can lead to missed weaknesses, incomplete coverage, and misdirected efforts. However, Burp Suite’s preferred approach to scanning is a very different and user-driven paradigm.

This gives penetration testers control over every request that will be scanned and direct feedback for the results. With this approach, you can avoid numerous technical challenges that conventional scanners face. You can then guide the scanner by using the browser to make sure you do not miss the key areas of functionality.

Scanning Mode in Burp Suite

Below are the types of scanning modes that penetration testers can try out on Burp Suite.

Passive Scanning Mode

In this mode, the scanner will not send any new requests on its own. However, it will analyze the contents of existing responses and requests, and deduce weaknesses from those. There are several types of security weaknesses that you can detect with passive techniques.

Active Scanning Mode

In this mode, Burp Suite will send numerous crafted requests to the application and analyze the resulting responses that look like evidence of weaknesses. With active scanning, you can identify a wider range of weaknesses, and it is crucial to perform a comprehensive test of an application.

Burp Suite Tools

Burp Suite comprises numerous tools that you can use to perform different penetration testing tasks. The tools can work effectively together, and you can use them to pass fascinating requests between the tools as your work progresses to help carry out several actions. Here are some Burp Suite tools that are available for web application penetrating testing:

Proxy: This helps penetration testers to intercept, inspect, and modify the raw traffic that passes in both directions between the target web application and end browser.

Target: This tool comprises detailed information about your target application and lets you decide the process of vulnerabilities testing.

Scanner Professional: This is an advanced web vulnerability scanner, and it can automatically crawl content and audit several types of weaknesses.

Sequencer: This is a tool used for analyzing the quality of randomness in an application’s session tokens or other crucial data items that should be unpredictable.

Intruder: This is a tool used for carrying out automated customized attacks against web applications.

Extender: This helps you to load Burp extensions and extend Burp’s functionality by using your own or third-party code.

Some other Burp Suite tools are decoder, repeater, comparer, collaborator client professional, clickbandit, and mobile assistant.

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As an integrated platform, Burp Suite comes with an advanced set of tools and interfaces that help penetration testers perform web app security testing. Furthermore, its various tools work with each other to support the entire security testing process. Learning all these interlocking mechanisms is a task for anyone, which is why it’s recommended that people new to Burp Suite take up a comprehensive online course that imparts the necessary job-ready skills.

CodeRed’s Burp Suite: Web Application Penetration Testing course teaches hands-on techniques for attacking web services and web applications with Burp Suite. You will first learn everything about Burp Suite basics, from how to scope and map your target application to how to customize and report your results to your audience properly.

By the end of this course, you will have extensive and working knowledge of Burp Suite and be able to perform penetration testing techniques at an efficient level to better perform your job as a pen tester.


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Python Socket Programming: Quick Guide for Starters

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The Python programming language is commonly used in the modern world today. According to DZone, there are over 147,000 packages in the Python package repository, which makes it usable for almost everything. Python’s library in the socket programming area includes a variety of built-in modules that play a big part in the inter-process of networking and communication. Networking and sockets have literal volumes written about them as their scope covers large subjects.

If you are new to Python, sockets, or networking, the feeling of being overwhelmed with all these terms is quite normal. This article aims to help you understand more about socket programming in Python.

What Is Socket Programming?

Socket programming is the process of connecting two nodes to communicate with each other on a network. The first socket, also called a node, listens to a specific port on an IP while the second socket gains communication as it reaches out to look for connections. In this case, the server conforms the listener socket while the client communicates with the server. Socket programming is activated by importing the socket library to make a basic socket.

This type of programming provides a form of inter-process communication (IPC) where the main elements consist of basically a server and a client. Serving its purpose to be the backbones of web browsing, this inter-process communication is used in any network that can either be logical or physical. Logical network refers to the connection between a local network connected to a device or a computer. On the other hand, physical network refers to the connection between an external network connected to other networks.

What Is a Socket?

Communication between machines has become much more efficient with the combination of sockets and the Internet Networking (INET). Sockets and the collection of sockets, called socket API, are used to send and receive messages across a network. A socket is determined by its port number and IP address, which is why these elements should be thoroughly configured to establish a connection. It is an end-point of a two-way communication link where it is possible to listen to incoming messages and send acknowledgements to both ends of the environment. Sockets are the most prevalent form of inter-process communication as the server-client environment works well with networks, especially in a cross-platform transmission.

What Is a Socket Module?

There are two levels, low and high, in which network access is available. The socket module refers to the ways in which server and client machines can transmit at hardware level with the use of socket endpoints on the brink of the operating system. In correlation, the socket API fortifies network protocols that are either connectionless or connection-oriented.

Socket Function

The socket.socket() function included in the socket module is necessary to create a socket object. The general syntax of importing this function is:

s = socket.socket (socket_family, socket_type, protocol=0)

The socket function has different types of arguments including:

1. socket_family – is the domain which is AF_INET by default. AF_INET6, AF_UNIX, AF_CAN or AF_RDS are other acceptable values.

2. socket_type – is the type of communication between two end points, normally SOCK_STREAM by default for connection-oriented protocol (TCP). The SOCK_DGRAM value is implemented for connection-less protocol (UDP).

3. protocol — is usually with 0 value as default. This is used to determine a variant of a protocol within a family and type.

Server Socket

The socket within a server is called a server socket. Its socket object has several methods available for the server functionality:

1. s.bind() – is the method that binds the specified IP address and port number to the socket (hostname, port number pair).

2. s.listen() – is the method that initiates the server to start TCP listener into looping which continuously tries to look for a connection request from the client.

3. s.accept() – is the method that accepts TCP client connection passively while identifying the client socket and its address when a connection arrives.

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Client Socket

The socket set up on the client’s end is called a client socket. Its socket object mainly uses the connect() method to send connection requests to the server socket.

1. connect() – is the method that initiates a TCP server connection and takes two arguments, the IP address and port number of the server, to send or receive data from both ends of the two sockets.

General Socket

The general socket methods are useful in socket programming other than the mentioned client and server methods.

1. s.recv() – is the method that receives TCP message sent to the client. For the server socket, it uses a remote socket with an accepted request: client.recv(bytes). For the client socket, it uses: obj.recv(bytes).

2. s.send() – is the method that transmits a TCP message to the client. For the server socket, it uses the address it has confronted with: client.send(bytes). For the client socket, it sends data to the socket it has acknowledged a connection with: obj.send(bytes).

3. s.recvfrom() – is the method that receives the UDP message in the case of UDP protocol.

4. s.sendto() – is the method that transmits UDP message and is to be used only in the case of UDP protocol.

5. s.sendall() – is the method similar to send(). This method, however, sends data from bytes continuously until the entire data has been sent or an error intercepted.

6. s.close() – is the method that closes the socket

7. socket.gethostname() – is the method used to return the hostname.

For a more detailed Python socket programming tutorial, watch this video:

The Socket Library of Python

The Python socket library contains an outstanding foundation for networking support in both low and high levels. These two levels of network service access in Python are applied depending on the network’s module. Programmers can access the basic socket service for operating systems using Python’s library with low-level support. This level is accommodated by modules such as SSL, asyncore, and asynchat. In low-level support, programmers can administer both connection-oriented and connection-less protocols for programming with the network’s servers and clients.

Furthermore, programmers can access application-level network protocols using Python’s library with high-level support. This level is accommodated by modules such as HTTP, URLLIB, and FTP. In high-level support, programmers have access to the functionality of socket modules that are authorized to obtain the socket interface.

Sockets may be executed on different channel types such as TCP, UDP, etc. The socket library consists of specific divisions for managing common transports and generic interface.