Home > Work related > Imagine a single tool that hackers could use to break into your network…

Imagine a single tool that hackers could use to break into your network…


…and you are probably thinking about Metasploit.

As a security specialist I am saddened to think how easy it is to break into what was once considered a pretty safe way to conduct your business online. Years and years ago we all touted the necessity of a firewall with it’s ‘allow nothing in – allow everything out’ stance. Most sysadmins believed that if you had a crunchy outer shell it would be enough to protect you from the bad guys outside of your organization who are knocking on your proverbial door. We, as sysadmins then debated about the merits of network segmentation and egress filtering and a lot of us agreed that it would be a lot of work to implement and administrate compared to the risks associated with simply leaving the network topology flat and open. Then came along WiFi and for most of the users – it made connectivity easier but as sysadmins we knew that it would require some additional brain power to make it work securely. First WEP got cracked and when WPA-Personal and -Enterprise was introduced and at that time, it represented a pretty safe and uncrackable method to secure the wireless network. WPS made it easy to setup but we found shortly after that WPS has it’s flaws.

Today any user with a computer and extremely fast graphic card could crush a short password in a matter of hours. Now we tell users to make their password longer and to choose better passwords. Then would-be hackers build faster computers to crack longer passwords in a shorter period of time. It all begins to seem to me more like when the bad guys get in rather than if they get in.

It’s time to ask yourself about how well your assets are protected? Does your network topology resemble a cookie (hard on the outside and soft on the inside) or have you taken steps to limit the damage that can be done once your walls fall? It’s hard to believe that you could come in one Monday morning and find out that your network is having a really bad day; all the result of a little tool like Metasploit in the hands of a few skilled people. There are literally thousands of known vulnerabilities, at least one for any number of hardware devices that make up your network and they are all contained in and ready to be unleashed on all of your devices by this tool once they get in. Network switches, IP phones and phone systems, routers and firewalls, printers, etc. Lets not forget the laptops, workstations, servers, tablets, ipads and oh yes the smart phones that we all know and love?

You home users are just as vulnerable with your Thermostats, IP cameras, wifi adapters, home alarm systems, all web enabled. Every day we hear about some vendor that has IP enabled another appliance in your home and do you think they are worried about the safety of the device while you own it? As a consumer I am pleased when my new fridge can show me a picture on my cell phone of what is inside while I am standing in my local super market but as a security researcher – I am horrified of all the possibilities that could happen as a result of poor security. On the flipside and as a white hat (someone who hacks stuff to make it better) I am thrilled that there will soon be more things to test and ensure that the vendor has created a safe secure product for my fellow users to enjoy. The question that is raised in my mind by these likely events is just who is quality controlling these devices – them or you?

Categories: Work related Tags: ,
  1. March 13, 2015 at 2:46 am

    I don’t think anyone has a complete view of each endpoint of their network. The bigger the network, the more unknowns and greater the risk.

  2. March 13, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Thanks for your comment shuutech, this is precisely why I started our current project – a small embedded consumer device designed to map all of your endpoints and then analyze them.

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