If so, access is granted. Otherwise, the implanted code will forward the credentials for normal verification of potentially valid credentials. This generally raises the least amount of suspicion. Cisco has provided an alert on this attack vector. Other attacks against network infrastructure devices have also been reported, including more complicated persistent malware that silently changes the firmware on the device that is used to load the operating system so that the malware can inject code into the running operating system.
For more information, please see Cisco's description of the evolution of attacks on Cisco IOS devices. The ASA devices directed users to a location where malicious actors tried to socially engineer the users into divulging their credentials. It is suspected that malicious actors leveraged CVE to inject malicious code into the affected devices. Cisco ASA devices were found to be vulnerable to the released exploit code.
In addition, one exploit tool targeted a previously patched Cisco vulnerability CVE Although Cisco provided patches to fix this Cisco ASA command-line interface CLI remote code execution vulnerability in , devices that remain unpatched are still vulnerable to the described attack. Attackers may target vulnerabilities for months or even years after patches become available.
If the network infrastructure is compromised, malicious hackers or adversaries can gain full control of the network infrastructure enabling further compromise of other types of devices and data and allowing traffic to be redirected, changed, or denied. Possibilities of manipulation include denial-of-service, data theft, or unauthorized changes to the data. Intruders with infrastructure privilege and access can impede productivity and severely hinder re-establishing network connectivity. Even if other compromised devices are detected, tracking back to a compromised infrastructure device is often difficult.
Malicious actors with persistent access to network devices can reattack and move laterally after they have been ejected from previously exploited hosts. Proper network segmentation is a very effective security mechanism to prevent an intruder from propagating exploits or laterally moving around an internal network.
On a poorly segmented network, intruders are able to extend their impact to control critical devices or gain access to sensitive data and intellectual property. Security architects must consider the overall infrastructure layout, segmentation, and segregation. Segregation separates network segments based on role and functionality. A securely segregated network can contain malicious occurrences, reducing the impact from intruders, in the event that they have gained a foothold somewhere inside the network. These boundaries can be used to contain security breaches by restricting traffic to separate segments and can even shut down segments of the network during an intrusion, restricting adversary access.
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As technologies change, new strategies are developed to improve IT efficiencies and network security controls. Virtual separation is the logical isolation of networks on the same physical network. The same physical segmentation design principles apply to virtual segmentation but no additional hardware is required. Existing technologies can be used to prevent an intruder from breaching other internal network segments.
Allowing unfiltered workstation-to-workstation communications as well as other peer-to-peer communications creates serious vulnerabilities, and can allow a network intruder to easily spread to multiple systems. A fundamental way to enhance network infrastructure security is to safeguard networking devices with secure configurations. Government agencies, organizations, and vendors supply a wide range of resources to administrators on how to harden network devices. These resources include benchmarks and best practices. These recommendations should be implemented in conjunction with laws, regulations, site security policies, standards, and industry best practices.
These guides provide a baseline security configuration for the enterprise that protects the integrity of network infrastructure devices. This guidance supplements the network security best practices supplied by vendors. Administrative privileges on infrastructure devices allow access to resources that are normally unavailable to most users and permit the execution of actions that would otherwise be restricted.
These compromised privileges can enable adversaries to traverse a network, expanding access and potentially allowing full control of the infrastructure backbone.
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Unauthorized infrastructure access can be mitigated by properly implementing secure access policies and procedures. Out-of-Band OoB management uses alternate communication paths to remotely manage network infrastructure devices. These dedicated paths can vary in configuration to include anything from virtual tunneling to physical separation. Using OoB access to manage the network infrastructure will strengthen security by limiting access and separating user traffic from network management traffic. OoB management provides security monitoring and can implement corrective actions without allowing the adversary who may have already compromised a portion of the network to observe these changes.
OoB management can be implemented physically or virtually, or through a hybrid of the two. Building additional physical network infrastructure is the most secure option for the network managers, although it can be very expensive to implement and maintain. They forward data between the networks without verifying it.
It blocks incoming packets on the host, but allows the traffic to pass through itself. Information passed to remote computers through it appears to have originated from gateway. Circuit-level gateways operate by relaying TCP connections from the trusted network to the untrusted network.
This means that a direct connection between the client and server never occurs. The main advantage of circuit-level gateway is that it provides services for many different protocols and can be adapted to serve an even greater variety of communications. A SOCK proxy is a typical implementation of circuit-level gateway. A stateful packet-inspection SPI firewall permits and denies packets based on a set of rules very similar to that of a packet filter.
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Whereas packet filters can pass or deny individual packets and require permissive rules to permit two-way TCP communications, SPI firewalls track the state of each session and can dynamically open and close ports as specific sessions require. Normally, firewalls can be identified for offensive purposes. Some popular tactics are:.
Intrusion Detection ID is the process of monitoring for and identifying attempted unauthorized system access or manipulation. An ID system gathers and analyzes information from diverse areas within a computer or a network to identify possible security breaches which include both intrusions attack from outside the organization and misuse attack from within the organization.
It inspects all the inbound and outbound network activity. The IDS identifies any suspicious pattern that may indicate an attack the system and acts as a security check on all transactions that take place in and out of the system. Network intrusion detection system NIDS. It is an independent platform that identifies intrusions by examining network traffic and monitors multiple hosts. Network intrusion detection systems gain access to network traffic by connecting to a network hub , a network switch configured for port mirroring , or a network tap.
Sensors capture all network traffic and analyze the content of individual packets for malicious traffic. Host-based intrusion detection system HIDS.
It consists of an agent on a host that identifies intrusions by analyzing system calls, application logs, file-system modifications binaries, password files, capability databases, Access control lists , etc. In a HIDS, sensors usually consist of a software agent.
Some application-based IDS are also part of this category. Intrusion detection systems can also be system-specific using custom tools and honeypots. In the case of physical building security, IDS is defined as an alarm system designed to detect unauthorized entry. Detects and pinpoints the location of intrusion attempts on perimeter fences of critical infrastructures. Using either electronics or more advanced fiber optic cable technology fitted to the perimeter fence, the PIDS detects disturbances on the fence, and if an intrusion is detected and deemed by the system as an intrusion attempt, an alarm is triggered.
It detects intrusions using virtual machine monitoring. Though they both relate to network security, an intrusion detection system IDS differs from a firewall in that a firewall looks outwardly for intrusions in order to stop them from happening.
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Firewalls limit access between networks to prevent intrusion and do not signal an attack from inside the network. An IDS evaluates a suspected intrusion once it has taken place and signals an alarm. An IDS also watches for attacks that originate from within a system. This is traditionally achieved by examining network communications, identifying heuristics and patterns often known as signatures of common computer attacks, and taking action to alert operators. A system that terminates connections is called an intrusion prevention system , and is another form of an application layer firewall.
A statistical anomaly-based IDS establishes a performance baseline using normal network traffic evaluations. It will then sample current network traffic activity to this baseline in order to detect whether or not it is within baseline parameters. If the sampled traffic is outside baseline parameters, an alarm will be triggered. Network traffic is examined for preconfigured and predetermined attack patterns known as signatures. Many attacks today have distinct signatures.
In good security practice, a collection of these signatures must be constantly updated to mitigate emerging threats.