Core Security Adds Web App Testing to Tool Belt

The new version of Core Impact can test for SQL injection and remote malicious code execution vulnerabilities.

Core Security Technologies is adding Web application penetration testing to the latest version of its security assurance tool.

Set to be released within 30 days, Core Impact Version 7.5s new abilities mark an increased recognition of the vulnerabilities affecting Web applications by the Boston-based firm, which started out focusing on testing of network servers and services before branching out to cover client-side attacks.

Armed with new functionality, Core Impact 7.5, announced Oct. 16, can help organizations guard against the top three attack methods that jeopardize them today—e-mail-based social engineering attacks; exploits targeting server operating systems, services and client applications on the desktop; and SQL injection attacks on Web applications, company officials said.


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Alex Horan, product manager at Core Security, called the addition of the Web application testing features a logical extension of the product. Citing a September 2007 study by Symantec, Horan said 61 percent of the vulnerabilities in the first quarter of this year were in Web applications, a fact he said is confirmed by what Cores Security Consulting Team has also seen.

The products automated RPT (Rapid Penetration Test) technology allows users to safely launch attacks against their Web applications, Web servers and Web browsers by dynamically generating exploits. During this discovery phase of the RPT, Impact crawls through Web pages and identifies pages to test, officials said. After identifying which pages may be vulnerable to attacks, the product dynamically creates SQL injection and remote file inclusion attacks to test the viability of the threats.

Impact does not install or run any code on compromised Web servers during Web application penetration testing, making the testing process self-contained and safe for production systems, Core Security officials said.

The new version of Core Impact is the latest announcement from the company around Web application security. At this years Black Hat conference in August, company officials gave a presentation on an open-source tool called Core Grasp, which uses a method known as "taint analysis" to prevent SQL injection attacks against applications written in PHP.

The companys focus seems to be in line with the findings of a recent survey by Web application security vendor Cenzic and the Executive Alliance, an organization based in Marietta, Ga. The survey included responses from 476 enterprise security information executives and found about 50 percent were somewhat confident to not confident that their Web applications were safe from attack.

Core Impacts ability to test for multiple Web-based attacks is key because hackers are not shy about trying to compromise an organizations IT infrastructure with a combination of attacks, Horan said.

"An attacker might first gain entry through a social engineering attack and then use the compromised users credentials to attack an internal Web application and finally, with this access, attack the internal servers and services, exploiting the trusted relationships on the network until ultimately obtaining access to critical assets … thought to be safe," he said. "Supporting this coordinated approach to cyber-crime is critical, as it enables our users to better defend their organizations."

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