Category: Social Engineering

How to Suck at Information Security

Security Policy and Compliance

  • Ignore regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Assume the users will read the security policy because you’ve asked them to.
  • Use security templates without customizing them.
  • Jump into a full-blown adoption of frameworks such as ISO 27001/27002 before you’re ready.
  • Create security policies you cannot enforce.
  • Enforce policies that are not properly approved.
  • Blindly follow compliance requirements without creating overall security architecture.
  • Create a security policy just to mark a checkbox.
  • Pay someone to write your security policy without any knowledge of your business or processes.
  • Translate policies in a multi-language environment without consistent meaning across the languages.
  • Make sure none of the employees finds the policies.
  • Assume that if the policies worked for you last year, they’ll be valid for the next year.
  • Assume that being compliant means you’re secure.
  • Assume that policies don’t apply to executives.
  • Hide from the auditors.

Security Tools

  • Deploy a security product out of the box without tuning it.
  • Tune the IDS to be too noisy, or too quiet.
  • Buy security products without considering the maintenance and implementation costs.
  • Rely on anti-virus and firewall products without having additional controls.
  • Run regular vulnerability scans, but don’t follow through on the results.
  • Let your anti-virus, IDS, and other security tools run on “auto-pilot.”
  • Employ multiple security technologies without understanding how each of them contributes.
  • Focus on widgets, while omitting to consider the importance of maintaining accountability.
  • Buy expensive product when a simple and cheap fix may address 80% of the problem.

Risk Management

  • Attempt to apply the same security rigor to all IT assets, regardless of their risk profiles.
  • Make someone responsible for managing risk, but don’t give the person any power to make decisions.
  • Ignore the big picture while focusing on quantitative risk analysis.
  • Assume you don’t have to worry about security, because your company is too small or insignificant.
  • Assume you’re secure because you haven’t been compromised recently.
  • Be paranoid without considering the value of the asset or its exposure factor.
  • Classify all data assets as “top secret.”

Security Practices

  • Don’t review system, application, and security logs.
  • Expect end-users to forgo convenience in place of security.
  • Lock down the infrastructure so tightly, that getting work done becomes very difficult.
  • Say “no” whenever asked to approve a request.
  • Impose security requirements without providing the necessary tools and training.
  • Focus on preventative mechanisms while ignoring detective controls.
  • Have no DMZ for Internet-accessible servers.
  • Assume your patch management process is working, without checking on it.
  • Delete logs because they get too big to read.
  • Expect SSL to address all security problems with your web application.
  • Ban the use of external USB drives while not restricting outbound access to the Internet.
  • Act superior to your counterparts on the network, system admin, and development teams.
  • Stop learning about technologies and attacks.
  • Adopt hot new IT or security technologies before they have had a chance to mature.
  • Hire somebody just because he or she has a lot of certifications.
  • Don’t apprise your manager of the security problems your efforts have avoided.
  • Don’t cross-train the IT and security staff.

Password Management

  • Require your users to change passwords too frequently.
  • Expect your users to remember passwords without writing them down.
  • Impose overly-onerous password selection requirements.
  • Use the same password on systems that differ in risk exposure or data criticality.
  • Impose password requirements without considering the ease with which a password could be reset.

Thanks for Lenny Zelster for its awesome cheat sheet. For original document please see If you have any suggestions other than the ones at above, let me know!

No, no and no. This is NOT a SECURITY!!!!

Unbelievable post in Craiglist site:

Need help to fix sendmail on a CentOs Linux server (Anywhere)

I have a Linux server with: CentOS 5.5, updated Apache & PHP (as done by yum update ……)

Right now I’m having a problem with “sendmail” on it: When I try to use the PHP function mail(), the email appears to come out from: apache@localhost.localdomain.

Some recipient mailservers bounce such emails back — because of invalid domain name.

Can you fix it for me? I can give you the IP address & root password. And how much would you ask for fixing this problem?

Thank you very much!


One word: Seriously?

Username harvesting from Social Media

I mentioned some command line utilities you can use to extract user names on internet on my previous blog post.

Today I want to discuss one of these tools: Reconioter

Nowadays, everybody wants to be connected. People want to increase their social networking with facebook, myspace, Linkedin, etc.

Reconioter searches Linkedin’s company directories and find possible user names. Its simple syntax as following:

./ query #number of pages

I have installed it on my BackTrack4 and do some testing. For example, we want to learn some user names for Apple employees, then we can run

./ Apple 2

As you may realize after finding employees names, the program outputs them in some common user name formats: First name last initial, last name first initial, and first initial, last name.

This tool is great for penetration testers who want to demonstrate some intelligence gathering techniques usage.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is so interesting. You can get all access of a system without a little technical information. To protect yourself is not that easy. A social engineer who has done much researching about his victim can do many harmful things.

You cannot hide your foot prints on internet. There are several command line utilities which use google and find all pdf, txt file on a domain then extract user names from those documents.

User names are so important and easy to get…. After I see people’s hotmail and google passwords, I can say guessing password based on social engineering is easy too.

Social engineering and computer forensics are two things I want to specialize in.

Learning crackers tactics can help security people to protect their users.

I am currently busy with some networking stuff. However, I will love to learn more some social engineering tools. There is a good website for this purpose:

As it said at the website “Because there is no patch for human stupidity”