Feeds

UK plc neglects basic VPN security

Royaume-Uni - nul point

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Corporate UK is failing to configure and manage its firewalls and VPN services properly. Just like more publicised Web server vulnerabilities, issues with security software are frequently left unaddressed - months after a problem comes to light.

The Fifth Annual NTA Monitor Security Audit found that risks present on corporate firewalls tested by NTA have risen by almost a fifth (or 17 per cent) since 2000. The report was published last month but a breakdown looking specifically at firewall/VPN problems, published today, sheds fresh light on an important - but neglected - area of security.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of companies tested by NTA Monitor as part of its Regular Monitor security testing service during 2002 left their networks wide open to attack by either installing firewall VPNs in their default configuration or by failing to follow best practice security principles.

NTA Monitor found that the most common errors related to basic mistakes in firewall management and the configuration of VPN services, the permitted VPNs to be located and profiled.

"It is a key security principle to keep your firewall and remote connections hidden from unauthorised users - if a firewall can't be detected then it can't be hacked," said Roy Hills, technical director, NTA Monitor.

By polling the services offered on standard proprietary ports an attacker can identify the type of firewall VPN installed and occasionally the version number. Having identified the firewall, a cracker can target it for known exploits or maintain a record of its profile to run against new threats.

NTA Monitor advises corporates, where possible, to prevent unauthorised access by keeping firewalls and remote connections hidden to all but authorised IP addresses. It also recommends that corporates avoid allowing access to sequential IP (predictable) address ranges.

Last September, NTA Monitor discovered a flaw in CheckPoint's VPN implementation of IKE aggressive mode, enabling unlimited password attempts against accounts for remote VPN clients.

In tests performed on corporate sites between the start of February and May 20, NTA Monitor found the vuln present in 58 per cent of sites using this software - more than six months after the flaw was widely reported.

"This underlines the fact that corporates are failing to make best practice configuration changes or to apply relevant security patches," Hills concludes.

NTA Monitor has issued a Good Practice Guide to securing a firewall/VPN which can be found here. ®

Related Stories

UK.biz getting on top of serious security risks
UK e-commerce sites: Top 10 flaws
Password guessing games with Check Point firewall

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.