Elastic Security: Vulnerability Assessment

Elastic Detector, our FREE Vulnerability Assessment tool for Amazon EC2, has been recently updated with NEW features. Of course, the NEW Amazon US-West (Oregon) has been added at the meantime (see the AWS blogpost for more information).

Sometimes, security is considered boring (as shown in one of our previous posts on Open Ports Check), I take this opportunity to give some explanation on the recent Security Features that have been added and to point out two features of Elastic Detector, that are essential for providing a security solution that can cope with the elasticity of cloud infrastructures.

New Security Features of Elastic Detector

  • Blacklist Checks: Check against well-known RBLs if your Elastic IP Address (EIP according to Amazon naming), or the IP address taken from Amazon pool address is blacklisted.
    This allows cloud users to detect configuration errors in a mail server that is used as an Open-Relay or to detect a malicious insider that is using your infrastructure to install a bot-net (part of CloudSecurityAlliance Top Threats).
  • Critical Ports Audit: Check against a tunnable list of sensitive ports that there are no critical ports open to the public.
    This allows cloud users to be protected from dictionary attacks on administrative services such as SSH, Webmin (for Linux instances), or RDP (for Windows instances).
  • Security Zones Auditor: Define Security Zones according to the port that are accessible (using 3 Levels of Security: public, sensitive and critical) and the source IP addresses that have access to those ports (using 3 Levels of Trust: untrusted, fairly-trusted, trusted). Based on that information, Elastic Detector verifies if there is a perfect separation between servers of different trust levels with regard to their Security Zones. For example, in a three tiered architecture (Web server, Application server, Database server), an instance running a Web server should not be able to directly access an instance running the database server as this will potentially expose your data in case of compromise of the web server.

Two Characteristics of Elastic Detector

  • AgentLess: No additional agent or software to install on your instance (AMI according to Amazon convention naming).
    Using APIs, there is no risk of loosing connectivity with an agent (due to a network problem, a misconfiguration, or a human error) and no need to maintained the agents that are deployed. Moreover, the agent is itself a target for attack, so using APIs give us an additional level of isolation.
  • Auto-Check Technology: Any cloud resources (especially instances) are under control during the complete life-cycle, as continuous Security Checks based on customizable templates are automatically put in place as soon as the resource is detected by a real time polling system til the resource is shutdown.

Feel free to comment or ask more details on the security points.
/fred

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