Chapter 5. Automated Exploits

Vulnerability scanners provide a data set. They don’t provide a guarantee that the vulnerability exists. They don’t even guarantee that what we find is the complete list of vulnerabilities that may exist within an organization’s network. A scanner may return incomplete results for many reasons. The first one is that network segments or systems may be excluded from the scanning and information gathering. That’s common with performing some security testing. Another may be that the scanner has been blocked from particular service ports. The scanner can’t get to those ports, and as a result, it can’t make any determination about the potential vulnerabilities that may exist within that service.

The results from the vulnerability scanners we have used are just starting points. Testing to see whether they are exploitable provides not only veracity to the finding but on top of that, you will be able to show executives what can be done as a result of that vulnerability. Demonstrations are a powerful way of getting people’s attention when it comes to security concerns. This is especially true if the demonstration leads to a clear path to destruction or compromise of information resources.

Exploiting vulnerabilities is a way to demonstrate that the vulnerabilities exist. Exploits can cover a broad range of actions, though you may think that when we talk about exploits, we are talking about breaking into running programs and getting some level of interactive ...

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