Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reconnaissance: don't post what you don't want found

This week's topic of the computer security class that I teach was reconnaissance. The amount of information that is "out there", available for an attacker who wants to build a profile of his target is overwhelming. The things that we discussed today weren't very advanced or outlandish, but they were generally knew to my students (undergrads). Here are some take-homes:

  1. Don't underestimate the amount of intel that can be found on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter. It will be almost impossible to control what gets posted, so make sure that you know what information is there. Search for your organization and for your key employees and see what information is posted. Be aware of what others can find out about you as a target and act accordingly.
  2. Be creative with search engines; check Johnny Long's Google Hacking Database. While you are there, order a copy of his book and support charity. Play around with the Goolag scanner to figure out what you can find.
  3. Maltego is awesome; use it, play with it, and learn from using it.
  4. Don't list anything in whois records that you do not have to. Do not list names, email addresses,  titles, street addresses, etc. if you do not absolutely have to. Instead of a real name, list a job function. Instead of an individual's email address, list a functional email address. If you do list an individual's email address, make sure that the first part of the email address isn't also the user's login. List a P.O. Box, rather than a physical address. Real names and email addresses can be used for social engineering, physical addresses can be used for site visits (for example, to search for WiFi bleeding)
  5. Use split DNS and do not allow zone transfers.
  6. Most of all, abide by the adagio: don't post online what you don't want to be found


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