• January 13, 2010
  • Misc

WebApp Throwdown!

WebApp Scanning Throwdown!

Starring: Nexpose Enterprise, Nessus 4.2 Professional Feed and Core Impact v10

The Victim: http://demo.testfire.net/ (Sorry IBM… not!)

Revised: 1/19/2010


Important Follow-up!

I have to apologize for errors in my original article. I missed a few findings in some of the reports, and mis-read a few items. Just to make this absolutely clear, errors in analysis of the results are my own fault, not a reflection of the products. And as stated, the configurations used were not ideal.

Please visit the downloads section for a spreadsheet providing the vulnerabilities in a matrix format and which tools identified them. Ultimately, there’s not a lot of difference though Nexpose did manage to get a couple that Nessus missed. All three tools missed quite a few more subtle vulnerabilities in the test site, however.
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The Puppetmasters New Clothes

In the Science Fiction novel “The Puppet Masters” by Robert A. Heinlein, alien creatures with the ability to connect to humans nervous systems invade the Earth. This novel was made into a terrible, horrible movie so if you have seen the movie but not read the book, please go read the book. And burn any copies of the movie you can get to.

But back to the book. It’s a pretty typical “alien possession” novel by current standards, but it was actually a significant publication in 1951. The aliens themselves are relatively small things with limited mobility (they are dubbed slugs), but can attach themselves to a victims neck and hang down the back. The “slug” can then control the human and tap into their memories, while remaining hidden under the clothing. As the novel progresses, the protagonists (Sam and Mary, who both work for a secret intelligence agency of the US) withdraw to the mountains. After being attacked by an alien slug, they return to the city to discover a law has been passed requiring full nudity.
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