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Re: CONTENT DECISION: Presence of Services or Applications (SA)

"Prosser, Mike" wrote:
> Dave,
> I am not saying don't check for a service running, we do.  I believe
> Aleph One says it best when he said it is a risk vice an actual
> vulnerability.  A client may not even realize they are running a
> particular "risky" service, or they may be fully aware of it and need
> it for their business.  All a scanner does by checking for the service
> is alert the user to the fact the service is running.  Speaking for
> myself, not for other vendors,  having a "risky" service running or
> not is a decision that the client has to make based on their needs.
> We try to provide them with all the options to make that decision.
> All part of risk management.

A hypothetical.

Let's say that I am one of your customers. Let's say my
policy states that finger should not be running on any
of my boundary machines.  Let's say your scanner determines
that finger is, in fact, running on one of my boundary machines.

Question:  Has your scanner just identified a vulnerability
on my system?

Note, if you say no, it is not a vulnerability on the grounds
that finger is not flawed on its own, then you admit that
vulnerabilities can be understood independant of policy.
That is, you do not need to consider what my policy is to
make the determination of whether finger is a vulnerability
or not.  On the other hand, if you say yes according to *my*
restrictive  policy it is a vulnerability, then you make the case
for the more inclusive notion of vulnerability -- since the
more inclusive notion of vulnerability will allow us to
describe things that are vulnerabilities on some systems
but not others depending on the respective policies.


David Mann                     ||  phone: (781) 271 - 2252
INFOSEC Engineer/Scientist, Sr ||
Enterprise Security Solutions  ||    fax: (781) 271 - 3957
The MITRE Corporation          ||
Bedford, Mass 01730            || e-mail: damann@mitre.org

Page Last Updated or Reviewed: May 22, 2007