IP Address Confirmation & Assessment Safety (Network Vulnerability Assessments)

IP Address Confirmation
In this step, business functions must be mapped to physical system and information about how the systems operate must be recorded. It is a wise audit step to obtain a list of the organization's IP addresses, to whom they are assigned, and where they are assigned, including the type of device. DNS name resolution can be used, but if something happens to the name server, or if the IP address resolution is incorrect, the actions taken by the auditors could be slowed or result in the wrong systems being audited.

Ownership of the IP addresses should verified and confirmed before beginning the assessment. A very simple, but effective tool for IP resolution having a host of other features is available from: www.samspade.org. This tool is very intuitive, easily configurable, and will automatically select the correct Internet registration authority reflecting IP address ownership. Confirming IP addresses is good audit practice and serves to verify whether the organization has accurately completed their asset inventory.

Assessment Safety
Although auditors will have the best intentions, it is a wise practice to have a safety protocol for those moments when adverse things happen. When auditors download freeware/shareware or purchase their tools, it is a wise procedure to scan these utilities for malware being present. It only takes a moment to update the antivirus software and scan the product for worms, viruses, and Trojans.

During the audit is not the time to experiment with a new tool. An audit tool should be carefully exercised to ensure the auditor has a thorough knowledge of its use before using it in an audit. Additionally, assessment tools should be updated, as new versions become available. Newer versions will likely address newly announced weaknesses that may be missed by older pieces of software.

Auditors should have emergency contact information for appropriate management levels for each of the sections they are evaluating. These contacts must be 24/7. It is the experience of most system auditors that if anything can go wrong, it will at the least opportune moment.

Experience Note Murphy's Law will be in full effect during every audit step; plan on it.

Auditors should document all their actions and information captured during the assessment. Notes should be recorded to a central file for each member of the audit team. Some auditors go so far as to enable keystroke logging on their workstations to record all their actions. Record all IP addresses and netmasks targeted by your scanner tools. It is important to note when your system's IP address changes at any time during the assessment. This will help you keep directed and on track when performing the assessment. Additionally, it will simplify configuring the scanning tools. Using the IP addresses from the organization's inventory will shorten the time scanning tools are run. In this fashion, auditors only have to cover the territory once. Auditors should document the start and stop times of their tools. These documents will comprise a section in the auditor's work papers and will be referenced in the audit report.

Discovering the Character of the Audit Target
As a general first step, auditors will research public source information about the audit target. One of the most logical steps is to look up the domain registration information of the audit target. There are many manual Web sites providing Internet domain registration. These are just a few:




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