If we have to deal with low-level vulnerabilities?… Let’s find out!
Nowadays computer security is essential for all types of companies. For this reason, many techniques have been developed to carry out a vulnerability analysis in order to avoid the spread of threats within the organization. Every year organizations around the world rely more and more on the use of sophisticated hardware and software products to perform their core business process. As a result, the number of such products used by these organizations has increased rapidly. This indicates that organizations are increasingly susceptible to significant business disruptions caused by the potential exploitation of security vulnerabilities within such products. Organizations are perhaps less prepared than ever before to monitor and prevent security vulnerabilities. This is due to both the volume of wear and tear on the products used and the rate of introduction of new and/or updated existing products. Therefore, we will see through this article that they address vulnerabilities in a general way, how they originate, the most common types of vulnerabilities, low-rated vulnerabilities, and why it is important to address low-rated weaknesses and some prevention methods.
Vulnerabilities: what are they? And how they originate
Failures in the security system in which a user performs planned or accidental activities in which a threat to a computer system is successful and causes loss and theft of information. The vulnerabilities come from the scheme and implementation of the systems, programming errors, security techniques and internal control mechanisms. The vulnerabilities originate from incorrect or weak defenses in the physical and logical or regulatory part present in the computer systems.
The physical vulnerabilities are those that will affect the infrastructure of the organization in a physical way and can be mentioned in this type of classification to natural disasters, accidents, among others.
The logical vulnerabilities are those that will directly affect the infrastructure and the development of the operation of these, these can be of:
- Configuration: in the operating system, they can be the default configurations of the system or even of some applications of the server that is exposed.
- Update: in many occasions there are companies that do not update their systems, vulnerabilities are appearing and this is a point that must be taken into account.
- Development: here we can mention the code injections in SQL, Cross Site Scripting, this can vary depending on the type of application, data validation.
Types of vulnerabilities:
There are different types of flaws in the system that can allow cyber attackers to take advantage of them to carry out an attack on the system, among them the following can be identified:
- Buffer overflow: This error occurs when an application is not able to control the amount of data that is copied in the buffer, so that if the amount of information is exceeded the amount that the buffer allows, it will be stored in contiguous memory zones, overwriting its original content, which allows cyber criminals to inoculate an illegal code in a computer, so that they can take control and thus carry out attacks on the system. It must be considered that, in order to carry out a memory overflow, the user must have knowledge of programming, and in basic architecture of Operating Systems.
- Race condition: this vulnerability is found when several processes in progress have access to a shared resource at the same time, such as a variable or a code, which leads to system errors such as computer blocking, illegal operations, errors when reading data, among others.
- Format string bugs: this consists of validating the introduction of data without justification by the user, this originates from a design error and mainly results from an oversight at the time of programming. This type of vulnerability allows for the introduction of malicious code with the aim of stealing information from users.
- Window Spoofing: this allows an attacker to display windows with random messages and notifications, usually using attractive messages such as “you are the winner of a prize”.
This is the weakest vulnerability there is, since it is the one that least disturbs our computer system or application. This range of vulnerability is the one that will have the smallest footprint on it and it is also a type of vulnerability that can be easily addressed and therefore will not have a permanent impact.
Is it really important to fix low-level vulnerabilities?
Yes, it is definitely imperative to fix this kind of vulnerabilities since many times when they do not represent an inherent risk they are simply ignored until the moment they become a failure, that is, the vulnerability that was previously considered low level, has escalated to a more serious one. Occasionally, a vulnerability that was once considered low priority is now a high threat because there is a common cycle of vulnerabilities evolving at the threat level that can lead to major failures.
In addition, low-level vulnerabilities could be added to other types of attacks, which increases their potential effect. Therefore, all types of vulnerabilities should be considered, regardless of their severity, since as we have seen, they are likely to escalate in severity and become one of the highest risks of exploitation by cyber attackers.
These are some recommendations to prevent computer vulnerabilities, regardless of their severity:
- Make active technological information inventories, such as servers, infrastructure, applications, among others.
- Perform penetration tests to detect existing vulnerabilities, this can be done with vulnerability analysis tools or using the resource of “ethical hacker”.
- And finally to determine which measures are most appropriate to the type of vulnerability in order to apply the correct solutions.
Throughout this article we were able to determine certain important points within the area of computer security in organizations, we saw that the vulnerabilities that can present our systems, how these vulnerabilities are originated, the types of vulnerabilities, how to prevent them and what I consider more important to give importance to any of these types of vulnerabilities, since independently of its seriousness these continue being a vulnerability, therefore it is necessary to eliminate them to avoid that they escalate to a level of greater seriousness and causes irreparable damages.