Browse Definitions:
Definition

offensive security

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Offensive security is a proactive and adversarial approach to protecting computer systems, networks and individuals from attacks. Conventional security -- sometimes referred to as "defensive security" -- focuses on reactive measures, such as patching software and finding and fixing system vulnerabilities. In contrast, offensive security measures are focused on seeking out the perpetrators and in some cases attempting to disable or at least disrupt their operations.

At the RSA 2012 conference, Paul Asadoorian and John Strand presented methods that companies can use to frustrate would-be attackers, gather information about them, and cautiously retaliate without illegal actions. The men, both instructors at the SANS Institute, thought that their offensive methods for penetration testing could be used defensively.

Asadoorian and Strand recommend that companies place statements in likely network entrance points warning that anyone attempting to gain access will be subjected to an NAC-like check, which would inform the attacker that their machine data, IP and MAC addresses would be gathered.

The three components of Asadoorian and Strand's method are annoyance, attribution and attack. The annoyance component consists of frustrating the attacker's attempt through tools that establish false ports, services and directories. Once the attacker is lured into the false system, he ends up looping endlessly through it.

Attribution -- accurately identifying the attacker -- is important. One method, as Asadoorian explained, is to put a Web bug in sensitive documents. If the document is accessed, the Web bug sends back information about the system that accessed it.

According to Asadoorian, the attack component should only be an enhancement of the annoyance and attribution capabilities, rather than a truly malicious -- and illegal -- assault on the attacker. 

 

This was last updated in November 2012

Continue Reading About offensive security

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

I've got to say every time I read something that someone has put a "buzz" word to doing your job it becomes rather offensive. The idea "Offensive Security" is nothing new in fact it's just plain & simple called DOING YOUR JOB. But for those that just have picked up the "Information Assurance" buzz because it might actually get them a income, might need to know that being in front of the mess is called doing your job and it's what you are paid to do. CISO KS
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • computer exploit

    A computer exploit, or exploit, is an attack on a computer system, especially one that takes advantage of a particular ...

  • cyberwarfare

    Cyberwarfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another ...

  • insider threat

    Insider threat is a generic term for a threat to an organization's security or data that comes from within.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder)

    OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) is open source software designed to create and manage a service that provides persistent data ...

  • SATA Express (SATAe)

    SATA Express (SATAe or Serial ATA Express) is a bus interface to connect storage devices to a computer motherboard, supporting ...

  • DIMM (dual in-line memory module)

    A DIMM (dual in-line memory module) is the standard memory card used in servers and PCs.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid flash array

    A hybrid flash array is a solid-state storage system that contains a mix of flash memory drives and hard disk drives.

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close