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 ???publishDate.suggestedBy???

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

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • 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 ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • cyberextortion

    Cyberextortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of an attack coupled with a demand for money or some other response in ...

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • National Security Agency (NSA)

    The National Security Agency is the official U.S. cryptologic organization of the United States Intelligence Community under the ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

  • 21st Century Cures Act

    The 21st Century Cures Act is a wide-ranging healthcare bill that funds medical research and development, medical device ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical ...

  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close