Avatao Blog

Cybersecurity best practices, tips, and the latest news discussed by security professionals. Read on to find the topic that interests you the most!

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Python best practices and common issues

Python best practices and common issues

Reading Time: 9 minutes Python is a high-level, flexible programming language that offers some great features. To be as effective as possible, it is important to possess the knowledge to make the most out of coding with Python.

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Python best practices and common issues

Python best practices and common issues

Reading Time: 9 minutes Python is a high-level, flexible programming language that offers some great features. To be as effective as possible, it is important to possess the knowledge to make the most out of coding with Python.

Where the money is: Financial cybersecurity

Where the money is: Financial cybersecurity

Reading Time: 7 minutes Money management moves towards complete automation, and the evolution of cybercrime follows along. The money heist has changed, we all know that. Cyberspace takes more and more of that cake, but the reason behind attacks remains the same: money, in any form.

Security Champions: Interview with Alexander Antukh, CISO of Glovo

Security Champions: Interview with Alexander Antukh, CISO of Glovo

Reading Time: 7 minutes Security champions represent an essential part of any security programs. They lead their teams on security projects, ensure internal security and help keeping security on the top of your mind. But how exactly they operate in a business? We asked Alexander Antukh, Director of Security at Glovo for professional insights.

Why do you need a security champions program?

Why do you need a security champions program?

Reading Time: 6 minutes As the company grows the leadership wants to establish a security program to ensure the solid and undisrupted operation of the business. Security at this point is essential, especially when calculating the loss from a halted business, even for a few hours.

5 Key Challenges When Building a Security Training Program

5 Key Challenges When Building a Security Training Program

Reading Time: 6 minutes To build an enterprise security program, one has to go back to the well-known fundamentals of organizational change: People, Process, and Technology (originates from Harold Leavitt’s “Applied Organization Change in Industry”, 1964).

Getting started with Kotlin

Getting started with Kotlin

Reading Time: 10 minutes If you are working on Java projects you might have heard about other languages that run on the JVM, like Clojure, Kotlin, or Scala. Programmers like to try new things out but is it worth it to pick one of them over Java?

Life Before Docker and Beyond – A Brief History of Container Security

Life Before Docker and Beyond – A Brief History of Container Security

Reading Time: 11 minutes Containers have been around for over a decade. Yet before Docker’s explosive success beginning in 2013 they were not wide-spread or well-known. Long gone are the days of chroot, containers are all the rage, and with them, we have a whole new set of development and security challenges.

Why cybersecurity is important for business

Why cybersecurity is important for business

Reading Time: 5 minutes Cybersecurity is an inherently negative asset. As with any protective measure, the major challenge is to measure the value (or Return on Investment, ROI) of cybersecurity. It is significantly more difficult to make this value apparent to stakeholders: customers, users and decision-makers in the company.

XSS Case Study

XSS Case Study

Reading Time: 6 minutes Explore the key elements of this Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability in the Google search engine.

A quantitative approach to Data Protection Impact Assessment

A quantitative approach to Data Protection Impact Assessment

Reading Time: 7 minutes Ever-increasing amounts of information are produced, stored, processed, and transferred enabling products and services across all industries. A substantial amount of this information relates to an identified or identifiable natural person i.e., its personal data. The processing of personal data can, unfortunately, also summon risks to individuals’ rights and freedoms, sometimes materializing in real harm.

DNS security and privacy issues and how to avoid them

DNS security and privacy issues and how to avoid them

Reading Time: 7 minutes Even if you use HTTPS, your browsing habits can still be tracked by observing your DNS queries. Besides the lack of confidentiality, plain old DNS doesn’t provide data integrity and authenticity either. This article discusses DNS security and privacy and points out the problems that can arise from lacking in these attributes and gives some tips on how to remedy them.

API vulnerability: Wild card to win USPS customer data

API vulnerability: Wild card to win USPS customer data

Reading Time: 3 minutes The US Postal Service launched its Informed Visibility program last year to provide better insight into their mailstream service. For example, one can obtain near real-time notifications about delivery dates and identify trends. However, they have made much more data available than intended, at least 60 million customers were exposed to anyone who is registered on http://www.usps.com.

An overview of Linux container security

An overview of Linux container security

Reading Time: 5 minutes Containers are often treated as if they were virtual machines which are far from the truth, they are a lot less isolated from the host system. However, there is a myriad of ways to enhance isolation. This blog post will give you an overview of Linux container security.

Not so smart pointers

Not so smart pointers

Reading Time: 5 minutes Even though modern C++ ( the standard since C++11) has made programming in this language much more secure, it also introduced new vulnerabilities hidden under its layers of abstractions. In C and older versions of C++, the concept of pointers wasn’t easy to grasp for beginners. You had to worry about null dereference, dangling pointers, deallocation, etc. However, the Middle Ages are over, we have smart pointers now.

Security and usability: How to find a good balance

Security and usability: How to find a good balance

Reading Time: 8 minutes How would you like the idea of being escorted by armed security staff from the grocery store to your home in order to protect the valuable air fresheners you have just bought? Would you be confused, would you visit the store again?

Smart Contract Security

Smart Contract Security

Reading Time: 6 minutes Blockchain-based platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to maintain a public distributed ledger, providing reliability, integrity, and auditability for transactions without a trusted entity.

Secure collaborative infrastructure deployment workflow with Terraform, Vault, and Atlantis

Secure collaborative infrastructure deployment workflow with Terraform, Vault, and Atlantis

Reading Time: 6 minutes In one of our recent posts, we wrote about the difficulties of adopting infrastructure automation in a previously static environment. As experience shows, it’s never easy to get accustomed to a tool when the size of your team excels in numbers. Exploring its strengths, weaknesses, and boundaries, adopting best practices could take weeks.

Secure development with Spring Boot

Secure development with Spring Boot

Reading Time: 10 minutes In the past decade, Spring Framework became a well established and prominent web framework for developing Java applications. The most exciting and essential changes in the Spring ecosystem was the birth and progression of Spring Boot. No matter what you need, Spring Boot provides comprehensive, easy-to-use, and interdisciplinary development environment tools for deployment and assists in the whole development lifecycle.

The three fatal bugs behind the Facebook breach

The three fatal bugs behind the Facebook breach

Reading Time: 5 minutes The Facebook breach was discovered after the social media company saw an unusual spike of user activity that began on September 14, 2018. A few days later, on Tuesday, September 25, Facebook’s engineering team discovered an unprecedented security issue, that affected about 30 million users. The social media giant says the flaw has been patched, but the people behind this attack are still unknown.

Automate infrastructure with Ansible in a secure way

Automate infrastructure with Ansible in a secure way

Reading Time: 7 minutes In this article, we will cover how to use Ansible for infrastructure automation. Here at Avatao, we are big believers in infrastructure-as-code which is a way of infrastructure automation using the practices from software development. Setup tasks, configuration, identity, and access management are coded as reproducible definitions. This dramatically reduces the chance of human error. Changes in the infrastructure are reproducible and auditable. We can also make use of software development tools such as version control or automated testing and deployment.

How to dive into web-security as a developer

How to dive into web-security as a developer

Reading Time: 7 minutes Great developers possess a wide variety of skills, from technological expertise to product thinking. You need some of these for your current job, others you just picked up over the years. Nevertheless, it’s all valuable and contributes to the fact that you are seen as a seasoned software engineer.

Semancat versioning

Semancat versioning

Reading Time: 8 minutes Tackling the versioning pains of a greenfield project with cats. New projects can force us, developers to face certain challenges that we won’t even have to think about when working on an already existing codebase.
These include stuff like “how are we going to ship our code to customers/clients?” or coming up with a way to distinguish between versions.

Security issues to be aware of before moving to the cloud

Security issues to be aware of before moving to the cloud

Reading Time: 8 minutes As more and more infrastructures are moved to the cloud datacenters, services offered by the cloud providers became an obvious target for exploitation and cloud security in practice is more important than ever. Configuring these services to be as secure as possible is a new challenge coming from the datacenter world.

Git security best practices

Git security best practices

Reading Time: 7 minutes In this article, we will discuss different methods to avoid common pitfalls in terms of Git security. We live in a world where it is hard not to know Git, the most popular Distributed Version Control System (DVCS). Free and open-source, it has been initially created by Linus Torvalds to be used for the development of the Linux Kernel. These days, Git is completely omnipresent in the IT industry. It is the key element of platforms such as GitHub or GitLab and used as a package management system by the Go language for example.

Using cloud-services, security is your job too

Using cloud-services, security is your job too

Reading Time: 8 minutes Being cloud-native won’t save you from external threats if you as a user are not aware of basic network security needs – cloud providers simply cannot do everything for you while due to the heavy demand to scale our services, there is unexpected urgency to be cloud-native. This shift allows for abstracting our infrastructure- and network layers into the software-defined space of clouds. Simultaneously, traditional perimeter security issues move silently to the table of IaaS providers, but certain control parameters are still in our hands.

Report a vulnerability in a responsible way!

Report a vulnerability in a responsible way!

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you have found a vulnerability and you want to act responsibly, discretion is most important. Always remember you have information that can be exploited by black-hats putting not only the enterprise and its reputation but its users at risk.

Broken Access Control

Broken Access Control

Reading Time: 7 minutes Access control, or authorization, is how a web application grants access to resources to some users, and not others. These resources mostly fall into two categories: sensitive data, which should only be accessed by certain entities, and functions that can modify data on the webserver, or even modify the server’s functionality. Authorization checks are performed after authentication: when a user visits a webpage, first they have to authenticate themselves, i.e. login, then if they try to gain access to a resource, the server checks if they are authorized to do so.

Learn about CSP-based XSS protection

Learn about CSP-based XSS protection

Reading Time: 6 minutes The security model of web is rooted in the same-origin policy. Each origin is isolated from the rest of the web and codes should only have access to their origin’s data. Because of this model, browsers trust every code that shows up on a page as it’s a part of the pages’ security origin.

Is your company ready for a responsible disclosure policy program?

Is your company ready for a responsible disclosure policy program?

Reading Time: 5 minutes A company has to be mature enough to implement a responsible disclosure policy – or at least mature enough to implement its own tailor-made program. Implementing a responsible disclosure policy can show your security consciousness, yet if you do it wrong, the effects can be detrimental.

Make AWS infrastructure more secure with the help of IAM

Make AWS infrastructure more secure with the help of IAM

Reading Time: 6 minutes The trend to move to the cloud seems to be unstoppable that raises more and more security concerns. AWS can be considered the leader in the market of cloud service providers. It offers more than a hundred different cloud services and it is used by over a million companies. Given such an enormous volume of business, it should come as no surprise that AWS has its dedicated service to help developers keep their cloud infrastructure more secure. This service is called IAM which stands for Identity and Access Management.

Insource instead of outsourcing your cybersecurity operations

Insource instead of outsourcing your cybersecurity operations

Reading Time: 5 minutes As the enterprise architecture becomes more and more complex, the task of the Chief Security Information Officer (CISO) becomes overwhelming. CISOs have a tough time finding talented cybersecurity professionals to support their job. In an interesting article in VentureBeat, Nir Donitza and Gal Ringel wrote about the cybersecurity landscape of Israel in 2018, and what it might predict from global cybersecurity. A few of their findings point to some interesting trends.

Deep dive into the Equifax breach and the Apache Struts vulnerability

Deep dive into the Equifax breach and the Apache Struts vulnerability

Reading Time: 6 minutes You’ve probably read about the Equifax breach and the Apache Struts vulnerability in NY Times, in Bloomberg or somewhere else. The breach resulted in the leakage of 143 million user profiles, including Social Security numbers, birthdates and addresses.

Learn to build secure software

Learn to build secure software

Reading Time: 6 minutes The time pressure of an approaching deadline is a good excuse to go fast when establishing the quality and security of the produced software. Everybody says that security is important, but the reality is that we’ll always find a good reason to neglect it if it is not built in entirely
into our Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

How !SpamAndHex became a top hacker team in the world. The final part.

How !SpamAndHex became a top hacker team in the world. The final part.

Reading Time: 6 minutes This is the final part of this blog series. If you haven’t done already so, you can read the first, and
second part of our story also.
It was early 2013, in the middle of my Ph.D. studies when two master students (András Gazdag and Levente Fritz) asked me to talk about memory corruption vulnerabilities.

Interview with Tamás “KT” Koczka from !SpamAndHex

Interview with Tamás “KT” Koczka from !SpamAndHex

Reading Time: 8 minutes We are more than happy to welcome Tamás Koczka (aka “KT”) who is one of the key members of the CrySyS Student Core so that of the !SpamAndHex team also. As the captain of !SpamAndHex and the main player of the team he participated at approximately 80 CTF events (including 7 finals abroad) solving hundreds of challenges from various topics in information security.

Three major XSS issues in 2016 (plus an avatao XMaSS challenge)

Three major XSS issues in 2016 (plus an avatao XMaSS challenge)

Reading Time: 3 minutes In our previous blog, we gave you a small introduction to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks and added some easy challenges to get a taste of web security. It seems, however, that XSS is still one of the top vulnerabilites on the web. An attack against Yahoo Mail and various sandbox escape techniques keep this this topic hot.

Parse your binaries with Kaitai WebIDE

Parse your binaries with Kaitai WebIDE

Reading Time: 3 minutes Binary analysis starts with the understanding of different file formats. Fortunately, there are several tools (e.g., CFF explorer, FileAlyzer) that help you to understand their internal structure, however, most of these tools are not generic enough and do not expose APIs or SDKs. As a result, when automated analysis is required you have to implement your own scripts to parse those binaries.

Interview with Chris Wysopal, CTO of Veracode

Interview with Chris Wysopal, CTO of Veracode

Reading Time: 6 minutes We are more than happy to welcome Chris Wysopal, (also on Twitter) as the next security expert on our blog. Chris, the CTO of Veracode, is one of the key influencers in IT security today. He is a regular speaker at conferences such as Black Hat or the RSA conference.

Interview with Zoltán Balázs, security expert

Interview with Zoltán Balázs, security expert

Reading Time: 9 minutes We are more than happy to welcome Zoltán Balázs, (also on Twitter) as the next security expert on our blog. Zoli has long track records in bypassing security defense products. He regularly gives talks at security conferences such as DEFCON, Botconf or Hacktivity. He is now working as the CTO for MRG-Effitas. Here is his story.

Interview with Charlie Miller, security researcher

Interview with Charlie Miller, security researcher

Reading Time: 4 minutes Charlie Miller, (also on Twitter) is well-known in the security community for his exceptional hacking results. He won the Pwn2Own contest at CanSecWest 4 times by exploiting various Apple products (e.g., Safari, iOS) . Then he surprised the world by performing a remote hack on a Jeep Cherokee. He is now with us to shed light on how he approaches complex systems and finds their weaknesses. Here is his story.

How !SpamAndHex became a top hacker team (part 2)

How !SpamAndHex became a top hacker team (part 2)

Reading Time: 4 minutes This is the second part of our !SpamAndHex series. You can read the first part here. Everything starts with a vision. It was in 2009 at the very beginning of my master studies at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (in short BME) in Hungary when my advisor, Levente Buttyán (head of CrySyS Lab) contacted Engin Kirda who was tenured faculty at Institute Eurecom (Graduate School and Research Center) at that time if there is a project I could work on together with other iSecLab guys.

Interview with Mateusz “j00ru” Jurczyk, security expert

Interview with Mateusz “j00ru” Jurczyk, security expert

Reading Time: 6 minutes We are more than happy to welcome Mateusz Jurczyk (aka “j00ru”), (also on Twitter) as the second security expert on our blog. When talking about low-level Windows kernel security, we are unable to avoid his name. He won the Pwnie Award 3 times and was nominated 6 times in various categories. He is one of the key members of the Dragon Sector CTF team which became the best team in the world in 2014 on CTF time. Here is his story.

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