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Microsoft Programming Security

Microsoft Releases Attack Surface Analyzer Tool 40

wiredmikey writes "Microsoft has released the public version of Attack Surface Analyzer, a tool designed to help software developers and independent software vendors assess the attack surface of an application or software platform. The tool was pushed out of beta with Version 1.0 released on Thursday. Since ASA doesn't require the original source code, managers and executives can also use the tool to determine how a new application or software being considered would affect the organization's overall security before deploying it. The tool takes snapshots of the system before and after an application was installed, and compares them to identify changes made when new applications were installed. A stand-alone wizard guides users through the scanning and analysis process and a command-line version is available for use with automated tools. Attack Surface Analyzer 1.0 can be downloaded from Microsoft here."
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Microsoft Releases Attack Surface Analyzer Tool

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:40AM (#40894031)

    Geez, they haven't even shipped the thing yet.

  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:41AM (#40894039)

    My first thought on seeing the title was WTF...Microsoft are releasing their own 0-day exploits ahead of a product launch?

    I guess marketing should be careful next time to write some exclusions into their company-wide email requesting staff to spread the word Surface as widely as possible to get it into peoples' subconscious.

  • LOL (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    if they have been using it then it must not work well

  • First impression (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:49AM (#40894115) Homepage

    So I haven't yet tested it, but it sounds like a fancy interface to netstat, diff, and a wee bit of HijackThis thrown in for good measure. From the download site:

    Some of the checks performed by the tool include analysis of changed or newly added files, registry keys, services, Microsoft ActiveX controls, listening ports and other parameters that affect a computer's attack surface.

    The actual assessment of an attack surface is far more complex than any single system, and there's a heavy user-education component that no automated tool can test. While I'm sure this will have some use for admins who don't run firewalls or are under typically-asinine requirements to describe in detail the impact of a package, it looks more useful for ensuring programs actually uninstall completely.

    • No safe and legal automated tool can test the user-education component...

      • Fair point. A few cruise missiles will automatically expose a significant denial-of-service attack surface.
        • Industrial robots without suitable safety interlocks are also pretty hard on careless or inattentive users, and much more productive!

    • It's not simply just some scans like that. It takes a snapshot before and after the installation of your product to show you any escalation opportunities you may have accidentally introduced. It is not intended to tell you an end users computer is safe, but rather that by installing your product you probably haven't made it any less safe.
  • IT Security Auditors can use the tool to evaluate the risk of a particular piece of software installed on the Windows platform during threat risk reviews ...
    The tool takes snapshots of the system before and after an application was installed, and compares them to identify changes made when new applications were installed. ...
    The tool also gives an overview of changes to the system that Microsoft considers important ...
    The tool analyzes changed or newly added files, registry keys, services, ActiveX Controls, listening ports, access control lists and other parameters.

    Analyzer does not appear to rely on signatures or try to exploit known vulnerabilities. Instead, it just looks at classes of security weaknesses where programs commonly fall short, or are exposed to attack vectors.

    This is for Windows only and it does not test applications for security problems, it looks at the entire system and how it is affected by the installation.

    • Re:For Windows (Score:5, Informative)

      by benjymouse ( 756774 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @10:00AM (#40894199)

      This is for Windows only and it does not test applications for security problems, it looks at the entire system and how it is affected by the installation.

      Hence, attack surface analyzer.

      The tool looks at the surface of a system (not an application) and analyzes how observable changes to that surface could impact security. For instance it will report that a new port is listening after an application has been installed, or it reports that a certain application phones home, or that the application relies on configuration files/installation/registry keys which may not have proper permissions set.

      • This sounds like a threat to the Integrity and Security of the DRM systems that protect our precious software... Probably some kind of hacker 'circumvention device'.

        Oh, you say it has a banal name and is released by a major vendor? Carry on then.

  • by drwho ( 4190 )

    already slashdotted. I think they need to work on scalability problems.

  • It's the Surface Tablet Computer with Frickin' Lasers!
  • Why would an application developer need this because why would an application developer need to be modifying the OS at all? That just sounds like really bad design.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      If that's the obvious question, you must know almost nothing about computers and/or software. Or your reading comprehension is gone missing.

      No one said anything about changing the OS.

      • Missed my point apparently, so let me clarify: why would any app (not a system extension) need to modify the system registry in Windows? Sounds like bad design to me.

  • I've seen lots of stuff about Microsoft's upcoming Surface, but it didn't look different enough from normal tablets to get me interested. But an Attack Surface could be exciting. Does anybody have a link to a picture of this thing?

    I imagine that it might be shaped something like a cricket bat with a shock resistant display on its blade. If so, that would be cool.

  • ...or when a security hole comes up, aside from it being Adobe or Java; isn't it a hole found by compromising the OS itself? This may be desktop/laptop only, but in my experience, when a flaw is discovered, it is usually the OS that is compromised and not a separate program. Yes, I am aware that there have been programs out there that are exploited. I am just saying that MOST of the time it is the OS. By most of the time, I mean like 90% or more. I could be wrong...correct me if I am.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      If it's a privilege escalation exploit, it's *always* the OS's fault. By definition.

  • After All (Score:2, Funny)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 )

    If anyone's going to know exploitable software, it's Microsoft.

  • I believe that whatever created even the most recently advanced one, finally It only focuses on how dominant they can play a rule in technology and others should raise their hats to show their respects on how they dominate this technology market..this is written as a salutation on how it inspires us on competing our business world on Furniture Jepara [tokojepara.com]...cheers....

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll