Core Security updates penetration-testing software

Host-based software lets security managers test employee susceptibility to phishing scams

Core Security Technologies Monday announced it has updated its host-based penetration-testing software with a feature that lets security managers test how susceptible employees might be to phishing scams.

Core Security's Core Impact agent software conducts host-based penetration tests on desktops and servers based on known vulnerabilities. Version 6.2 includes a way to emulate an e-mail phishing attack to determine how susceptible employees may be to this type of ruse.

"It lets you assess how prepared you are against these attacks," says Max Caceres, director of product management at Core Security. The software has templates to simulate spear phishing and other malicious e-mail-based attacks, and it records the effect for review.

"We'd be interested in that," says Andre Gold, director of information security at Continental Airlines, which for three years has used Core Impact to evaluate the security status of internal computers.

Other new features in Core Impact 6.2 include a way to run a system shell from the in-memory agent and the option of configuring the agent to survive system restarts when penetration tests last more than one day.

Gold says in Continental's experience, it's possible to run Core Impact's host-based penetration tests without unwanted disruption while computers are in use.

Another Core Impact customer, Bermuda-based insurance company Scottish Re, says it uses the software to run a vulnerability assessment without interfering in typical work use.

"We run it once or twice a week," says Mark Odiorne, Scottish Re's CISO. The Core Impact agent software resides on about 300 servers and 500 desktops at Scottish Re. Odiorne says he usually doesn't announce to network and security staff that scans will run and simply presents the reported results to emphasize the need for remediation, if necessary.

Core Impact software starts at US$25,000.

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