Translations & Explanations

Readers need a certain amount of technical background to get the most out of this. The only resource I have is a white paper (.PDF) I wrote to help explain things to customers. The document does mention a non-free product I work on but it’s largely tool agnostic. Insider Insight: There is scary variation in level of knowledge for people getting paid to do security work.

I have no idea if my definitions for these words are standard for anyone else.

Target – the host you’re trying to exploit

Exploit – A piece of software written to leverage one or more vulnerabilities to achieve an action chosen by an attacker.

Exploitation – Successful execution of a payload by way of one or more software vulnerabilities.

Payload – What an exploit does when it wins. Start a listening local shell, call back to home over DNS, etc.

Target Setting – You have an exploit for a vulnerability that affects multiple versions of an operating system. Prior to launching the exploit you have to select which OS the exploit will effect. The options for selection are collectively referred to as target settings. There may be a better term/word for this.

Callback – A type of payload where the exploited machine will initiate a connection to a separate host of the attacker’s choosing. This could call back to the attacker directly or a third machine the attacker controls. The connection type can happen (in theory) over any protocol, use encryption, or even be ‘out of band’ if conditions are right.

Post Exploitation Action – Any action taken after the successful execution of the exploit payload. Take a screengrab of the exploited host, pilfer SSH keys, get password hashes, etc.

Attack Surface – The end result of the reconnaissance phase of an engagement. You’re looking for the maximum number of hosts, applications, networks and people you can attack to achieve your goal.

Type these into Wikipedia for detailed answers, examples are free and commercial products in that line.

AV – Anti Virus (Ex: Norman, Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, etc)

IDS/IPS – Intrusion Detection System / Intrusion Prevention System (Ex: Snort, Tipping Point, Bro, etc.)

HIDS/HIPS – Host Intrusion Detection System / Host Intrusion Prevention System (Ex: Astaro, most AV companies)

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