Article | September 9, 2022
2. Software Development and Secure Testing
3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing
“Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.” —James Bach.
Testing software is crucial for identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities. However, meeting quality standards for functionality and performance does not guarantee security. Thus, software testing nowadays is a must to identify and address
application security vulnerabilities to maintain the following:
Security of data history, databases, information, and servers
Customers’ integrity and trust
Web application protection from future attacks
VMs provide a flexible and isolated environment for software development and security testing. They offer easy replication of complex configurations and testing scenarios, allowing efficient issue resolution. VMs also provide secure testing by isolating applications from the host system and enabling a reset to a previous state. In addition, they facilitate DevOps practices and streamline the development workflow.
2. Software Development and Secure Testing
Software Secure Testing: The Approach
The following approaches must be considered while preparing and planning for security tests:
Architecture Study and Analysis: Understand whether the software meets the necessary requirements.
Threat Classification: List all potential threats and risk factors that must be tested.
Test Planning: Run the tests based on the identified threats, vulnerabilities, and security risks.
Testing Tool Identification: For software security testing tools for web applications, the developer must identify the relevant security tools to test the software for specific use cases.
Test-Case Execution: After performing a security test, the developer should fix it using any suitable open-source code or manually.
Reports: Prepare a detailed test report of the security tests performed, containing a list of the vulnerabilities, threats, and issues resolved and the ones that are still pending.
Ensuring the security of an application that handles essential functions is paramount. This may involve safeguarding databases against malicious attacks or implementing fraud detection mechanisms for incoming leads before integrating them into the platform.
Maintaining security is crucial throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) and must be at the forefront of developers' minds while executing the software's requirements. With consistent effort, the SDLC pipeline addresses security issues before deployment, reducing the risk of discovering application vulnerabilities while minimizing the damage they could cause.
A secure SDLC makes developers responsible for critical security. Developers need to be aware of potential security concerns at each step of the process. This requires integrating security into the SDLC in ways that were not needed before. As anyone can potentially access source code, coding with potential vulnerabilities in mind is essential. As such, having a robust and secure SDLC process is critical to ensuring applications are not subject to attacks by hackers.
3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing:
Snapshotting: Snapshotting allows developers to capture a VM's state at a specific point in time and restore it later. This feature is helpful for debugging and enables developers to roll back to a previous state when an error occurs. A virtual machine provides several operations for creating and managing snapshots and snapshot chains. These operations let users create snapshots, revert to any snapshots in the chain, and remove snapshots. In addition, extensive snapshot trees can be created to streamline the flow.
Virtual Networking: It allows virtual machines to be connected to virtual networks that simulate complex network topologies, allowing developers to test their applications in different network environments. This allows expanding data centers to cover multiple physical locations, gaining access to a plethora of more efficient options. This empowers them to effortlessly modify the network as per changing requirements without any additional hardware. Moreover, providing the network for specific applications and needs offers greater flexibility. Additionally, it enables workloads to be moved seamlessly across the network infrastructure without compromising on service, security, or availability.
Resource Allocation: VMs can be configured with specific resource allocations such as CPU, RAM, and storage, allowing developers to test their applications under different resource constraints. Maintaining a 1:1 ratio between the virtual machine processor and its host or core is highly recommended. It's crucial to refrain from over-subscribing virtual machine processors to a single core, as this could lead to stalled or delayed events, causing significant frustration and dissatisfaction among users. However, it is essential to acknowledge that IT administrators sometimes overallocate virtual machine processors. In such cases, a practical approach is to start with a 2:1 ratio and gradually move towards 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and so on while bringing virtual allocation into IT infrastructure. This approach ensures a safe and seamless transition towards optimized virtual resource allocation.
Containerization within VMs: Containerization within VMs provides an additional layer of isolation and security for applications. Enterprises are finding new use cases for VMs to utilize their in-house and cloud infrastructure to support heavy-duty application and networking workloads. This will also have a positive impact on the environment. DevOps teams use containerization with virtualization to improve software development flexibility. Containers allow multiple apps to run in one container with the necessary components, such as code, system tools, and libraries. For complex applications, both virtual machines and containers are used together. However, while containers are used for the front-end and middleware, VMs are used for the back-end.
VM Templates: VM templates are pre-configured virtual machines that can be used as a base for creating new virtual machines, making it easier to set up development and testing environments. A VM template is an image of a virtual machine that serves as a master copy. It includes VM disks, virtual devices, and settings. By using a VM template, cloning a virtual machine multiple times can be achieved. When you clone a VM from a template, the clones are independent and not linked to the template. VM templates are handy when a large number of similar VMs need to be deployed. They preserve VM consistency. To edit a template, convert it to a VM, make the necessary changes, and then convert the edited VM back into a new template.
Remote Access: VMs can be accessed remotely, allowing developers and testers to collaborate more effectively from anywhere worldwide. To manage a virtual machine, follow these steps: enable remote access, connect to the virtual machine, and then access the VNC or serial console. Once connected, full permission to manage the virtual machine is granted with the user's approval. Remote access provides a secure way to access VMs, as connections can be encrypted and authenticated to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, remote access allows for easier management of VMs, as administrators can monitor and control virtual machines from a central location.
DevOps Integration: DevOps is a collection of practices, principles, and tools that allow a team to release software quickly and efficiently. Virtualization is vital in DevOps when developing intricate cloud, API, and SOA systems. Virtual machines enable teams to simulate environments for creating, testing, and launching code, ultimately preserving computing resources.
While commencing a bug search at the API layer, teams find that virtual machines are suitable for test-driven development (TDD). Virtualization providers handle updates, freeing up DevOps teams, to focus on other areas and increasing productivity by 50 –60%. In addition, VMs allow for simultaneous testing of multiple release and patch levels, improving product compatibility and interoperability.
The outlook for virtual machine applications is highly promising in the development and testing fields. With the increasing complexity of development and testing processes, VMs can significantly simplify and streamline these operations. In the future, VMs are expected to become even more versatile and potent, providing developers and testers with a broader range of tools and capabilities to facilitate the development process.
One potential future development is integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into VMs. This would enable VMs to automate various tasks, optimize the allocation of resources, and generate recommendations based on performance data. Moreover, VMs may become more agile and lightweight, allowing developers and testers to spin up and spin down instances with greater efficiency.
The future of VM applications for software development and security testing looks bright, with continued innovation and development expected to provide developers and testers with even more powerful and flexible tools to improve the software development process.
Virtual Desktop Strategies
Article | July 26, 2022
Network virtualization has emerged as the widely recommended solution for the networking paradigm's future. Virtualization has the potential to revolutionize networks in addition to providing a cost-effective, flexible, and secure means of communication.
Network virtualization isn't an all-or-nothing concept. It can help several organizations with differing requirements, or it can provide a bunch of new advantages for a single enterprise. It is the process of combining a network's physical hardware into a single, virtual network. This is often accomplished by running several virtual guest machines in software containers on a single physical host system.
Network virtualization is indeed the new gold standard for networking, and it is being embraced by enterprises of all kinds globally. By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and lay the groundwork for future growth.
Network virtualization also enables organizations to simulate traditional hardware like servers, storage devices, and network resources. The physical network performs basic tasks like packet forwarding, while virtual versions handle more complex activities like networking service management and deployment.
Addressing Network Virtualization Challenges
Surprisingly, IT teams might encounter network virtualization challenges that are both technical and non-technical in nature. Let's look at some common challenges and discuss how to overcome them.
Change in Network Architecture
Practically, the first big challenge is shifting from an architecture that depends heavily on routers, switches, and firewalls. Instead, these services are detached from conventional hardware and put on hypervisors that virtualize these operations. Virtualized network services are shared, scaled, and moved as required.
Migrating current LANs and data centers to a virtualized platform require careful planning. This migration involves the following tasks:
Determine how much CPU, computation, and storage resources will be required to run virtualized network services.
Determine the optimal approach for integrating network resilience and security services.
Determine how the virtualized network services will be implemented in stages to avoid disrupting business operations.
The key to a successful migration is meticulous preparation by architects who understand the business's network requirements. This involves a thorough examination of existing apps and services, as well as a clear knowledge of how data should move across the company most effectively.
Moreover, a progressive approach to relocation is often the best solution. In this instance, IT teams can make changes to the virtualization platform without disrupting the whole corporate network.
Network virtualization has the potential to considerably expand the number of logical technology layers that must collaborate. As a result, traditional network and data center monitoring technologies no longer have insight into some of these abstracted levels. In other circumstances, visibility can be established, but the tools fail to show the information correctly so that network operators can understand it. In either case, deploying and managing modern network visibility technologies is typically the best choice. When an issue arises, NetOps personnel are notified of the specific service layer.
Automation and AI
The enhanced level of automation and self-service operations that can be built into a platform is a fundamental aspect of network virtualization. While these activities can considerably increase the pace of network upgrades while decreasing management overhead, they need the documentation and implementation of a new set of standards and practices. Understand that prior network architectures were planned and implemented utilizing actual hardware appliances on a hop-by-hop basis. A virtualized network, on the other hand, employs a centralized control plane to govern and push policies to all sections of the network. Changes may occur more quickly in this aspect, but various components must be coordinated to accomplish their roles in harmony.
As a result, network teams should move their attention away from network operations that are already automated. Rather, their new responsibility is to guarantee that the core automation processes and AI are in sync in order to fulfill those automated tasks.
Driving Competitive Edge with Network Virtualization
Virtualization in networking or virtual machines within an organization is not a new trend. Even small and medium businesses have realized the benefits of network virtualization, especially when combined with a hosted cloud service provider. Because of this, the demand for enterprise network virtualization is rising, driving higher end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business tools. These network virtualization benefits can help boost business growth and gain a competitive edge.
Gaining a Competitive Edge: Network Virtualization Benefits
Cost-Savings on Hardware
Faster Desktop and Server Provisioning and Deployment
Improved Data Security and Disaster Recovery
Increasing IT Operational Efficiency
Small Footprint and Energy Saving
Network Virtualization: The Path to Digital Transformation
Business is at the center of digital transformation, but technology is needed to make it happen. Integrated clouds, highly modern data centers, digital workplaces, and increased data center security are all puzzle pieces, and putting them all together requires a variety of various products and services that are deployed cohesively.
The cloud revolution is still having an influence on IT, transforming how digital content is consumed and delivered. This should come as no surprise that such a shift has influenced how we feel about current networking. When it boils down to it, the purpose of digital transformation for every company, irrespective of industry, is the same: to boost the speed with which you can respond to market changes and evolving business needs; to enhance your ability to embrace and adapt to new technology, and to improve overall security. As businesses realize that the underlying benefit of cloud adoption and enhanced virtualization isn't simply about cost savings, digital strategies are evolving, becoming more intelligent and successful in the process.
Network virtualization is also a path toward the smooth digital transformation of any business.
How does virtualization help in accelerating digital transformation?
Combining public and private clouds, involving hardware-based computing, storage, and networking software definition. A hyper-converged infrastructure that integrates unified management with virtualized computing, storage, and networking could be included.
Creating a platform for greater productivity by providing the apps and services consumers require when and when they utilize them. This should include simplifying application access and administration as well as unifying endpoint management.
Improving network security and enhancing security flexibility to guarantee that quicker speed to market is matched by tighter security.
Virtualization will also help businesses to move more quickly and safely, bringing products—and profits—to market faster.
Enhancing Security with Network Virtualization
Security has evolved as an essential component of every network architecture. However, since various areas of the network are often segregated from one another, it might be challenging for network teams to design and enforce network virtualization security standards that apply to the whole network.
Zero trust can integrate such network parts and their accompanying virtualization activities. Throughout the network, the zero-trust architecture depends on the user and device authentication. If LAN users wish to access data center resources, they must first be authenticated.
The secure connection required for endpoints to interact safely is provided by a zero-trust environment paired with network virtualization. To facilitate these interactions, virtual networks can be ramped up and down while retaining the appropriate degree of traffic segmentation.
Access policies, which govern which devices can connect with one another, are a key part of this process. If a device is allowed to access a data center resource, the policy should be understood at both the WAN and campus levels.
Some of the core network virtualization security features are:
Isolation and multitenancy are critical features of network virtualization.
Segmentation is related to isolation; however it is utilized in a multitier virtual network.
A network virtualization platform's foundation includes firewalling technologies that enable segmentation inside virtual networks.
Network virtualization enables automatic provisioning and context-sharing across virtual and physical security systems.
Investigating the Role of Virtualization in Cloud Computing
Virtualization in the cloud computing domain refers to the development of virtual resources (such as a virtual server, virtual storage device, virtual network switch, or even a virtual operating system) from a single resource of its type that also shows up as several personal isolated resources or environments that users can use as a separate individual physical resource.
Virtualization enables the benefits of cloud computing, such as ease of scaling up, security, fluid or flexible resources, and so on. If another server is necessary, a virtual server will be immediately created, and a new server will be deployed. When we need more memory, we increase the virtual server configurations we currently have, and we now have the extra RAM we need. As a result, virtualization is the underlying technology of the cloud computing business model.
The Benefits of Virtualization in Cloud Computing:
Efficient hardware utilization
Virtualization improves availability
Disaster recovery is quick and simple
Energy is saved by virtualization
Setup is quick and simple
Cloud migration has become simple
Motivating Factors for the Adoption of Network Virtualization
Demand for enterprise networks continues to climb, owing to rising end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business software. Thanks to network virtualization, IT companies are gaining the ability to respond to shifting demands and match their networking capabilities with their virtualized storage and computing resources. In fact, according to a recent SDxCentral report, 88% of respondents believe it is "important" or "mission critical" to implement a network virtualization software over the next two to five years.
Virtualization is also an excellent alternative for businesses that employ outsourced IT services, are planning mergers or acquisitions or must segregate IT teams owing to regulatory compliance.
Reasons to Adopt Network Virtualization:
A Business Needs Speed
Security Requirements Are Rising
Apps can Move Around
IT Automation and Orchestration
Reduce Hardware Dependency and CapEx: Adopt Multi-Tenancy Cloud
Network virtualization and cloud computing are emerging technologies of the future. As CIOs get actively involved in organizational systems, these new concepts will be implemented in more businesses. As consumer demand for real-time services expands, businesses will be driven to explore network virtualization as the best way to take their networks to the next level. The networking future is here.
Why is network virtualization important for business?
By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and set the stage for future growth.
Where is network virtualization used?
Network virtualization can be utilized in application development and testing to simulate hardware and system software realistically. Network virtualization in application performance engineering allows for the modeling of connections among applications, services, dependencies, and end users for software testing.
How does virtualization work in cloud computing?
Virtualization, in short, enables cloud providers to provide users alongside existing physical computer infrastructure. As a simple and direct process, it allows cloud customers to buy only the computing resources they require when they want them and to maintain those resources cost-effectively as the demand grows.
Article | May 17, 2023
It is no surprise that e-commerce has grown dramatically in recent years. I don't want to be boring, but certainly the pandemic and a few other market factors have had a role.
From ancient times, marketplaces of all shapes and sizes have served as the foundation for all types of business. As the world transforms and becomes more digital, the rise of digital marketplaces, e-commerce, and other types of online business is exploding.
E-commerce marketplace platforms are rapidly expanding in the digital environment and are expected to acquire momentum as the future of e-commerce. This increase is because of the fact that online marketplaces combine user demand and provide customers with a broader selection of products.
Digital Marketplaces Are the Way to the Future of E-Commerce
Without a doubt, online marketplaces will dominate the e-commerce business in the coming years. According to Coresight Research, marketplace platform revenue will more than double, reaching around $40 billion in 2022. This means that by 2022,
online marketplaces will account for 67% of worldwide e-Commerce revenues (Forrester).
Today, the issue is not whether you sell online but how far you can reach.
E-commerce offers limitless opportunities, and all you need to do is keep pace with the trends. What are you doing right now? How far can you go? Have you already made the transition from local to global?
Digital marketplaces are indeed the way of the future of e-commerce. The earlier you realize this and integrate it into your sales and marketing approach, the better. I really mean it.
The world is changing, and your competitors are not sleeping. You cannot overlook this trend if you really want to stay ahead.
It's all about the people in business, as it has always been. Understanding who you're pitching to is critical to your success. You should be aware. Everything you do in business should get you closer to your target audience.
Digital marketplaces are indeed the future of commerce. People will inevitably start shopping online even more in the future. That implies methods and means will be developed to make such transactions easier for the common individual. Explore how your business might profit from these markets and trends that suggest the future of physical and online shopping.
Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors
Article | June 8, 2023
2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing
3. Metasploit Penetration Test
4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business?
5. Closing remarks
Metasploitable refers to an intentionally vulnerable virtual machine that enables the learning and practice of Metasploit. Metasploit is one of the best penetration testing frameworks that helps businesses discover and shore up their systems' vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them.
Security engineers use Metasploit as a penetration testing system and a development platform that allows the creation of security tools and exploits. Metasploit's various user interfaces, libraries, tools, and modules allow users to configure an exploit module, pair it with a payload, point it at a target, and launch it at the target system. In addition, Metasploit's extensive database houses hundreds of exploits and several payload options.
2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing
An ethical hacker is one who works within a security framework and checks for bugs that a malicious hacker might use to exploit networks. They use their experience and skills to render the cyber environment. To protect the infrastructure from the threat that hackers pose, ethical hacking is essential. The main purpose of an ethical hacking service is to report and assess the safety of the targeted systems and networks for the owner. Ethical hacking is performed with penetration test techniques to evaluate security loopholes.
There are many techniques used to hack information, such as –
Ethical hacking involves automatic methods. The hacking process without automated software is inefficient and time-consuming. There are several tools and methods that can be used for ethical hacking and penetration testing. The Metasploit framework eases the effort to exploit vulnerabilities in networks, operating systems, and applications and generates new exploits for new or unknown vulnerabilities.
3. Metasploit Penetration Test
Reconnaissance: Integrate Metasploit with various reconnaissance tools to find the vulnerable spot in the system.
Threat Modeling and Vulnerability Identification: Once a weakness is identified, choose an exploit and payload for penetration.
Exploitation: The payload gets executed at the target if the exploit, a tool used to take advantage of system weakness, is successful, and the user gets a shell for interacting with the payload (a shellcode is a small piece of code used as the payload).The most popular payload, a set of malicious codes to attack Windows systems, is Meterpreter, an in-memory-only interactive shell. (Meterpreter is a Metasploit attack payload that provides an interactive shell for the attacker to explore the target machine and execute code.)Other payloads are:
Static payloads (it enables port forwarding and communications between networks)
Dynamic payloads (to evade antivirus software, it allows testers to generate unique payloads)
Command shell payloads (enables users to run scripts or commands against a host)
Post-Exploitation: Metasploit offers various exploitation tools for privilege escalation, packet sniffing, keyloggers, screen capture, and pivoting tools once on the target machine.
Resolution and Re-Testing: Users set up a persistent backdoor if the target machine gets rebooted.
These available features in Metasploit make it easy to configure as per the user's requirements.
4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business?
Significant advantages of the Metasploit Framework are discussed below:
Open-source: Metasploit Framework is actively developed as open-source software, so most companies prefer this to grow their businesses.
Easy usage: It is very easy to use, defining an easy-naming conversation with the commands. This also facilitates the building of an extensive penetration test of the network.
GUI Environment: It mainly provides third-party instances that are friendly. These interfaces ease the penetration testing projects by providing the facilities with services such as button clicks, over-the-fly vulnerability management, and easy-to-shift workspaces, among others.
Cleaner Exits: Metasploit can cleanly exit without detection, even if the target system does not restart after a penetration test. Additionally, it offers various options for maintaining persistent access to the target system.
Easy Switching Between Payloads: Metasploit allows testers to change payloads with the 'setpayload' command easily. It offers flexibility for system penetration through shell-based access or meterpreter.
5. Closing remarks
From DevSecOps experts to hackers, everyone uses the Ruby-based open-source framework Metasploit, which allows testing via command-line alterations or GUI. Metasploitable is a vulnerable virtual machine ideally used for ethical hacking and penetration testing, in VM security.
One trend likely to impact the future of Metasploitable is the increasing use of cloud-based environments for testing and production. It is possible that Metasploitable could be adapted to work in cloud environments or that new tools will be developed specifically for cloud-based penetration testing. Another trend that may impact the future of Metasploitable is the growing importance of automation in security testing. Thus, Metasploitable could be adapted to include more automation features.
The future of Metasploitable looks bright as it continues to be a valuable tool for security professionals and enthusiasts. As the security landscape continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Metasploitable adapts to meet the community's changing needs.