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Scanning with ISS. Security-SIG 15 December 2005 David Taylor & John Lupton ISC Information Security. ISC/Information Security. ISS - Internet Security Scanner. Commercial product of Internet Security Systems

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Scanning with ISS

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scanning with iss

Scanning with ISS


15 December 2005

David Taylor & John Lupton

ISC Information Security

ISC/Information Security

iss internet security scanner
ISS - Internet Security Scanner
  • Commercial product of Internet Security Systems
  • Provides Windows-based scanning for vulnerabilities on hosts running all major PC operating systems
    • Windows
    • Mac OS X
    • Unix/Linux

ISC/Information Security

which windows
Which Windows?
  • Dave Taylor sez…
    • Windows 2000 or above, BUT…
    • Win 2003 and XP/SP2 have been problematic
    • Win 2000 or XP/SP1 seem to work best

ISC/Information Security

who s allowed to scan
Who’s Allowed to Scan?
  • Anyone is permitted to scan their own system
  • Penn Sysadmins and LSP’s are permitted to scan IP addresses/ranges for which they have responsibility

ISC/Information Security

scanning etiquette
Scanning Etiquette
  • The “Golden Rule”…you don’t appreciate someone else scanning your addresses without your knowledge or permission, right?
  • “Let My People Know”…unless there’s a good reason to keep it secret, tell your users when you will be scanning, and from which IP address

ISC/Information Security

  • If you are scanning from inside a firewall, you will need to disable it to prevent problems with scan accuracy
  • If your target(s) is/are behind a firewall, you will need to:
    • Disable the firewall during the scan, OR
    • Locate the scanning system inside the firewall

ISC/Information Security

downloading installing iss
Downloading & Installing ISS
  • Go to
  • Set up an account (necessary, but free)
  • Sign in to the Download Center
  • Search for Internet Scanner 7.0 SP2
    • Allows installation of SQL desktop engine as part of single installation
    • Dave sez: older versions require separate installations, and are “a pain in the bootie”.
  • Click on colored “FULL INSTALLS” tab
  • Download file (there’s only one) and install as per instructions

ISC/Information Security

ok what next
OK, what next?…
  • The software “as is” will allow scanning of the localhost (
  • To scan other hosts, you need to obtain and install a “key”
  • Send email to security@isc - we will “cut” you a key and transmit it to you, along with instructions how to import it into ISS

ISC/Information Security

ISC/Information Security

installing updates
Installing Updates
  • After installing the ISS application, update the scanning modules by running “X-Press Update Install”
    • Located in ‘Start’ menu
    • Go to Starbucks…it will take a while
  • Once the updated modules have been installed, you’re ready to roll

ISC/Information Security

ISC/Information Security

scanning credentials
Scanning Credentials
  • From a stand-alone, non-domain system:
    • Results similar to what outside hacker could see
  • From a standard domain user account:
    • Results similar to what other domain users could see
  • From a Domain Administrator account:
    • Results will show much more detail, e.g. patch level

ISC/Information Security

set up a session
Set Up a Session
  • From ‘Start’ Menu…
    • Create a new session
    • Choose a template, OR start with a blank session and construct your own new policy
    • Give it a name, and click ‘OK’
    • Edit the policy and select your scan target(s)
  • Be Aware!…Plugins for Destructive Denial of Service vulnerabilities may cause a remote system to become unresponsive - or crash altogether

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set up a session cont
Set Up a Session (cont.)
  • Save the policy and close the Policy Editor
  • Select the policy, then name the session
  • Enter a host range, or load from a list
    • Remember the “Golden Rule” - don’t scan anyone’s space but your own

ISC/Information Security

ISC/Information Security

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to ping or not to ping
To Ping, or not to Ping?
  • You have an option to “ping” the hosts in your target range before the scan is performed
  • Many hosts are configured to block all ICMP activity, but can still be scanned
  • Generally better to NOT use the “ping” option
    • Scans take longer, but are usually more accurate
    • If hosts you know are present return “unreachable”:
      • Use ‘Tools->Session Properties’ and choose ‘Scan Always’
      • Forces ISS to run all modules in the policy

ISC/Information Security

running the scan
Running the Scan
  • Let ‘er rip…
  • Go to Starbucks again

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result reports
Result Reports
  • Results can be presented in several escalating levels, e.g.:
    • Executive summary
    • Technically detailed, with step-by-step mitigation procedures
  • Need help? Write to us at security@isc

ISC/Information Security

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useful links
Useful Links
  • Download:
  • Support:
  • Plug-in Info:
  • SANS Internet Storm Center:
  • SANS@Risk:
  • French Security Incident Response Team (known for releasing Zero-Day Advisories):
  • Metasploit:

ISC/Information Security