Re: Pen-Test as a favor

On Jul 12, 2006, at 8:49 PM, Chris Benedict wrote:
Hey, I'm working as an IT intern in a doctors office and I got permission to do a little pen-testing on their servers on my own time. How necessary would it be to get written permission before I take any action? The Admin/CTO is a pretty good friend and I doubt would even consider taking any legal action if anything happened.

Gee, what's the worst that could happen?

I guess you could try to pen-test a live db server, get it stuck in a loop, and accidentally have the office bill the government for several million dollars, which then results in a fraud conviction, and prison time....

Or maybe a live prescription verification system could go down, resulting in people not getting their prescriptions in time, resulting in their deaths, millions of dollars in civil lawsuits, and possible homicide charges, resulting in long prison terms....

How good of a friend did you say he was?

Would you say he's willing to spend 20 years in jail for you? 30? How about a Death Penalty sentence, or commit suicide rather than reveal *your* name as the person who accidentally killed several hundred patients?

You see. written legal documents are not created for the best case scenario, they are created for the worst case.

OTOH, you're not pen-testing, oh, a nuclear weapons lab, so it's somewhat unlikely you'll actually kill *millions* of people, which should help shorten the legal document somewhat. :-)

So, how *does* one pen-test such a sensitive environment?

1. Ghost/mirror the drives.
2. Create an artificial network of the needed machines *WITH NO PHYSICAL CABLES, OR WIRELESS ACCESS, TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD* for testing.
3. Test away.
4. *Destroy all data on the drives after testing*, or just feed them into a industrial grinder, to ensure that batch jobs never execute if the drive is used in the future a real world machine.

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