Search

EMERGENCE OF AN IT AUDITOR

The rapid dissemination of Technology in almost every facet of our lives has not only made it easier but has also made us heavily dependent on Information systems. From bank transfers, mobile recharges to automation of manufacturing process, we rely on the efficiency, effectiveness and security of these Information systems to a very large extent. This increasing dependence has also resulted in the greater risk of data privacy, system shutdown and personal data loss, directly impacting the brand image and revenue of the companies and individuals. The most recent example can be considered of ‘Wannacry’ ransomware which struck across the globe in May 2017, affecting thousands of computers in 150 countries with a total impact of anticipated to be around 4 Billion USD. These attacks have forced the companies to beef up their defenses resulting in the manifold increase in demand for IT auditors An IT auditor is the person responsible for identifying the risk across the company networks, information systems and also developing and implementing strategies to mitigate the same. The primary objectives of an IT auditor is to perform assessment of the systems and processes  that secure company data, determining and mitigating risks to information assets of the company, ensuring that the processes are in compliance with relevant policies, standards and regulations. Required Qualifications Typically an IT auditor has a bachelor degree Computer Science or Accounting that provides technical knowledge to perform responsibilities. Additionally, the auditor should possess strong communication skills that will allow him/her to understand and translate the technical information into business language for higher management therefore supporting them in taking appropriate business decisions. Lastly, there are several certifications available (depending on the areas of specialization) that can help individuals secure employment. One of the most common and widely respected certification is the Certified Information Security Auditor or CISA that provides in-depth knowledge enabling one to effectively deal with challenges in this constantly evolving field of Information Security. The certification is managed by ISACA which is a global non-profit professional association that is focused on IT Governance. It is one of the toughest exams in the Information Security domain and is notorious for having a low pass-rate of 40-50%. So, what makes CISA such a tough nut to crack? Some of the reasons are: The questions asked in the exam are subjective and ambiguous in nature thereby making it difficult for the candidate to select the correct option. The difficulty level of sample questions provided by ISACA is not aligned to the high standard of questions asked in the actual examination Some of the important tips that you need to consider before starting the preparation for CISA exam are as follows: CISA Review Manual CISA Review Manual (CRM) provided by ISACA should be your Bible and one-stop guide for the preparation. This manual provides all the details related to the CISA exam as well as defines the roles and responsibilities of an Information Systems auditor. Explore E-learning Options There are many organizations that provide CISA certification training courses both online as well as classroom. It is highly recommended that you participate in a comprehensive training course that not only involves session learning but also allows you to interact with security professionals from across the globe. One of the world’s leading professional certification training provider is KnowledgeHut that offers CISA training with a blend of both classroom and online training sessions. Plan your Schedule Planning the schedule for preparation of CISA exam should be done well-in advance to avoid any last minute hassle. Schedule and plan should be prepared based on your professional background and level of experience. For example, if you are working professional with Extensive experience, 30-45 days of time should be enough, however if you an aspirant with no relevant experience, you may even need more than 180 days for preparation. Free Resources available on Internet There are several free resources available on ISACA that can be helpful for the aspirants. Some of them are: The ISACA Candidate Information Guide ISACA’s CISA self-assessment test Database of free-to-download whitepapers Additionally, there are many insightful articles on Knowledgehut that provide a lot of relevant and valuable information which you can take advantage of. Hope this information helped in your journey to become a successful IT Auditor. Please leave your comments below to share your feedbacks and success stories.

EMERGENCE OF AN IT AUDITOR

309
EMERGENCE OF AN IT AUDITOR

The rapid dissemination of Technology in almost every facet of our lives has not only made it easier but has also made us heavily dependent on Information systems. From bank transfers, mobile recharges to automation of manufacturing process, we rely on the efficiency, effectiveness and security of these Information systems to a very large extent. This increasing dependence has also resulted in the greater risk of data privacy, system shutdown and personal data loss, directly impacting the brand image and revenue of the companies and individuals. The most recent example can be considered of ‘Wannacry’ ransomware which struck across the globe in May 2017, affecting thousands of computers in 150 countries with a total impact of anticipated to be around 4 Billion USD. These attacks have forced the companies to beef up their defenses resulting in the manifold increase in demand for IT auditors

An IT auditor is the person responsible for identifying the risk across the company networks, information systems and also developing and implementing strategies to mitigate the same.

The primary objectives of an IT auditor is to perform assessment of the systems and processes  that secure company data, determining and mitigating risks to information assets of the company, ensuring that the processes are in compliance with relevant policies, standards and regulations.

Required Qualifications

Typically an IT auditor has a bachelor degree Computer Science or Accounting that provides technical knowledge to perform responsibilities. Additionally, the auditor should possess strong communication skills that will allow him/her to understand and translate the technical information into business language for higher management therefore supporting them in taking appropriate business decisions.

Lastly, there are several certifications available (depending on the areas of specialization) that can help individuals secure employment. One of the most common and widely respected certification is the Certified Information Security Auditor or CISA that provides in-depth knowledge enabling one to effectively deal with challenges in this constantly evolving field of Information Security. The certification is managed by ISACA which is a global non-profit professional association that is focused on IT Governance.

It is one of the toughest exams in the Information Security domain and is notorious for having a low pass-rate of 40-50%. So, what makes CISA such a tough nut to crack? Some of the reasons are:

  • The questions asked in the exam are subjective and ambiguous in nature thereby making it difficult for the candidate to select the correct option.
  • The difficulty level of sample questions provided by ISACA is not aligned to the high standard of questions asked in the actual examination

Some of the important tips that you need to consider before starting the preparation for CISA exam are as follows:

CISA Review Manual

CISA Review Manual (CRM) provided by ISACA should be your Bible and one-stop guide for the preparation. This manual provides all the details related to the CISA exam as well as defines the roles and responsibilities of an Information Systems auditor.

Explore E-learning Options

There are many organizations that provide CISA certification training courses both online as well as classroom. It is highly recommended that you participate in a comprehensive training course that not only involves session learning but also allows you to interact with security professionals from across the globe.

One of the world’s leading professional certification training provider is KnowledgeHut that offers CISA training with a blend of both classroom and online training sessions.

Plan your Schedule

Planning the schedule for preparation of CISA exam should be done well-in advance to avoid any last minute hassle. Schedule and plan should be prepared based on your professional background and level of experience. For example, if you are working professional with Extensive experience, 30-45 days of time should be enough, however if you an aspirant with no relevant experience, you may even need more than 180 days for preparation.

Free Resources available on Internet

There are several free resources available on ISACA that can be helpful for the aspirants. Some of them are:

  • The ISACA Candidate Information Guide
  • ISACA’s CISA self-assessment test
  • Database of free-to-download whitepapers

Additionally, there are many insightful articles on Knowledgehut that provide a lot of relevant and valuable information which you can take advantage of.

Hope this information helped in your journey to become a successful IT Auditor. Please leave your comments below to share your feedbacks and success stories.

Jai

Jai Sisodia

Blog Author

Jai is a customer-focused Risk professional, highly experienced in value based Enterprise Risk Management and IT Audit. He has built a reputation for his strong ability to contribute to organisational development across a career spread over 3 years. His experience in the field of Enterprise Risk Management expands to multiple Fortune -500 clients spread across diverse verticals such as Healthcare, Consumer & Industrial Products, Telecommunication Marketing & Technology industries and multiple geographies including US, UK, Philippines, India and Canada. He is an MBA and BTech by qualification and also has professional certifications such CISA, ITIL V3 under his purview."

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

How To Clear CEH in First Attempt?

Cybercrime and hacking attacks are doubling year on year. Not just corporate giants and government entities, but even small scale companies and start-ups are afraid of being victims of cyber theft. Organizations may face major losses not just in their profits but also loss of reputation, data, and customers. Therefore, almost all organizations want to keep their data and privacy of their customers safe from cyber criminals. These organizations spend a fortune on implementing robust technology architecture and on hiring professionals who can identify loopholes in the cyber security systems and patch them up before hackers can get through. These professionals, known as ethical hackers or white hat hackers, can help organizations protect their assets (people, process, and technology) from cybercriminals.Why CEH? The exponential rise in data, and our dependence on virtual systems has also consequently raised attacks from cyber criminals and data breaches. This has made the role of the ethical hacker among the most important job roles in these times. There is a huge demand for cybersecurity experts in almost all types of businesses. To hire security experts, organizations have some basic or minimum benchmarks set. These security experts are expected to have a good understanding of security concepts, and knowledge of the latest tools, processes, and frameworks so that they can be one step ahead of cyber criminals and prevent data breach.  This is where certifications such as the CEH - Certified Ethical Hacker by EC-Council comes into play. The CEH is the most comprehensive program for ethical hackers as it covers the latest hacking trends and familiarises professionals with the technologies that will help prevent data breaches. This international accreditation is recognised world over, so no matter where you are, your skills and knowledge will be considered valid by all organizations, anywhere in the world. To defeat the hacker, you need to think like a hacker. This program is all about developing the hacker mindset but in an ethical way. Once you are ready to jump into this, passing the CEH exam is your 1st milestone in your career. In this article, we will learn how to become a certified ethical hacker in the very first attempt, for which hard work and dedication are highly recommended.  Preparation Steps We will discuss here the 5 steps to prepare for CEH certification.  1. Plan the training Once you decide to achieve the certification, you need a concrete plan for training as well as practice. Choose the best source for training. We highly recommend choosing offline classroom training if you are a student or novice in cybersecurity. Usually, you can complete training in 3-4 months or less.  The reason we recommend an offline course is that meeting other like-minded learners and professionals will help you  develop the ethical hacker mindset. You can get in touch with proper mentors, people with similar mind-sets and take advantage of group study which can reveal many unknown issues, incidents, and examples. Of course, this will cost you more but you can’t learn to swim without getting wet.2. Get your hands dirty – Practice! The plus point of the latest version of CEH v11 is that it is more focused,  practical based and scenario-based with the latest content that equips students with hands-on skills. Remember, security is all about practice and implementation rather than a bunch of documents and do’s and don’ts checklist. In the course of gaining the credential you will learn about methods and tools that you can use to protect the organization such as security implementations, testing, and monitoring. Just bookish knowledge won’t help there. We recommend that spending at least 2 hours daily practice apart from training will improve your skills dramatically.3. Study Guides  While we did mention above not to be bookish, books are a treasure trove of knowledge and even for clearing the CEH you must do a thorough read of the recommended books.  You can religiously follow study guides and clear your concept on every topic in a very descriptive manner. This will answer all your “What and Why” in terms of cybersecurity and ethical hacking. Of course, this is world-class content and therefore you will get exact definitions, descriptions, and diagrams for almost all topics. We recommend studying at least 1 hour daily to get clear on all topics during the training.  4. Study groups - Community Study groups will polish your knowledge and skills for CEH topics. There are many study groups you can join where you can resolve your queries, clear your doubts, take help to learn something, and help others too. This will help you to stay in the company of like-minded people and you will get to learn fast.  However, it is recommended not to share any personal/sensitive information. Beware of any unknown person who asks for sensitive information like your IP address, location, personal information, or anything apart from CEH courseware.   We recommend making a study group with the people you know who are also attempting the exam. You can take the help of your trainer or mentor to manage this group. Be active and participate in group activities like quizzes or group discussions. 5. Self-assessment Keep learning is the key element of CEH training. Brush up your knowledge for the exam perspective as that is your main goal to become certified. For this, you need to learn how to give the exam and what type of questions are asked. For a second, let’s imagine the scenario of a war. If a new trainee soldier having knowledge of arms and wearing his 15 kgs protective suit jumped into the warzone, do you think he can fight better and save the lives of others without having any practice? Probably not, because he is unaware of war scenarios, combat methods, and ways of attack and defense in real war zones where the situation is uncertain. The same concept applies to CEH exams. You may face a lot of weird-looking or twisted or tricky questions with confusing multiple answers. Therefore, once you are done with your CEH training and you have knowledge of all topics, you need to test it like a mock drill of the war zone.There are many sources available where you can practice the exam questions. This platform will help you to understand the methods to ace the exam questions, and complete them within the required timeframe. Here we are sharing some links to practice for your exams. ( Note: We do not promote any website or any platform here. These links are shared to help students find good options for studying.) CEH ASSESSMENT- EC-CouncilEC-Council® CEH™ Exam PrepCEH practice examApart from this, you can follow blogs, industry experts, and relevant videos for more understanding and guidance.Required soft skills Every job roles needs certain skills apart from the core skills needed to perform on the job. These include soft skills that will help you grow as an individual and as a professional.Be Curious – Be hungry for knowledge and for learning new things and gaining new skills.  Be Enthusiastic - Be enthusiastic and motivated throughout your journey as a hacker and you will be rewarded.  Eliminate the distractions - Avoid time-wasting or non-productive activities during the training like spending time on online games or social media. About the exam After getting trained and completing your practice, it is time for the exam. The CEH exam is a 4 hour exam with 125 multiple choice questions. Check the below link for the exam blueprint to get an idea of the percentage ratio of each module during the CEH exam. Examination centres can be chosen based on your location. Keep your exam code with you. The exam organizers have a process to determine the difficulty rating of each question. For more information, you can check out the EC-Council website and get in touch with your training center.Conclusion So, start your journey on becoming a certified cyber security professional with the CEH course and credential. As with anything else, practice makes perfect and you will become better as an ethical hacker with practice. Work hard and you will definitely achieve your CEH certification at the very first attempt. 
9592
How To Clear CEH in First Attempt?

Cybercrime and hacking attacks are doubling year o... Read More

What Is SQL Injection (SQLi)

In today’s world cyber-attacks are triggered to alter or steal the information of a person or an organization in a huge volume of data. It is very much important to protect the data/database from security related attacks.SQL injection is one of the top trending cyber attack techniques recognized by the world’s top non-profit security foundation OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project). SQL injection attacks are made by inserting or injecting the SQL query input from the client end of the application. In this article, we will learn about the SQL injection, types of attacks using SQL injection and preventive steps.  What is SQL Injection? SQL injection attack is used to insert malicious SQL statements into an entry field for execution. This injection technique is the most common web application hacking attack that allows an attacker to get unauthorised access, commit identity spoofing, tamper, take control or destroy your database. This is an attack that is very simple and easy to carry out even for script kiddies.  As we can see in the above picture, this is the second most common vulnerability that can impact databases. SQL injection flaws occur because of poorly designed web applications that can exploit SQL statements that execute malicious code.  How SQL injection is used is very much dependent on the intention of the hacker. With unauthorized access to a database server, what can attackers do? Here are some examples: Download unauthorized data of a person or an organization Delete/modify data Permanently destroy data/backups Add a virus to a system Alter security Encrypt/steal/alter data and hold it for ransom Publicly shame an organization via a web or social media hack Use data to harm business operations How does SQL injection work? To understand SQL injection, you need to know what SQL is.   SQL – SQL stands for Structured Query Language. This language is mainly developed for interacting with the relational database. For data manipulation, Query is used to insert data, modify the database, or just to access the required data.Image SourceSQL Injection is one of the most vulnerable threats which may exploit the entire database of any private organization or government sector where code is injected in a web page.  An SQL statement will be altered in a manner which goes with ALWAYS TRUE as constraint. (In simple words 1=1  This will be always true) It allows an attacker to view unauthorized data. This might include data belonging to other users, or any other data that the application itself is able to access. An attacker can modify or delete this data, causing persistent changes to the application’s content or behavior.SQL injection TypesThere are a wide variety of SQL injection vulnerabilities, attacks, and techniques, which arise in different situations. Some common SQL injection examples include:Tautologies – Used to Bypass AuthenticationSelect * from USERTable where uid=‘xyz’ and pwd =’x’ or ‘5’=’5’;Union – Used to Extract Data. A different dataset is returned from the Database.  Illegal/Logically Incorrect Queries - Used to Identify injectable parameters.  Piggybacked Queries - Multiple queries are executed without the knowledge of the user which may lead to Database exploitation. Injected queries are added to the normal executable query. Inference - Different responses from the database are cross checked by changing its behavior.  Stored procedure - Injection is done to the stored procedure present in the Database.Common Causes and how to avoid SQL Injection Attack-If we are assuming our application’s code/web forms are well protected against any kind of attack by default, application changes and assumptions that were true in the past or present may not be true in the future and may require additional changes. These assumptions eventually lead to compliance and security auditing failures. Using unsupported or legacy software/code/tools or features may lead to security holes and there could be chances of delay in catching or fixing such issues. Running patched and upgraded versions of code is critical to avoid security exploits. Continuously monitoring for new security vulnerabilities and reacting as needed is an important step towards avoiding unnecessary surprises. Reviewing old code is very important, and timely changes in the code are highly recommended as technologies keeps changing. The versions, functions, and extensions require regular upgrades. Older versions or codes are quite vulnerable and might be unable to maintain the integrity of your application. How to detect SQL injection vulnerabilitiesAs a pentester, you can use two techniques to find SQL injection vulnerabilities with high efficiency - manual and automated testing.Manual Testing During application development there are set of tests performed on each level, that help to detect any SQL injection vulnerability, if it exists. Check with the single ' character ‘ and look for errors or other anomalies. The tester can add some SQL specific syntax into code that can evaluate the original value of the entry point and other values, and check for different responses by the application. Another method is to create a Boolean condition, for example “OR 1=1” and “OR 1=2”, and check again to see if the application response is different.  There are some payloads available that are designed to trigger time delays if executed in SQL query, and you can check if there is any delay in response. Automated TestingThere are many good tools and frameworks available in the market. Here is the list of some of the best tools for SQL injection detection. SQLMap Appsider by Rapid7 Accunetix Wapiti Netsparker etc.How to prevent SQL injection vulnerability? To prevent or avoid SQL injection vulnerability, we must first understand why it occurs, and why it is listed as one of the vulnerabilities in the OWASP top 10.  The SQL injection is so easy to perform, that even a script kiddie can make an attempt.  Another reason is the treasure of critical data that lures the attacker to use SQL injection.  Below is the vulnerable code for SQL injection where the user input is concatenated directly into the query: String query = “;SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ‘";+ input + "’" Statement statement = connection.createStatement(); ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(query); Check out the code below that helps to prevents the user input from interfering with the query structure: PreparedStatement statement = connection.prepareStatement("SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ?");  statement.setString(1, input);  ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(); Primary recommendations: Use Parameterised queries  Least Privilege Use stored procedures if required White listing the input fields Avoid displaying detailed error messages that are useful to an attacker. It is also important to get patch updates regularly, as every day there are many new vulnerabilities that are found.  It is also recommended to use a Web Application Firewall to protect your application, which can help you to filter and find malicious data.  Where Do We Go Next? It is very important to identify and mitigate this notorious vulnerability and take immediate actions to keep your systems secure. Many skilled attackers are waiting to take advantage of your mistakes, like poor code, so that they can hack into the database. We know this vulnerability is very old but we have to be aware of the outcomes of this type of vulnerability and try to prevent this during the development phase, rather than covering up the liability later.  
7358
What Is SQL Injection (SQLi)

In today’s world cyber-attacks are triggered to ... Read More

The Importance Of PCI ; Data Security Standard (DSS)

As the world moves towards digital means of payments and transactions, there has also been concerns over the security and protection of cardholder information. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, more than 500 million card holder records with confidential information have been breached since 2005. Merchants, who accept digital forms of payments, are at the centre of digital payments, and can become a victim of financial fraud at multiple points, including: • The point-of-sale device or machine • Wireless hotspots • Connected computer or any other device • Transmission of the cardholder data to the service provider. Risk factors According to a business survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, a majority of businesses conduct activities increase the risk of card fraud, including storage of card number, expiration date, any verification code, and customer date. Introduction to Data Security Standard (DSS) The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a security standard mandatory for organizations that handle payments using cards, issued from major card types including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. This PCI standard is mandatory for all card brands and is administered by the PCI Security Standards Council. The sole aim of the PCI standards is to protect cardholder data and to reduce card frauds. Objectives The objective of PCI-DSS course is the protection of cardholder data during storage, processing, and transmission. Cardholder account information includes the unique primary account number (PAN) printed in the front of every card. Merchants or any service provider, who process card payments, must never store sensitive information about the transaction after the authorization. This includes confidential data that is stored in the magnetic stripe of the card, along with any personal identification information entered by the cardholder. Requirements The PCI Data Security Standards specifies a list of 12 mandatory requirements, which are grouped under 6 control objectives, as listed below: 1) Build and maintenance of a high-security network, which includes: * Installation of a secure firewall to protect cardholder data. This restricts (or blocks) all traffic from untrusted networks, and prohibit direct public access between the Internet and the cardholder data environment. * Changing of the vendor-provided default password and other security measures. This is important as most card fraudsters are able to break into the cardholder’s internal network using the default passwords. 2) Protection of cardholder information, which includes: * Encryption of cardholder information that is transmitted over public networks. Encryption technology renders the transmitted data unreadable by any unauthorized person. Use of cryptography and security protocols such as SSL/TLS or IPSec can be used to safeguard customer data. * Protection of the stored cardholder data. Sensitive data on the magnetic chip of the card must not be stored. In case the PAN needs to be stored, it must be stored in an unreadable format. Limit the duration of storage of cardholder data. 3) Maintenance of a vulnerability management program, which includes: * Use and regular updates of anti-virus software programs on all systems. Harmful viruses can enter the user network through email and other online activities. Anti-virus software is an effective tool to protect computer systems from external attacks. * Development and maintenance of secure systems and applications. Security vulnerabilities in the system and applications can enable cyber criminals to access PAN and other secure data. Ensure that all the systems and application are updated with the latest security patch from the vendor. 4) Secure access control measures, which includes: * Restricting business access to cardholder information. Limit access to confidential cardholder data to only those users whose work requires this information. Additionally, restrict the access to the least amount of data required for business purpose. * Assigning of a unique ID to every person with computer access. This is important to be able to trace if the access to critical data has been executed by only authorized persons. 5). Restricting of the physical access to cardholder data. Physical access to cardholder data must be restricted to all onsite personnel, visitors, and all paper and electronic media. 6) Regular monitoring and testing of networks, which includes: * Tracking and monitoring of all access points to network resources and cardholder data. Use of logging mechanisms and tracking of user activities are included. * Regular testing of security procedures and processes. Periodic testing of security controls is important, along with internal and external network scans. 7) Maintaining of an information security policy, which includes: * Maintenance of a company policy that addresses information security. This includes establishing a security policy that addresses all the PCI-DSS requirements, along with an annual process to detect any vulnerability. These set of requirements is mandatory for companies that manufacture devices that accept and process PIN-based transactions or any other type of digital payments. Financial institutions, merchants, and service providers must ensure that they only use devices, approved for PTS (PIN transaction security).
The Importance Of PCI ; Data Security Standard (DS...

As the world moves towards digital means of paymen... Read More

Useful links