Glossary

Learn more about the language of software security.

If you don’t see a term defined on this page, refer to one of the governmental or industry standards cited in the References.

The definitions included in this page may vary from the cited standards, based on how we configure and use Cobalt software.

Allowlist

An allowlist explicitly lets identified systems access. In networks, an allowlist can specify IP addresses. You can typically find allowlists and denylists in files like /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny.

API Endpoint

An endpoint is typically a URL used to allow two software applications to communicate with each other. For example, https://api.cobalt.io/orgs is one endpoint that you can find at https://docs.cobalt.io.

Some endpoints include additional information that may make them seem different. For example, the following two URLs are in fact the same endpoint, as the content after the ampersand (&) describes an action on data sent from that URL:

  • example.com/endpoint1&_prettyPrint=true
  • example.com/endpoint1&_prettyPrint=false

Asset

For pentests, an asset is a software component of value. Cobalt can perform pentests on assets in the following categories:

  • Web apps
  • External networks
  • Internal networks
  • Mobile apps
  • APIs
  • Cloud configuration (AWS, Azure, GCP)

Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS)

The OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS) relates to pentests of web application technical security controls.

Attacker

Sometimes also known as a Threat Actor, Malicious Hacker, “Black-hat Hacker,” or “Cracker.” May be an individual, a group, or even a nation-state. Specified as “attacker” in Cobalt pentest reports.

Black Box Testing

Where the pentester has no knowledge of the internal details of the asset. Contrast with gray box and white box testing.

Also known as “opaque box testing.”

CIS (Center for Internet Security)

The Center for Internet Security is an independent nonprofit organization which develops and refines best practice security solutions.

One of the test criteria used by our pentesters is CIS Controls v8, released in 2021.

Dynamic Page

Web applications typically include static and dynamic web pages. A Dynamic Page includes content that can be customized, either through an application server (server-side) or through code such as JavaScript running in the browser (client-side).

Finding

A potential security flaw in an app or physical hardware. We include findings in vulnerability reports, as something that a threat actor can exploit. Examples:

Gray Box Testing

Where the pentester has limited knowledge of the internal details of the asset. Contrast with white box and black box testing.

Also known as “translucent box testing.”

Jump Box

Also known as a jump host or a jump server, a jump box is a system (typically) on an internal network or a DMZ. Jump boxes are used to access and manage devices in a separate security zone.

Where the pentester has limited knowledge of the internal details of the asset. Contrast with white box and black box testing.

Known Vulnerability

Identified in well-known security documentation such as a security bulletin or a CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) from MITRE.

Mitigate

To apply preventative measures. Based on problems identified by a pentest or incident report. Examples:

  • Install security updates on potentially affected servers
  • Review and update a codebase for issues identified on specific files

Contrast with remediate. This reflects how we use mitigate at Cobalt, and differs slightly from the NIST definition of mitigate.

Mobile Screen

A mobile screen is what you see on a mobile device, such as an iPhone or an Android system. As described by Codepath, mobile screens fall into several archetypes.

You may have multiple screens of an archtype. For example, you may have 10 mobile screens for the onboarding archtype.

Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

OWASP is a nonprofit foundation with “Top 10” security issues for different asset types, including Web apps, APIs, and Cloud systems.

Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM)

The OSSTMM tests the operational security of physical locations, human interactions, and all communications on the network, whether they be wireless, wired, analog, or digital.

Operations Security (OpSec)

Operations Security, commonly known as OpSec, identifies critical information, and if/how it may be used by opponents or enemies. OpSec measures can reduce security risks.

Org Owner

A Cobalt term for users who have top-level (sudo) administrative privileges for their organizations in the Cobalt app.

Pentest

Short for penetration test.

Pentest as a Service (PtaaS)

Combines manual and human testing with a modern delivery platform to deploy penetration testing programs.

Pentest Report

A summary of all vulnerability reports, including observations on positive security measures. Target audience: executives. Includes:

  • Executive Summary (of tests performed)
  • Executive Analysis (testing efforts)
  • Methodology (based on asset type)
  • Methodology (for assessing risk)
  • Summary of Findings
  • Recommendations

Within Cobalt, this is also known as a Report or a Final Report.

Remediate

To fix a vulnerability identified by a pentest or incident report. Examples:

  • Install a security update on an affected server
  • Update directly affected code

Contrast with mitigate. This reflects how we use remediate at Cobalt, and differs slightly from the NIST definition of remediation.

SANS Institute

Original sponsor of a set of standards for testing networks. SANS stands for SysAdmin, Audit, Network, and Security. The SANS Top 20 has been migrated to CIS Controls Version 8.

Single-Page Application

For more information, see https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Glossary/SPA

User Role

A User Role specifies the permissions or privileges associated with a user. Common examples of User Roles include:

  • Global Administrator (such as a UNIX root user)
  • Administrator
  • Group Owner
  • Workspace Administrator
  • Full User
  • Guest

This is not a comprehensive list. When scoping an Asset, include a complete list of user roles. If you miss a user role, you may sacrifice quality in penetration testing.

Vulnerability

A finding discovered during a pentest. Also a specific weakness which can be exploited by a threat actor, such as an attacker, to cross privilege boundaries (and perform unauthorized actions) within a computer system.

Contrast with Known Vulnerability.

Vulnerability Management

The cyclical practice of identifying, classifying, remediating, and mitigating vulnerabilities. At Cobalt, we focus on manual pentests (enhanced with automated tools). Also see Vulnerability Assessment and Management, as defined by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA)

Vulnerability Report (Manual)

A document that provides information about one specific finding. Cobalt vulnerability reports are based on manual tests. Such reports include:

  • Step-by-step notes on how the tester identified each vulnerability (when possible)
  • Locations, such as files or hardware
  • Recommendations to remediate

Vulnerability Report (Automated)

A document created by an automated scanning tool. Primarily used to list known vulnerabilities associated with specific code patterns.

White Box Testing

Where the pentester has full knowledge of the internal details of the asset. Contrast with black box and gray box testing.

Also known as “clear box testing.”

References


Last modified November.11.2021