The Coalfire Blog

Welcome to the Coalfire Blog, a resource covering the most important issues in IT security and compliance. You'll also find information on Coalfire's insights into the unique cybersecurity issues that impact the industries we serve, including Cloud Service Providers, RetailFinancial Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Payments, Government.

The Coalfire blog is written by the company's leadership team and our highly-credentialed security assessment experts.


  • State privacy laws: 2020 highs and lows

    Elizabeth Crooks, Consultant, Privacy, Coalfire

    2020 is shaping up to be another interesting year for data privacy, especially given that public health agencies, private companies, and states are now working feverishly to create contact tracing apps and programs while still preserving privacy. Being thoughtful and accountable about data privacy is more important than ever, as some states have made very public mistakes in the rush to roll things out.

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  • The Basics of Exploit Development 4: Unicode Overflows

    Andy Bowden, Consultant, Coalfire Labs

    If you have read the previous articles in this series, welcome back and keep reading. If not, I would encourage you to read those first before proceeding, as this article builds on concepts laid down in the previous installments. In this article, we will be covering a technique similar to the one in the second installment of this series but with the twist of the character encoding of the input being in Unicode. In order to demonstrate how to get around this impediment, we will be writing parts of the payload and doing some stack realignment manually. Read more
  • Successful DevSecOps begins with a cultural shift

    Jason McAllister, Senior Consultant, Cloud Solutions Engineering, Coalfire

    A successful DevSecOps approach fosters cohesive collaboration between Development, Security, and Operations teams for the cultivation of outcomes that improve security while also maintaining the goals of DevOps. Within DevSecOps, security is an additional foundational component in the process toward improving delivery outcomes. Furthermore, security is introduced as an integral and continuous component of the application lifecycle. With DevSecOps, the role of and emphasis on security occur much earlier in the lifecycle with a goal of producing better protected and perhaps more resilient applications.

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  • Baselining PassGAN: Adventures in the rhubarb

    Aaron Jones, Consultant, Penetration Testing

    Cracking is a complex topic full of misunderstandings, confusing terminology and weird people. This blog post is front-loaded with some terminology, some explanations, and maybe some apologies.

    Password cracking: This is fundamentally one thing: guessing. We’re not reversing, or talking to spirits or anything—we are picking a password candidate, running it through a hash algorithm and comparing the output to a target hash. In other words, math.

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  • IoT Part 3: Fire!

    Dan McInerney, Senior Security Consultant, Coalfire

    When we left off in Part 2 of our blog series, we had just identified the max temperature variable and set it to a much higher number. Our celebrations quickly ended, however. Upon flashing the firmware with the new edited max temperature variable, we realized that the printer would get up to around 261o Celsius then suddenly stop heating and cool back down to room temperature. At least one more security feature must have been implemented to prevent thermal runaway. Tracking this down was significantly harder than tracking down a variable with a known value.

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