ASV Scan Interference

Just a reminder of a regular observation we make when conducting ASV scans. It’s the issue of interference from an IDS or IPS system. Whilst such systems are useful in normal production situations, they must not interfere in any way with the ASV scan. If interference is detected by the ASV scan – we have no choice but to issue a failing scan report.

This mandatory requirement is documented in the ASV Program Guide v1.0 on page 14 in the section entitled “Perform a Scan without Interference from IDS/IPS” as follows:

In order to ensure that reliable scans can be conducted, the ASV scan solution must be allowed to perform scanning without interference from intrusion detection systems (IDSs) or intrusion prevention systems (IPSs). Such active protection systems may react differently to an automated scanning solution than they would react to a targeted hacker attack, which could cause inaccuracies in the scan report.

This is part of the defense-in-depth approach of PCI DSS. If the scan cannot detect vulnerabilities on Internet-facing systems because the scan is blocked by an IDS/IPS, those vulnerabilities will remain uncorrected and may be exploited if the IDS/IPS changes or fails. If an ASV detects that an IDS/IPS has blocked or filtered a scan, then the ASV is required to fail the scan as inconclusive. All ASV scans must be validated by the ASV to ensure they have not been blocked or filtered by an IDS/IPS.

The upshot is that if you have an IDS/IPS system in place, you are required to grant full access for the ASV scanner.

The full ASV program guide is available here.

 

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