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Turning Attackers' Tools Against Them 75

Posted by kdawson
from the back-bearings dept.
Tasha26 writes "The BBC has an interesting Web security snippet from the SyScan 2010 security conference in Singapore. In a presentation, security researcher Laurent Oudot released details of bugs found in commonly used attack kits such as Neon, Eleonore, and Sniper. These loopholes could be exploited to get more information about the attackers, perhaps identifying them, stealing their tools and methods, or even following the trail back to their own computer."
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Turning Attackers' Tools Against Them

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  • by maillemaker (924053) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @08:21PM (#32628854)

    There should be bounties put on these folks spreading this shit.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @08:34PM (#32628938) Homepage Journal

    ..or to the person they are setting up to go to jail...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ..or to the person they are setting up to go to jail...

      Yes, and the police shouldn't bother following up on physical evidence either since it usually leads to someone who's being set up to go to jail.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        If you go to that much trouble to frame someone via a 'code trail', you will be planting more evidence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)
      Most of these attacks are by the sort of script kiddies that you could confuse by saying "bet you can't hack 127.127.127.127". I've got one machine that will accept ssh from anywhere and it's under almost constant dictionary attack by idiot script kiddies - usually under the username "Administrator" which makes little sense since few very MS systems even have ssh. They don't really have a clue (eg. can't even get in with a password on many ssh systems), they just play with the toys without understanding w
      • I knew a sysadmin many years ago who wasn't shy about blowing his own trumpet about his 1337 security skillz. His root password was 'aardvark'. Thought you might need a laugh. He had a couple of those MCSE type qualifications and a degree in computer science.
    • by Zapotek (1032314)
      Why was that modded as flamebait? It's quite insighful actually...parent makes a good point.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Who knows, people are having a bad day? Or perhaps they are guilty themselves? :)

        I was trying to be serious, as it would be a great way to distract attention to yourself ( as the bad guy ) and take down your enemies in the process. A double win.

        One would assume that the high end coders doing this stuff would be that smart.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @08:53PM (#32629032) Homepage

    ...or did he behave irresponsibly and publish the bugs without giving the vendors time to issue patches?

  • by oldhack (1037484)
    All that cleverness wasted...
  • Low hanging fruit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retardpicnic (1762292) <retardpicnic@gmail.com> on Saturday June 19, 2010 @09:04PM (#32629092)
    Meh... Thae fact that there are errors and vulnerabilities in web based tools just means that they were written by programmers who largely don't have peer code review, which is why so many computer viruses never get to trigger or release paylod, the only working part of them is the infection mechanism. Perhaps these vulnerabilities would aid n catching a script kiddie who had downloaded a poorly programmed tool and was dumb enough to launch from his own computer. Nobody with brains would launch from "home", they would use bots, which means the police will be storming an old age home with grandparents still using windows 95. I do applaud looking at hacking tools though, I workd for a company that used a stripped down, harmless version of the sub7 trojan to deploy software and it was far superior to commercial deployment solutions at the time.
    • by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Saturday June 19, 2010 @10:40PM (#32629520)

      Thae fact that there are errors and vulnerabilities in web based tools just means that they were written by programmers who largely don't have peer code review

      The fact that there are errors in these attack suites in particular is probably more because their purpose is to attack others with no expectation that counter-attacks are likely to happen, at least against these tools themselves.

      I workd for a company that used a stripped down, harmless version of the sub7 trojan to deploy software

      Funny you bring that up. Older versions used to have a hard coded master password that could be used to steal Sub7 systems, W32/Leaves took over systems that way.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      You may not hit the home of the attacker but neutralizing his/her botnet or relay is a good start.
  • by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @09:06PM (#32629106) Homepage

    Do you really think that the creators of these "tools" aren't going to leave SOME way of getting back into them? To prevent them from being used against their own systems?

    "Did you really think you could use my own spell against me , Potter?" -Severus Snape "HP: THBP"

  • by nacturation (646836) * <[nacturation] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday June 19, 2010 @09:16PM (#32629162) Journal

    In other news, researchers learn that script kiddies tend not to be very good software developers.

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Saturday June 19, 2010 @09:30PM (#32629240)

      In other news, researchers learn that script kiddies tend not to be very good software developers.

      Surely the very definition of a script kiddie is someone who doesn't write hacking software, but uses software built by others.

      I think this shows that the hacking community can be a bit arrogant, and they think that hackers won't go after one of their own.

      • Or that the people who write these packages are not necessarily great hackers themselves, but people who read reports on others' work and write tools to perform the attacks.
        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Or they just don't care...
          The people who write these tools are not the same people who run them, script kiddies run the tools because they aren't smart enough to write their own and nor are they smart enough to verify that the code isn't broken or even full of blatant backdoors. Nor do they care at all since the machines they will be running the tools on are compromised systems which were obviously vulnerable to something else already.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobDude (1123541)

      Eh, I'm not sure I agree.

      It's one thing to have the ability to find a exploit and take advantage of it. It's an entirely different thing to personally go through all of the code running on your machine and remove all exploits.

  • I propose that MS create a walled-garden version of Windows that will work for 85% (my estimate) of users. Only approved apps can be installed. Could it work?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MadnessASAP (1052274)

      Microsoft would gladly make a walled garden OS for EVERYONE to use if they thought they could get away with it.

      • by ArghBlarg (79067) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @12:09AM (#32629884) Homepage

        Haven't they already taken the first step with compulsory driver signing in their 64-bit OSes? I hear there's a registry hack to disable it... for now. But MS would -love- it to be mandatory, they've been laying the foundations since the original "Trusted Computing Platform Alliance" days haven't they? I don't keep up to date on all this stuff so maybe it's not so true anymore.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Z34107 (925136)

          They just upped the logo requirements - to get logo certification, you have to have 64 bit versions of drivers as well. Which is great, because 32bit blows chunks.

          As for having to get them signed, that is kind of a pain. On the plus side, it means your signed driver went over some basic "are you likely to freeze the computer" tests and it discourages companies with shitty programmers from doing unnecessary stuff in kernelspace.

          I for one applaud this tiny effort to improve Windows stability.

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            Maybe someone can encourage MS not to do unnecessary stuff in kernel space? IIS is a prime offender for this...

        • by riscthis (597073)

          Haven't they already taken the first step with compulsory driver signing in their 64-bit OSes?

          IIRC, one of the reasons for requiring driver signing was not for the logo certification part (which I thought remained optional, but I may be wrong on that) but actually to help with Microsoft's crash analysis efforts.

          With a signed driver it's much easier to identify the vendor of a buggy driver, get in contact and ask them to fix their code, and even offer to push out an update via the Microsoft Update tool.

      • Microsoft would gladly make a walled garden OS for EVERYONE to use if they thought they could get away with it.

        Companies do what makes good business sense. If Microsoft could get away with making a walled-garden OS and they thought it would be more successful than their current product, then of course they would. But they would lose me as a customer, and they would probably lose much of the rest of their current customer base, so they wouldn't. What's your point?

        Now go back to using your Windows: Linux Edition (sorry, I mean Ubuntu) and stop turning every thread you can into a baseless battle of the OSes.

        • by janrinok (846318)

          "Now go back to using your Windows: Linux Edition (sorry, I mean Ubuntu) and stop turning every thread you can into a baseless battle of the OSes."

          Why have YOU turned this into a battle of OSes? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Ubuntu. It might not be your distro of choice but for many thousands of people, it is exactly that. The fact that it is user friendly and works out-of-the-box makes it more popular but no less of an OS than whatever you might choose to use.

          • "Now go back to using your Windows: Linux Edition (sorry, I mean Ubuntu) and stop turning every thread you can into a baseless battle of the OSes."

            Why have YOU turned this into a battle of OSes? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Ubuntu. It might not be your distro of choice but for many thousands of people, it is exactly that. The fact that it is user friendly and works out-of-the-box makes it more popular but no less of an OS than whatever you might choose to use.

            It's just that it's typically Ubuntu users that start the OS battles. And those people only use Linux so they can fit in with their hacker friends, dis micro$haft and feel all epix leatsauce, but they use Ubuntu so they don't actually have to know anything.

            And you know it's true.

            • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

              by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

              By the way, I have nothing against Linux. I love Linux. I wouldn't use anything else for running a server (I have 3 that run on Gentoo)... it's the people that use it just to fit in that I can't stand.

    • I propose that MS create a walled-garden version of Windows that will work for 85% (my estimate) of home users.

      FTFY.

    • It already exists(though not in "home" versions), it just isn't turned on by default.

      In anything XP or later, not sure about 2000, you can use software restriction policies to control the execution of programs and the loading of dlls by location, name, hash, or signature. Or some combination.

      It's kind of a pain to use, which is why you don't see it too much; but it is there.
  • by Isao (153092) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @10:21PM (#32629442)
    This is great intel, no doubt. There's a bit of irony in reporting vulnerabilities in malware - can I get a CVE for that? Counter-attack has a bunch of potential issues, though. The primary one is attack attribution, and the other primary one is that it's not legal in many places (including the United States) to counter-attack your attacker. If you execute code or access a system without the permission of the system-owner, you're in the same crime category as the original miscreant.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not so. Try a "self defense" defense.

      If an attacker originates an attack on you,
      you are welcome to use ENOUGH force to stop it.

      I think a requisite measure of restraint would be
      proven, and any subsequent culpability waived.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not so. Try a "self defense" defense.

        If an attacker originates an attack on you,
        you are welcome to use ENOUGH force to stop it.

        I think a requisite measure of restraint would be
        proven, and any subsequent culpability waived.

        Stop it?
        iptables .... -j DROP

        Retaliation against the attackets system, which just happens to be a rooted box at MegaCorp ? Year, real smart idea - their lawyers will surely see the sanity of what you did and not sue..

    • likewise, what hacker is going to report that someone reverse engineered his hack?

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        What if the attacker is using another system they already exploited? You're then hacking into someone else's computer and they very well could press charges.

        • i think you are trying to say that going after hackers is unethical. you are of course right. but that doesn't mean you can't go after them, just that you can't wrap yourself in the cloak of ethics when you enter their shadowland

          in other words, to catch a criminal, you should abide by good conduct, but you may have to get a little dirty yourself

          it is not possible to fight crime completely straightjacketed by the highest standards of good behavior. as long as you yourself don't become a criminal in your purs

    • If I do it in secret, what do I care if it's legal or not? If done competently, the chance of getting caught is hardly even worth considering.
    • by lennier (44736)

      There's a bit of irony in reporting vulnerabilities in malware - can I get a CVE for that?

      I nominate 'There's a CVE for that!' as the new 'There's an app for that'.

  • Connecting to someone's computer with the intent to cause damage could still get you in legal trouble; the law doesn't care who the victim is. What's more, the cracker you are trying to crack may just have a whole botnet to turn on your IP space, so you may want to think about that before unleashing your m4d l33t sk11z on their intertubes.
  • in the OS or have an option of and OS update that includes tools to detect attacks and then counter them.

    I remember having a Fedora 9 Web Server and all kinds of foreign IP addresses tried to crack passwords and guess user names. I read the logs as root showing me failed attempts using some dictionary attack of English/American first names and passwords from a dictionary list. Now I don't use first names but handles and pen names that are hard to guess and run as a user account and only use root when I need to do something.

    A friend of mine told me they will keep trying and cannot be stopped because my Linux server has no defense system to counter attack their hacking attempts and when they send a DoS attack my system does not send one back.

    But I was never able to find such programs for Linux that would counter-attack such things and stopped hosting my web site at home and moved it to a web hosting services and let their admins monitor it 24/7. I recall they used an exploit in Apache 2.X and PHP during Halloween when I was taking my wife and son out for collecting candy. I come back home and found that trolls from Kuro5hin hacked my web server and took control and added insulting and untrue stuff about me. Later on they did the same thing to Net Money Chat that used Scoop like Kuro5hin but the admin fixed it to work with Apache 2.X and mod_perl for Apache 2.0, he submitted the code changes to Rusty, but Rusty never did anything about them. Then the Kuro5hin trolls hacked Net Money Chat and make it so it never served web pages and sabotaged the system so no part of it would work.

    I would like to see such things available or built into Linux and other operating systems or be part of a security update or some free or open source software that can be gotten by people or small businesses that run web sites and need some way to force hackers and attackers to stay away from their web servers or at least collect enough evidence to submit to the FBI or some other group to hunt down the hackers and crackers by generating an ODF or PDF or whatever file that contains copies of the logs and a list of IP addresses doing the hacking and cracking attempts and attacks and then lists what they did. If needed a court can examine the Linux logs to see the whole history if they want to as well.

    • by laffer1 (701823)

      False positives. In order for this to be effective, one would have to come up with fingerprints of attacks. If someone's normal activity happened to be similar and triggered it, then their system gets attacked by yours.

      The other problem is that there are new attacks everyday and it would get harder and harder to have effective counter attacks. Pretty soon every mail server on the internet will be attacking each other. It's just silly.

    • I haven't used psad [cipherdyne.com] for a long time but if i recall correctly it had an option to execute a program/script of your choice if a portscan reached a specific threshold.
  • This is to save the energies of the various suckers, who, like me, wanted to read either the presentation (will do even Powerpoint, if really really desperate) or the notes or whatever he had.
    These conferences, unlike BlackHat® conferences, seem to publish zilch, and on his company web site there is nothing, in any language, except for a news item in Inspector Clouseau's English (Pink Panther, remember?) on this same matter, hardly more informative that the OP comment.
    To shake him, please e-mail him

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