Suggested Blog Reading – Monday July 23rd, 2007

ReadWhat a nice, relaxing weekend. Back to the grind!

Here’s the list:

Get your second degree in “ethical hacking” – Not sure how many people will give this love as the term “ethical hacking” still doesn’t impress a lot of people.

If you’re looking to groom a new CSO for your company or looking to boost your career into an executive position, there’s a new master’s degree that might work for you. Just don’t expect a football home team, warns Information Week, since all the curriculum is online.

The new program, launched by the EC-Council University, currently has 6 students and 9 faculty, and students are expected to study only half-time, while working in the security industry in some capacity.

Four Solaris Virtual Machines – Need a Solaris test-bed? Why not use these pre-configured VMWare images?

There are now four Solaris VMs available from Sun, including S10U3 and Solaris Express (aka Nevada) build 55. VMware tools are pre-installed (at least in the two I downloaded), but the VMs are still using IDE disks so they won’t work for ESX/VI users.

Newsmaker: DCT, MPack developer – Interview with the MPack guys.

In June 2006, three Russian programmers started testing a collection of PHP scripts and exploit code to automate the compromise of computers that visit malicious Web sites.
Click here for Core!!

“ The project is not so profitable compared to other activities on the Internet. It’s just a business. While it makes income, we will work on it, and while we are interested in it, it will live. ”

“DCT”, one of three developers of the MPack infection kit

A year later, the MPack kit has become an increasingly popular tool, allowing data thieves and bot masters to take control of victims’ systems and steal personal information. The MPack infection kit has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of compromised computers. And, it’s malicious software with a difference: The creators have offered a year of support to those clients from the Internet underground who purchase the software for anywhere from $700 to $1,000.

You just got 0wned. Now what? – What would you do? What is the right answer for your type of incident? 🙂

Imagine that you are arriving at your office and you look through the window. Inside the building you can see someone burglarizing the building. What would you do?

You have a few options, you could (1) call the police; (2) you could ignore the burglary and go get a cafe’ latte double mocha espresso and hope that the burglar leaves before anyone sees him; (3) or you could open the door to the office, and shout, “Hey! Get out!”, wait for the burglar to leave.

Oracle refutes ‘SSH hacking’ slur – I think it’s great that Oracle blamed a paper by Daniel Cid, who works for me at Q1 Labs, as the root cause of their public perception as a “top attacker”. Well Daniel, I guess any press is good press 😉

An investigation by Oracle has revealed the none of its systems were involved in launching a recent brute force attack on secure servers around the net.

From the beginning of May until earlier this week, “compromised computers” at Oracle UK were listed among the ten worst offenders on the net for launching attacks on servers which run SSH (secure shell) server software, according to statistics from servers running DenyHosts software to block SSH brute-force password attacks. DenyHosts is a script for Linux system administrators designed to help thwart SSH server attacks. Around 6,800 users contribute to the data it collects.

The greatest virus of all time – This is fantastic work!

There is a virus on the net from a long time, the damage inflicted by it is unstoppable, or at least that was though, check it out yourself

Insider Threat Example: Payroll Employee Threatens To Illegally Use Other Employees’ PII If Not Given a Good Review – Good case study.

On June 27, 2007, the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) fired an employee who had worked in the payroll department there for 10 years.

Why? He downloaded Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) about 1,600 current and former MSD employees to his own personal computer, and then some of his coworkers reported to their management that he had threatened on June 20 to maliciously use the PII if his manager gave him a bad performance appraisal.

MSD contacted the FBI and the St. Louis police department right after learning of the threat, they obtained the now-ex-employee’s computer from his home and “said they are very confident that the document had not been copied or sent to another source.” The name of the ex-employee has not been released pending investigation.

piggy – Download MS-SQL Password Brute Forcing Tool – Another tool for you to play with.

Piggy is yet another tool for performing online password guessing against Microsoft SQL servers.

It supports scanning multiple servers using a dictionary file or a file with predefined accounts (username and password combinations).

CyberSpeak interview – Check out Didier’s interview.

My interview on the CyberSpeak podcast about my UserAssist tool is up. I discovered I speak English with a French accent 😉 But I’m not French, I’m Flemish!

To a new kind of sleuth, phones leave a rich trail – Good article with some solid examples of how law enforcement leverages the forensic process for cell phones.

Because of the wealth of information they hold, cell phones are now part of almost every large forensic examination or criminal or civil case. Even so, Hanson estimated that Minnesota has less than a dozen full-time computer and cell phone forensic experts.

Law enforcement officials and forensics experts said cell phones are simply the latest in a long line of new technologies to which they have adapted, from land-line phones to camcorders to pagers to computers.

But they also agree that the cell phone’s ubiquity is unrivaled.

New Trend in Attacking the Java Runtime Environment? – I thought you just let it run long enough and it would eat up so much memory that it’s bloated corpse would block any malware 🙂

Attacks targeting vulnerabilities in the Java Runtime Environment are anything but new. Several researchers have previously visited this topic and the results have been some fantastic research. However, in recent weeks the DeepSight Threat Analyst Team has been investigating several Java issues resulting from a notable increase in vulnerabilities reported affecting the Java Runtime Environment and its associated components.

The threat landscape has seen a dramatic increase in attacks targeting client-side vulnerabilities in recent years. Vulnerabilities have been exposed in a variety of applications including media players, Web browsers, ActiveX controls and mail clients, to name just a few. The ubiquitous nature of the Java Runtime Environment makes it a prime candidate for attackers. With this in mind, it is not surprising to see much of the preliminary research into exploitation of environments like the Java Virtual Machine manifest itself both in recently disclosed vulnerabilities and the consequent exploitation of these issues “in the wild.” This research has likely been (or will be) exacerbated by the fact that portions of Java are now open-source.

OSVDB Search Tips & Tricks – Good article on how to efficiently search the OSVDB database.

I should have started a series of these posts long ago. One of the more frustrating parts of most VDBs is the lack of a helpful search function. Searching for some products (SharePoint) is easy enough, as the name is distinct and not likely to find many matches. If you happen to know the script affected (logout.php), that too can make the search fast and painless. However, what if you want to list all vulnerabilities in PHP?

New hacking technique exploits common programming error – This is where code reviews come in handy as well as knowledge of security concepts.

Researchers at Watchfire Inc. say they have discovered a reliable method for exploiting a common programming error, which until now had been considered simply a quality problem and not a security vulnerability.

Jonathan Afek and Adi Sharabani of Watchfire stumbled upon the method for remotely exploiting dangling pointers by chance while they were running the company’s AppScan software against a Web server. The server crashed in the middle of the scan and after some investigation, the pair found that a dangling pointer had been the culprit. This wasn’t a surprising result, given that these coding errors are well-known for causing crashes at odd times. But after some further experimentation, Afek and Sharabani found that they could cause the crash intentionally by sending a specially crafted URL to the server and began looking for a way to run their own code on the target machine.

Dual Database Breach Exposes 5,500 UM Records – Today’s eye bleeder.

The University of Michigan is alerting current and former students about the exposure of personal information after an unknown individual(s) gained access to two School of Education databases. These databases contained the names, addresses, and some Social Security numbers of 5,500 individuals. At this point there is no evidence that the individual(s) that gained access were after personal information, but the university’s public safety department is investigating the incident. The breach was first discovered on July 3 and the university began sending out notifications on July 16. According to Kelly Cunningham, a university spokesperson, the notifications were sent out as a precaution.

Fox News, Directory Indexing, and FTP Passwords – Wow. I wonder how long it will take Bill O’Reilly to blame terrorists…or illegal aliens…or the Democrats?

A 19 year old photography student (Gordon Lowrey) found that the Fox News website had Directory Indexing enabled (now disabled). Sure it’s not a good practice (against PCI-DSS), but typically not a big deal security wise and it happens occasionally on other major websites. What made this one interesting in the person navigated up the directory tree their way to the /admin/ folder, no password required, where inside was a curious bash shell script thats still available.

ISP Seen Breaking Internet Protocol to Fight Zombie Computers — Updated – Can’t say that I agree with this approach.

Internet service provider Cox Communications is reportedly diverting attempts to reach certain online chat channels and redirecting them to a server that attempts to remove spyware from the computer. By doing so the company seems to be attempting to cleanse computers of malware that hijacks the computers resources to send spam and participate in online service attacks as part of a large network of compromised computers known as a botnet.

Specifically, Cox’s DNS server is responding to a domain name request for an Internet Relay Chat server. Instead of responding with the correct IP address for the server, Cox sends the IP address of its own IRC server ( That server then sends commands to the computer that attempt to remove malware.

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