Cyberattack / Featured Blogs

Report on DNS Amplification Attacks

In this newly released paper Randal Vaughn and Gadi Evron discuss the threat of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks using recursive DNS name servers open to the world. The study is based on case studies of several attacked ISPs reported to have on a volume of 2.8Gbps. One reported event indicated attacks reaching as high as 10Gbps and used as many as 140,000 exploited name servers. more

Behind the Smoke Screen of Internet and International Infrastructure

In my recent write-up I start by discussing some recent threats network operators should be aware of, such as recursive DNS attacks. Then, a bit on the state of the Internet, cooperation across different fields and how these latest threats with DDoS also relate to worms and bots, as well as spam, phishing and the immense ROI organized crime sees. I try and bring some suggestions on what can be done better, and where we as a community, as well as specifically where us, the "secret hand-shake clubs" of Internet security fail and succeed. Over-secrecy, lack of cooperation, lack of public information, and not being secret enough about what really matters. more

Worm Propagation Strategies in an Ipv6 Internet

A recent paper called "Worm Propagation Strategies in an IPv6 Internet", written by Steven M. Bellovin, Angelos Keromytis, and Bill Cheswick, examines whether or not the deployment of IPv6 will in fact provide a substantial level of barrier against worms. Shared below are the introductory paragraphs from this paper. "In recent years, the internet has been plagued by a number of worms. One popular mechanism that worms use to detect vulnerable targets is random IP address-space probing..." more

Survey Results Expose Widespread DNS Vulnerabilities

The Measurement Factory and Infoblox have announced results of a survey of more than 1.3 million Internet-connected, authoritative domain name system (DNS) servers around the globe. The results of the survey indicate that as many as 84 percent of Internet name servers could be vulnerable to pharming attacks, and that many exhibit other security and deployment-related vulnerabilities. The surveys consisted of several queries directed at each of a large set of external DNS servers to estimate the number of systems deployed today and determine specific configuration details. more

Should the Government Prepare a Preemptive Cyber-Attack?

The House Committee on Science recently held a hearing to "examine the extent of U.S. vulnerability to cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as utility systems, and what the federal government and private sector are doing, and should be doing, to prevent and prepare for such attacks." Specific issues addressed at the hearing included whether: 1) the U.S. is able to detect, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure; and 2) is there a clear line of responsibility within the federal government to deal with cybersecurity... more

Time to Play Offense

The United States is under cyber-attack. An article in Time magazine titled "The Invasion of the Chinese Cyberspies" discusses a computer-network security official for Sandia National Laboratories who had been "tirelessly pursuing a group of suspected Chinese cyberspies all over the world." The article notes that the cyberespionage ring, known to US investigators as Titan Rain, has been "penetrating secure computer networks at the country's most sensitive military bases, defense contractors and aerospace companies." more

So You Think You’re Safe from DNS Cache Poisoning?

Everyone is probably well aware of the Kashpureff-style DNS cache- poisoning exploit (I'll call this "classic cache poisoning"). For reference, see the original US-CERT advisory prompted by this exploit. Vendors patched their code to appropriately scrub (validate) responses so that caches could not be poisoned. For the next 7-8 years, we didn't hear much about cache poisoning. However, there was still a vulnerability lurking in the code, directly related to cache poisoning. ...On April 7, 2005, the SANS ISC (not to be confused with Internet Systems Consortium) posted an update detailing how Microsoft Windows DNS servers were still being poisoned, even though the "Secure cache against pollution" option was set. The SANS ISC found that Windows DNS servers using BIND4 and BIND8 servers as forwarders were being poisoned. But how could this be? more

Mozilla Implements TLD Whitelist for Firefox in Response to IDN Homographs Spoofing

Mozilla Foundation has announced changes to Firefox concerning Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) to deal with homograph spoofing attacks. According to the organization, "Mozilla Foundation products now only display IDNs in a whitelist of TLDs, which have policies stating what characters are permitted, and procedures for making sure that no homographic domains are registered to two different entities." Following is a statement explaining the current status of the Mozilla changes to Firefox regarding IDN... more

New Study Revealing Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks

The following is an overview of the recent Honeynet Project and Research Alliance study called 'Know your Enemy:Phishing' aimed at discovering practical information on the practice of phishing. This study focuses on real world incidents based on data captured and analyzed from the UK and German Honeynet Project revealing how attackers build and use their infrastructure for Phishing based attacks. "This data has helped us to understand how phishers typically behave and some of the methods they employ to lure and trick their victims. We have learned that phishing attacks can occur very rapidly, with only limited elapsed time between the initial system intrusion and a phishing web site going online..." more

Port 25 Blocking, or Fix SMTP and Leave Port 25 Alone for the Sake of Spam?

Larry Seltzer wrote an interesting article for eWeek, on port 25 blocking, the reasons why it was being advocated, and how it would stop spam. This quoted an excellent paper by Joe St.Sauver, that raised several technically valid and true corollaries that have to be kept in mind when blocking port 25 -- "cough syrup for lung cancer" would be a key phrase... Now, George Ou has just posted an article on ZDNET that disagrees with Larry's article, makes several points that are commonly cited when criticizing port 25 blocking, but then puts forward the astonishing, and completely wrong, suggestion, that worldwide SPF records are going to be a cure all for this problem. Here is my reply to him... more