Fake blogs and search engines

urls in this post should be considered as unsafe.

fake sites and se poisoning are nothing new. the use of blogs for this is far from new, either. thousands of new fake blogs pop up every day on blogspot, livejournal, etc.

web spam is a subject i have written about in the past, and some of you may be familiar with it regardless of me (no kidding), especially if you run a blog yourself.

a new fake blog which looks like blogspot, but has its own “domain”, recently popped up in a google alert on my name.

i get hits on these fake pages all the time as my name is a key word used by some of these spammers to grab attention to their pages.
this time around they really over-did it.

the page has a blogspot layout, and continues with ads to pornographic sites or malware (is there any difference anymore?)

then the site shows the youtube video which can be found under my name.
following that is a post i made to a mailing list recently (poorly formatted).
then we have a few pictures of girls, linking once more either to pornographic sites or malware drive-by sites (if there is a difference, again).

they finish the page off by adding comments, which are actually some old securiteam posts by me.

heck, it looks fake, but it is obvious the bad guys are investing more in their fake web pages. their auto-creation tools seem to be getting more impressive, and i believe we will see much improved believable sites, soon.

google blog search displays this site as (nasty words replaced with beep):

gadi evron
2 sep 2007
gangbeep facial asian amateurs, bang bus jessica hardcore pictures bang your head, asian virgins.asts. teen cherry action – nice brunette teen beeped hard on the bed and getting a beepy beepshot. beep beeping boy beep teen legs, …
untitled – h ttp://n ewadult.celeberia.com/

url:
h ttp://n ewadult.celeberia.com/sun-shine

again, i am unsure if these urls are safe.

for those of you wondering if these web pages mean anything to the bad guys, the answer is absolutely yes. search engine ranking, indexing, etc. helps them advance their own sites (or their clients’). then of course, there is advertising and google ads.
it works. and the advertising space on unrelated key words is a plus.

the concept is very similar to comment spam. comment spam may not contribute to se ranking anymore due to the nofollow tag attached to links in comments, but these get indexed and that’s all the bad guys care about. nofollow is crap, and what shows up when you search is what matters.

as an example of how these things work, in a recent blog post of mine a buddy left a comment (see here http://sunshine.livejournal.com/8859.html for the example).

he left a url for his legitimate python/math/music/origami blog in his comment, and now when you search for his blog you find my post placed in the 4th place with the title ‘a jew in a german camp’ (about the ccc camp in germany). he is not pleased, but it is obvious how the bad guys abuse this, and infect millions of computers just because their owners surf the net.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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ISOI 3 is on, and Washington DC is hot

following up on that strange title, isoi 3 (internet security operations and intelligence), a workshop for do-ers who work on the security of the internet and its users, is happening monday and tuesday in washington, dc.

this time around we have even more government participation (we’re in dc, duh), but a bit less from academia (who can try and look at long term solutions), rather than just us security researchers, and operators (who respond, contain and mitigate incidents).

i am very pleased with our progress on encouraging global cooperation, and getting more industry information sharing going. i am also happy we are moving from “just” good-will based relationships to the physical world with our efforts, being able to take things to the next level with world-wide operational task forces and, indeed, affecting change.

if you are interested in this realm of internet security operations, take a look at isoi 3′s schedule, and perhaps submit something for the next workshop.

some reporters are somewhat annoyed that entrance is barred to them, but i hope they’d understand that although we make things public whenever we can as full disclosure is a strong weapon in the fight against cyber crime, folks can not share as openly when they have to be on their toes all the time.

the third isoi is here because after dhs ended up unable to host it, sponsors emerged who were happy to assist:

afilias ltd.: http://www.afilias.info/
icann: http://www.icann.org/
the internet society: http://www.isoc.org/
shinkuro, inc.: http://www.shinkuro.com/

it’s going to be an interesting next week here at the swamp. atendees better show up with their two forms of id. :)

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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eWeek: Estonian Cyber-War Highlights Civilian Vulnerabilities

i posted a column on eweek on what critical infrastructure means, looking back at the estonia incident.

they edited out some of what i had to say on home computers and their impact as a critical infrasrtcuture, but hey, word limitations.

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2166125,00.asp

Gadi Evron,
ge@linuxbox.org

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Using honeypots to fight comment spam

The guys at rustylime describe how they are using a honey pot form fields to detect spam bots.

This method is interesting, since the false positive rate will be close to zero – any decent browser will not show the ‘honey pot’ fields and a human won’t be able to enter information there accidentally. The false negative will be low, since most spam bots will enter information on those fields. The problem, of course, is that the spam bots can be adjusted specifically for rustylime (now that they outlined their spam comment fighting technique), either by looking for these specific field names or by calibrating their spam bots to render the page and filter out invisible parts (this would be a serious technical challenge for the spammers).

Of course, a post on SecuriTeam blogs, a web site that is probably frequently read by spammers, is not going to help them keep a low profile against spammers – so my apologies to the rustylime people. Lets hope their comment spam queue remains clean, and maybe someone can pick this up and find a more generic way to fight comment spam using browser-invisible fields.

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Ecards and email filtering

in the past two weeks, ecards became a major threat.

ecards (or electronic greeting cards) were always a perfect social engineering scheme, open for abuse. with the storm worm and massive exploitation, i believe it has become prudent to filter out all ecard messages in your email systems.

further, some training or awareness information on this subject distributed to your organizations could be very useful.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com

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Alternative Botnet C&Cs – free chapter from Botnets: The Killer Web App

syngress was kind enough to allow me to post the chapter i wrote for botnets: the killer web application here as a free sample.

it is the third chapter in the book, and requires some prior knowledge of what a botnet c&c (command and control) is. it is basic, short, and to my belief covers quite a bit. it had to be short, as i had just 5 days to write it while doing other things, and not planning on any writing, but it is pretty good in my completely unbiased opinion. ;)

you can download it from this link:
http://www.beyondsecurity.com/whitepapers/005_427_botnet_03.pdf

for the full book, you would need to spend the cash.

enjoy!

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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Botnets != Terrorism, or is it? :)

just last week we were throwing jokes on funsec@, of calling botnets terrorism to get some action going. of course, we decided that’s an extremely bad idea as people are already starting to discount issues when “terrorism” or “2.0″ are attached.

no, i am not going to say it, you are going to put these two together on your own! :)

today, fergie (paul ferguson) sent this to funsec:

brian krebs writes in the washington post:

[snip]

the global jihad landed in linda spence’s e-mail inbox during the summer of 2003, in the form of a message urging her to verify her ebay account information. the 35-year-old new jersey resident clicked on the link included in the message, which took her to a counterfeit ebay site where she unwittingly entered in personal financial information.

ultimately, spence’s information wound up in the hands of a young man in the united kingdom who investigators said was the brains behind a terrorist cell that sought to facilitate deadly bombing attacks against targets in the united states, europe and the middle east.

investigators say spence’s stolen data made its way via the internet black market for stolen identities to 21-year-old biochemistry student tariq al-daour, one of three u.k. residents who pleaded guilty

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/05/ar2007070501153.html

enjoy. funny, i just had fun with online forums and terrorism with this a few days ago.

buzzwords for fud are generally a bad idea. botnets are not terrorism. :p but of course, like most malicious activity, they are used.

sunshine.

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IPv6, C&C (not botnets, coffee and cats)

So, someone sent this to NANOG:
An IPv6 address for new cars in 3 years?

From: Rich Emmings
Date: Thu Jun 28 17:47:46 2007

Mark IV systems has a spec for OTTO. Mark IV makes automatic
toll collection and related systems O(Not to mention other
automotive products)

The system spec’s show support for IPv6 and SNMPv3. Notably
absent was IPv4 as far as I could tell. No notes on if the IPv6
would be used for Firmware updates or live data collection.
802.1p radio is the spec’d LLP. O/S is VxWorks.

The expectation is for 100% of new cars to have OTTO around
2010.

http://www.ivhs.com/pdf/FactSheet_OTTO_FactSheet1_101105.pdf

Topicality: Looks like someone, somewhere intends to be live
with IPv6 in 3-5 years.
Off Topic: The privacy and security ramifications boggle the
mind….

Which I didn’t read.

Then, this thread happened:

> – — “Suresh Ramasubramanian” wrote:
>
> >On 6/29/07, Rich Emmings wrote:
> >>
> >> Topicality: Looks like someone, somewhere intends to be live with
> >> IPv6
> >> in 3-5 years. Off Topic: The privacy and security ramifications
> >> boggle
> >> the mind….
> >>
> >
> >Fully mobile, high speed botnets?
>
> *bing*

That last bing was from Paul Ferguson, our Fergie.
If I was drinking coffee, I’d have dropped it!

Other followups included Chris Morrow’s:
> I can’t help it:
>
> “If a bot-car is headed north on I-75 at 73 miles per hour for 3 hours
> and a bot-truck is headed west on I-90 at 67 miles per hour, how long
> until they are 129 miles apart?”

And Steve Bellovin’s:
Hmm — I was going to say 127.1 miles apart, but that’s not a v6
address… 1918 miles apart?

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CFP: ISOI III (a DA workshop)

cfp: isoi iii (a da workshop)
=============================

introduction
————

cfp information and current speakers below.

isoi 3 (internet security operations and intelligence) will be held in
washington dc this august the 27th, 28th.

this time around the folks at us-cert (department of homeland security -
dhs) are hosting. sunbelt software is running the after-party dinner.

we only have a partial agenda at this time (see below), but to remind you of what you will see, here are the previous ones:
http://isotf.org/isoi2.html
http://isotf.org/isoi.html

if you haven’t rsvp’d yet, please do so soon. although we have 240 seats, we are running out of space.

a web page for isoi 3 can be found at: http://isotf.org/isoi3.html

details
——-
27th, 28th august, 2007
washington dc -
aed conference center:
http://www.aedconferencecenter.org/main/html/main.html

registration via contact@isotf.org is mandatory, no cost attached to attending. check if you apply for a seat in our web page.

cfp

this is the official cfp for isoi 3. main subjects include: fastflux, fraud, ddos, botnets. other subjects relating to internet security operations are also welcome.

some of our current speakers as you can see below lecture on anything from estonia’s “war” to current web 2.0 threats in-the-wild.

please email contact@isotf.org as soon as possible to submit a proposal. i will gather them and give them to our committee (jeff moss) for review.

current speakers (before committee decision)
——————————————–

roger thompson (exp labs
- google adwords .. .the dangers of dealing with the russian mafia

barry raveendran greene (cisco)
- what you should be asking me as a routing vendor

john lacour (mark monitor)
- vulnerabilities used to hack sites for phishing
- using xss to track phishers

dan hubbard (websense)
- mpack and honeyjax (web 2.0 honeypots)

april lorenzen
- fastflux: operational update

william salusky (aol)
- the spammer evolves – migration to webmail

hillar aarelaid (estonian cert)
- incident response during the recent attack

Sun Shine (beyond security)
- strategic lessons from the estonian “first internet war”

jose nazarijo (arbor)
- botnet statistics from the estonian attack

andrew fried (treasury department)
- phishing and the irs – new methods

danny mcpherson (arbor)
- tba

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The attacks on Estonia by Russians (or Russia?)

people have been wondering why i’ve been keeping quiet on this issue, especially since i was right there helping out.

a lot of people had information to share and emotions to get out of the way. also, it was really not my place reply on this – with all the work done by the estonians, my contributions were secondary. mr. alexander harrowell discussed this with me off mailing lists, and our discussions are public on his blog. information from bill woodcock on nanog was also sound.

as to what actually happened over there, more information should become available soon and i will send it here. i keep getting stuck when trying to write the post-mortem and attack/defense analysis as i keep hitting a stone wall i did not expect: strategy. suggestions for the future is also a part of that document, so i will speed it up with a more down-to-earth technical analysis (which is what i promised cert-ee).

in the past i’ve been able to consider information warfare as a part of a larger strategy, utilizing it as a weapon. i was able to think of impact and tools, not to mention (mostly) disconnected attacks and defenses.

i keep seeing strategy for the use in information warfare battles as i write this document on what happened in estonia, and i believe i need more time to explore this against my previous take on the issue, as well as take a look at some classics such as clausewitz, as posh as
it may sound.

thanks,

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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War Fears Turn Digital After Data Siege in Estonia

The New York Times carries a good popular-level accounting of what happened in the recent Estonian information warfare incident. Suggested reading.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/29/technology/29estonia.html (subscription required)
Syndicated: Times Daily

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Botnets are old-fashioned – P2P networks are behind of massive DDoS attacks

The new trend in organizing Distributed Denial of Service attacks are P2P networks.

This is the way how Netcraft describes the situation:

large numbers of client computers running P2P software are tricked into requesting a file from the intended target of the DDoS, allowing the attacker to use the P2P network to overwhelm the target site with traffic.

The Netcraft entry points to FL-based Prolexic Technologies alert too sharing more technical details and information about the number of clients and the traffic being generated.
A very nice catch, Rich Miller of Netcraft!

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DDoS against Finnish broadcasting company took 3 days

Today was the third day when the Web site of Finnish broadcasting company YLE (Yleisradio) suffer problems of large-scale DDoS attack.

From the YLE News site:

The company’s web pages were targeted by of a concerted attack on Monday and Tuesday. Two other major web sites, those of the telecommunications service provider Eniro, and the Suomi24 portal also reported similar attack.

There are several possible motives – Finland was the host of Eurovision Song Contest 2007 last weekend and our second place in hockey World Championship during the next day.

Some people said earlier that there was connections to recent DoS attacks on Estonian government sites too.

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From broadband routers insecurity to significance of what we do

fergie replied on nanog to my recent post on the subject of broadband routers insecurity:

> i’ll even go a step further, and say that if isps keep punting
> on the whole botnet issue, and continue to think of themselves
> as ‘common carriers’ in some sense — and continue to disengage
> on the issue — then you may eventually forced to address those
> issues at some point in the not-so-distant future.
>
> i understand the financial disincentives, etc., but if the problem
> continues to grow and fester, and consumer (and financial institutions)
> losses grow larger, things may take a really ugly turn.

he is right, but i have a comment i felt it was important – to me – to make. not just on this particular vulnerability, but on the “war”.

i must admit, vulnerabilities are endless and new exploitation vectors will never end, even if it was possible and we were all 100% secure, someone (an attacker rather than a vulnerability) will find a way to make it 99% again for the right investment or with the right moment of brilliance.

enough with cheap philosophy though… as tired (even exhausted) as i am of the endless repeating circle which security is, on all levels (from the people involved through the interests involved all the way to the same-old-fud) i still haven’t burned out, and i am still here.

the world isn’t going to end tomorrow, and even if the internet was to die (which i doubt it will), we will survive. however, in the recent couple of years a new community has been forming which we started refering to as “internet security operations”. these folks, for various motives, work to make the internet stay up and become safer (actually being safe is a long lost battle we should have never fought the way things were built).

with such a community being around, treating issues beyond our little corner of the `net is possible to a level, and at least some progress is made. some anti virus engineers no longer care only about samples, some network engineers no longer care only about their networks, etc.

is any of this a solution? no. the problems themselves will not go away, they aren’t in any significant fashion currently being dealt with beyond the tactical level of a fire brigade.

is it the end than? of course not. but operations vs. research are determined by intelligence. as we have some intelligence, i can point to yet another annoying vulnerability in the endless circle which those of us who will want to, can study, and if they feel it is justified, defend
against. that is the broadband routers issue, which personally i’d really rather avoid.

unfortunately, this limited defense is what most of us can do at our own homes, or tops as a volunteer fire brigade or neighborhood watch.

the internet is the most disconnected global village i can imagine, but we all have the funny uncle on another network and a weird one on yet another. i sometimes feel that the old analogy of the internet to the wild west is not quite it. perhaps we are living in the wild west, only if instead of wastelands and small towns, we have new york city and the laws
of a feudal dark ages kingdom.

things will eventually change, and some of us will stick around to help that change (or try to). for now though, it is about one vulnerability ignored at a time, and working on our communities.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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Malware went commerical

In a post by Brian Krebs in the Washington post, Brian describes how Virus (malware) makers have started to spend cash on buying sponsored links of high-profile keywords which get regularly visited by poorly patched people so that they can infect them with malwares.

One such high-profile keyword is the BBB, the Better Business Bureau, which as you would guess it most average joes would go to visit and will look for, while buying something like Slashdot won’t :) .

This of course is an interesting move, though not so much unexpected. I can see an “legit-company” coming soon, where a company of such malware distribution will have an R&D – create new malwares and find new vulnerabilities, Marketing – buy high profile keywords, or generally get people interested in your malware infected web site and Sales – sell bot nets and infected/hacked computers for money type of organizations.

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A Botted Fortune 500 a Day

support intelligence releases daily reports on different fortune 500
companies which are heavily affected by the botnet problem, with many
compromised machines on their networks.

you can find more information on their blog:
http://blog.support-intelligence.com/

they are good people, and they know botnets.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

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