Cisco

Stories related to Cisco and their products

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

Google, Service Providers and the Future of P2P

in a non-operational nanog discussion about google bandwidth uses, several statements were made. it all started from the following post by mark boolootian:

> cringley has a theory and it involves google, video, and oversubscribed backbones:
> http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070119_001510.html

in the discussion, the following statement was made by rodrick brown:

> the following comment has to be one of the most important comments in
> the entire article and its a bit disturbing.
>
> “right now somewhat more than half of all internet bandwidth is being
> used for bittorrent traffic, which is mainly video. yet if you
> surveyed your neighbors you’d find that few of them are bittorrent
> users. less than 5 percent of all internet users are presently
> consuming more than 50 percent of all bandwidth.”

from there it went down-hill with discussion of the future, with the venice project (streaming p2p for tv), etc. being mentioned. some points were raised about how isps currently fight p2p technologies and may fight these new worlds of functionality, denying what the users want rather than work with them, citing as we have seen above that today, a very small percentage of internet users account for about 50% of all internet traffic. that of course, will increase dramatically in the future — it is where the users want to go.

the isps inhibit this progress, just like in my opinion a bad security “guy” or “gal” would try to prevent functionality from their users as part of their security strategy, rather than work with their users and enable functionality first.

in this discussion, randy bush (who i have had my share of strong disagreements with in the past) said the following, which is admirable:

> the heavy hitters are long known. get over it.
>
> i won’t bother to cite cho et al. and similar actual measurement
> studies, as doing so seems not to cause people to read them, only to say
> they already did or say how unlike japan north america is. the
> phenomonon is part protocol and part social.
>
> the question to me is whether isps and end user borders (universities,
> large enterprises, …) will learn to embrace this as opposed to
> fighting it; i.e. find a business model that embraces delivering what
> the customer wants as opposed to winging and warring against it.
>
> if we do, then the authors of the 2p2 protocols will feel safe in
> improving their customers’ experience by taking advantage of
> localization and proximity, as opposed to focusing on subverting
> perceived fierce opposition by isps and end user border fascists. and
> then, guess what; the traffic will distribute more reasonably and not
> all sum up on the longer glass.

it has been a long time since i bowed before mr. bush’s wisdom, but indeed, i bow now in a very humble fashion.

thing is though, it is equivalent to one or all of the following:
. eff-like thinking (sticking to the moral high-ground or (at times!) impractical concepts. stuff to live by.
. (very) forward thinking (not yet possible for people to get behind – by people i mean those who do this daily), likely to encounter much resistence until it becomes mainstream a few years down the road.
. not connected with what can currently happen to affect change, but rather how things really are which people can not yet accept.

as randy is obviously not much affected when people disagree with him (much the same as me), nor should he be, i am sure he will preach this until it becomes real. with that in mind, if many of us believe this is a philosophical as well as a technological truth — what can be done today to affect this change?

the service providers are not evil — they do this out of operational necessity and business needs. how can this change or shown to be wrong?

some examples may be:
. working with network gear vendors to create better equipment built to handle this and lighten the load.
. working on establishing new standards and topologies to enable both vendors and providers to adopt them.
. presenting case studies after putting our money where our mouth is, and showing how we made it work in a live network.

staying in the philosophical realm is more than respectable, but waiting for fussp-like wide-adoption or for sheep to fly is not going to change the world, much.

for now, the p2p folks who in most cases are not eveel “internet pirates”, are mostly allied whether in name or in practice with illegal activities. the technology isn’t illegal and can be quite good for all of us to save quite a bit of bandwidth rather than waste it (quite a bit of redundancy there!).

so, instead of fighting progress and seeing it [p2p technology] left in the hands of the “pirates” and the privacy folks trying to bypass the firewall of

, why not utilize it?

how can service providers make use of all this redundancy among their top talkers and remove the privacy advocates and warez freaks from the picture, leaving that front with less technology and legitimacy while helping themselves?

this is a pure example of a problem from the operational front [realm] which can be floated to research and the industry, with smarter solutions than port blocking and qos.

it’s about progress and how change is affected and feared, not about who is evil. it is about who will step up and make a difference, and whether business today is smart enough to lead the road rather than adapt after the avalanche has already fallen.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

CCC: Router and Infrastructure Hacking

1. at ccc last week raven alder gave a talk on the subject (router and infrastructure hacking), which was pretty neat!

i figure some of you may enjoy this. i hope the video for her talk becomes available soon.

http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/fahrplan/attachments/1197-ccc_infrastructure_hacking_12_29_06.ppt

2. there was also a lecture on sflow, by elisa jasinska:
video:
ftp://ftp.fortunaty.net/video/23c3/wmv/sflow-t4s2.wmv
presentation and paper:
http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/fahrplan/attachments/1229-sflow.pdf
http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/fahrplan/attachments/1137-sflowpaper.pdf

3. i do wish the talk on how ccc set up their multiple-uplink gige network for the conference was filmed, i call this type of “create an isp in 24 hours”, in a very very hostile and busy environment such as at defcon or ccc “extreme networking”.

they got their own asn for 4 days. set up a hosting farm, surfing, mass wireless, etc. for users, and what-not. discovered a wireless network vulnerability, a router dos with nexthop memory issues, etc.
not to mention having to fight off ddoss non stop, fake aps, thousands of active and abusive users and bgp (i really liked their presentation on ripe’s bgplay – very cool stuff – http://www.ris.ripe.net/bgplay/ ).

3000 end points. 1.6 gigs up, 1.0 gigs down.

their slides are up at:

http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/fahrplan/attachments/1231-23c3-noc-review.pdf

as mentioned before, ccc itself was very good and a lot of fun, there are many other presentations and videos available for download:

ftp://ftp.fortunaty.net/video/23c3/wmv/
http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/fahrplan/index.en.html

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.

Drop zones and an intelligence war

in this post ( http://www.phenoelit.net/lablog/irresponsible.sl ), fx describes a drop zone for a phishing/banking trojan horse, and how he got to it.

go fx. i will refrain from commenting on the report he describes from secure science, which i guess is a comment on its own.

we had the same thing happen twice before in 2006 (that is worth mentioning or can be, in public).

once with a very large “security intelligence” company giving drop zone data in a marketing attempt to get more bank clients (“hey buddy, why are 400 banks surfing to our drop zone?!?!)

twice with a guy at defcon showing a live drop zone, and the data analysis for it, asking for it to be taken down (it wasn’t until a week later during the same lecture at the first isoi workshop hosted by cisco). for this guy’s defense though, he was sharing information. in a time where nearly no one was aware of drop zones even though they have been happening for years, he shared data which was valuable commercially, openly, and allowed others to clue up on the threats.

did anyone ever consider this is an intelligence source, and take down not being exactly the smartest move?

it’s enough that the good guys all fight over the same information, and even the most experienced security professionals make mistakes that cost in millions of usd daily, but publishing drop zone ips publicly? that can only result in a lost intelligence source and the next one being, say, not so available.

i believe in public information and the harm of over-secrecy, i am however a very strong believer that some things are secrets for a reason. what can we expect though, when the security industry is 3 years behind and we in the industry are all a bunch of self-taught amateurs having fun with our latest discoveries.

at least we have responsible folks like fx around to take care of things when others screw up.

i got tired of being the bad guy calling “the king is naked”, at least in this case we can blame fx. :)

it’s an intelligence war people, and it is high time we got our act together.

i will raise this subject at the next isoi workshop hosted by microsoft
( http://isotf.org/isoi2.html ) and see what bright ideas we come up with.

gadi evron,
ge@beyondsecurity.com.