16 April 2008 | 23,796 views

Hackers Could Become The Hacked?

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It looks like someone is going after the bad guys in a new way, by hacking them back! It’s no news to us that many hacking tools and script kiddy trojan kits are badly programmed..a lot of them have back-doors and the client-side tools have easy exploits that enable you to take over the ‘hackers’ machine.

It’s certainly an interesting approach.

Eriksson, a researcher at the Swedish security firm Bitsec, uses reverse-engineering tools to find remotely exploitable security holes in hacking software. In particular, he targets the client-side applications intruders use to control Trojan horses from afar, finding vulnerabilities that would let him upload his own rogue software to intruders’ machines.

He demoed the technique publicly for the first time at the RSA conference Friday.

“Most malware authors are not the most careful programmers,” Eriksson said. “They may be good, but they are not the most careful about security.”

He’s turned his attention to quite a few of the more popular pieces of mass-distributed malware and found holes in all of them. Those labeled as Remote Administration Tools (RATs) were extremely popular back in the days when Back Orifice, Netbus and Deepthroat first hit the scene. They are still used nowadays but there are newer variants.

Eriksson first attempted the technique in 2006 with Bifrost 1.1, a piece of free hackware released publicly in 2005. Like many so-called remote administration tools, or RATs, the package includes a server component that turns a compromised machine into a marionette, and a convenient GUI client that the hacker runs on his own computer to pull the hacked PC’s strings.

Pcshare_2Using traditional software attack tools, Eriksson first figured out how to make the GUI software crash by sending it random commands, and then found a heap overflow bug that allowed him to install his own software on the hacker’s machine.

The Bifrost hack was particularly simple since the client software trusted that any communication to it from a host was a response to a request the client had made. When version 1.2 came out in 2007, the hole seemed to be patched, but Eriksson soon discovered it was just slightly hidden.

It’ll be interesting to see what else he comes up with and if he can break into any of the big botnets like Storm or Kraken using this method.

That would certainly herald some interesting news.

Source: Wired Blog and thanks to Pantagruel for the heads up.



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3 Responses to “Hackers Could Become The Hacked?”

  1. zupakomputer 16 April 2008 at 2:31 pm Permalink

    It hadn’t surprised me to see the amount of comments to some of the tools postings claiming they are viruses etc….

    same kind of idea as honeytraps really; at the end of the day right enough – if you’re using a machine to remote control another machine, then you’re also most likely using existing tools to mask your ID while you do that, and that means as long as the link is active it’s certainly probable.

    It’s trickier to resolve the originator if there’s no head node(s), and if they’ve written their own specialist hiding configs on a control node.

    Still though, when it comes to finding who’s behind a spam-ad blight….they could just check the addresses of where the products are mailed from, and how you go about ordering them in the first place. You won’t necessarily locate the computer people, but you’ll find someone that hired them.

    And if no to that last bit – well, can I get a safe place like that to order ganj from then? Well?

  2. fever 17 April 2008 at 4:35 am Permalink

    agreed

    it could be too easy to backtrack a hacker out the hole he came in.
    imagine breaking into storm or kraken and using them against the builder of the botnet., or just that little script kiddie who keeps bothering you. the possibilities are almost endless.

  3. Yash Kadakia 20 April 2008 at 9:01 pm Permalink

    I’m not surprised to see this happening, so many people use this tools with no understanding of them.

    A while back I did some research on the same; and I found tons of Keyloggers and Backdoor Softwares that had holes and backdoors in the client.

    I recently encountered a Remote Administration software, on reverse engineering we found that by sending the client a series of packets in a predefined order; it was possible to have the server run on that particular system.

    I personally use Sandboxie (http://www.sandboxie.com), to analyze any unknown or suspect worthy files.