Archive | April, 2010

The Hackers Manifesto By The Mentor – Hacker Text

Keep on Guard!


This Hackers Manifesto is a seminal piece of writing from the underground, the ultimate hacker text, forgotten by many but adored by many more. It still resonates with me and has as much meaning as it did back in the day when I first read it in Phrack Issue 7.

The Hackers Manifesto


If you don’t know anything about the Hacker Manifesto or have never even heard of it, read it and read it carefully. It dates back to 1986 and was penned by Loyd Blankenship AKA The Mentor shortly after his arrest by the FBI for computer related crimes (more at Wikipedia).

The Hackers Manifesto – Hacker Text

I found an ancient copy of The Hackers Manifesto when I was switching over the new server and thought it’d probably be better if I posted it up here on the new site instead of in the nasty old HTML.

I guess many of you have read it before, and I hope you enjoy reading it again. My main aim though is to introduce it to newer people in the industry and hope they share it amongst their peers as it still embodies the hacker ethos and is the ultimate hacker manifesto.

If you enjoyed this you can also check out the seminal hacking piece Writing Worms for Fun or Profit.

Posted in: Hacker Culture

Topic: Hacker Culture


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China Reports Millions Of Conficker Infections

Keep on Guard!


Conficker has been giving us all headaches for quite some time now, the latest news it that China hosts up to 28% of the World Conficker infections at its peak.

7 million separate hosts infected with Conficker at the end of 2009, that’s more than the population of some countries!

It’s a pretty nasty piece of malware and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, especially with many new nations, cities & areas coming online with users inexperienced in the ways of the web – more infections are bound to happen.

China last year hosted more than one in four of the world’s computers infected with a major variant of the Conficker worm, according to an official report, highlighting the wide reach of malware inside the country. China had about 7 million Internet Protocol (IP) addresses infected with Conficker B at the end of last year, according to a recent annual security report posted on the Web site of China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT). The number of infections varied during the second half of the year, which the report covered, but was higher than 5 million during all but one week.

The huge figures gave China up to 28 percent of the world’s Conficker B infections depending on the week, the report shows.The controllers of Conficker so far have hardly used their network of infected computers, but they could potentially use it to launch a crippling denial-of-service attack by ordering all of the computers to contact a victim server at the same time.

7 million infected hosts, that’s one mean looking DDoS network right there. That’s assuming all the Conficker infections are controlled by the same herders (which IMHO is unlikely). There are probably multiple groups using variations of the same malware, different infection vectors and different control channels.

I wonder if they are going to do anything with Conficker because Conficker Day on April 1st last year was a non-event and when they did start dropping some payloads – well nothing much happened either.

Malware is a growing problem worldwide, but Chinese PC users may be more easily hit than others. Over 4 percent of China’s more than 380 million Internet users run no security software, according to a recent survey. Software piracy is also rampant in the country, with unlicensed versions of Windows XP running on many PCs that are unlikely to receive regular security updates.

Conficker began spreading late in 2008 and has become the most widespread known botnet. But attention to the worm fell off last year when April 1, a day the worm was due to update, came and passed without incident. Millions of PCs worldwide remain infected with the worm.

China also had anywhere from 125,000 to over 300,000 IPs infected with Conficker C during the second half of last year, giving it up to 20 percent of the world’s infections for that variant, according to the report.

The figures from the China based report are considerably higher than those from Shadowserver, which as of April 2010 only reports about 2 million Conficker infections in China (stats here).

I would say the problems in China have many angles, the main ones being pirated software leaving users with vulnerable software and lack of education meaning people aren’t using Antivirus software and are wide open to infections.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Malware

Topic: Malware


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Netsparker Community Edition – Web Application Security Scanner

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Netsparker is a Web Application Security Scanner that claims to be False-Positive Free. The developers thought that if you need to investigate every single identified issue manually what’s the point of having an automated scanner? So they developed a new technology which can confirm vulnerabilities on demand which allowed us to develop the first false positive free web application security scanner.

When Netsparker identifies an SQL Injection, it can identify how to exploit it automatically and extract the version information from the application. When the version is successfully extracted Netsparker will report the issue as confirmed so that you can make sure that the issue is not a false-positive.

Same applies to other vulnerabilities such as XSS (Cross-site Scripting) where Netsparker loads the injection in an actual browser and observes the execution of JavaScript to confirm that the injection will actually get executed in the browser.

Thanks to its comprehensive and powerful JavaScript engine it’s possible to simulate a real attacker successfully. This means it can successfully analyse websites that rely on AJAX and JavaScript.

You don’t need to be a security expert, get training or read a long manual to start. Since the user interface is easy to use and can confirm and show you the impact, you can just fire it up and start using it.

Netsparker - Community Edition

You can download Netsparker – Community Edition here:

NetSparkerCommunityEditionSetup.exe

Or read more here.

Posted in: Countermeasures, Database Hacking, Security Software, Web Hacking

Topic: Countermeasures, Database Hacking, Security Software, Web Hacking


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Oracle Releases Emergency Patch for Java Vulnerability

Keep on Guard!


After informing a researcher just a few days ago that “they do not consider this vulnerability to be of high enough priority to break their quarterly patch cycle” they have made a 180 turn on the issue and pushed out an emergency patch to mitigate against the Serious Java Bug That Exposes Users To Code Execution.

They fell under heavy criticism after their statement as it was demonstrated by multiple people that the vulnerability was fairly trivial to exploit and could cause some serious damage.

I’m glad to see they took the proactive step of understanding the vulnerability and pushing out a patch. I just wish they would fix the way in which Java manages updates (multiple redundant copies of the software with minor differences).

Under criticism for not patching a critical vulnerability in its recently acquired Java virtual machine, Oracle on Thursday released an emergency update that eliminates the zero-day threat.

Functionality in the Java Web Start component made it trivial for attackers to remotely execute malicious code on end-user machines. Tavis Ormandy, one of the researchers who first discovered the threat, said he alerted Java handlers inside Oracle’s Sun division, but they decided no patch was necessary before the next update release scheduled for July.

It would appear that Oracle officials had a change of heart. On early Thursday, they pushed out Java 6, update 20, which makes changes to the Java Network Launch Protocol, according to release notes. The JNLP is closely associated with Java Web Start, which makes it easy for end users to install custom libraries needed to run Java applications.

Java 6, Update 20 is now publicly available and seems at least in part to fix the issue. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week when researchers have had some time to do more extensive testing to see if the issue is actually properly fixed.

There are unconfirmed reports however that the patch doesn’t completely eliminate the vulnerability. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not totally fixed, but I’ll be happy to see it is. But then from the report it only effects the way in which the Firefox plugin deals with the update so the majority (IE users) should be safe.

There are unconfirmed reports that the patch doesn’t completely eliminate the threat, most notably in this Google translation of a report from Heise. A researcher who asked not to be named said there may be upgrade problems with the npapi plugin used by Firefox that may leave a stale version behind. Internet Explorer should be safe, however.

The out-of-cycle update is a smart move, but Oracle still has unfinished work to make Java patching more seamless. First, Java needs to stop flogging the Yahoo Toolbar each time an update is available. Patches are about security, not marketing the unwanted bloat of partners.

Another gripe we’ve long had about Java updates is that they reset some default settings. A case in point: If you have Java configured to check for updates daily, instead of monthly as the program does by default, you’ll have to reset that preference each and every time you update. That means it could take a full 30 days to get critical security patches like the one released Thursday.

I have to agree with the comments about the Java updates, I just noticed a few days ago my Firefox had about 15 Java add-ons from all the previous versions of the JVM. Why can’t it just upgrade over the existing version like every other sane piece of software does?

Anyway it’s a good move by Oracle and I hope more companies follow suit by taking security issues seriously and dealing with them in a timely fashion.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Countermeasures, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Secure Coding

Topic: Countermeasures, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Secure Coding


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PBNJ – Network Architecture Monitoring Tool

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


PBNJ is a suite of tools to monitor changes on a network over time. It does this by checking for changes on the target machine(s), which includes the details about the services running on them as well as the service state. PBNJ parses the data from a scan and stores it in a database. PBNJ uses Nmap to perform scans.

What does PBNJ do?

Depending on what you need, PBNJ can do various things. It is able to give a layout of a class network. It can also be run as an automated scanning tool parsing the data to CSV format files and growing an in-depth view of a network over time.

  • Automated Internal/External Scans
  • Flexible Querying/Alerting System
  • Parsing Nmap XML results
  • Easy access to Nmap’s data in a database (SQLite, MySQL or Postgres)
  • Distributed Scanning Consoles and Engines
  • Runs on Linux, BSD and Windows
  • Packaged for Debian, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Backtrack and nUbuntu

You can download PBNJ here:

pbnj-2.04.tar.gz

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Posted in: Countermeasures, Networking Hacking, Security Software

Topic: Countermeasures, Networking Hacking, Security Software


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Hackers Penetrate Apache.org In Direct Targeted Attack

Keep on Guard!


This is not the first time Apache.org has been hacked, it was comprised back in September 2009 using SSH keys.

This time another targeted attack against the site was successful and allowed the attackers to capture the passwords of users logging into the bug-tracking service. It also exposed the entire password list, which sadly although hashed was salted with a static salt rather than a random one..so it’s vulnerable to brute-forcing.

I’d say a good set of Rainbow Tables would make short work of it.

Hackers penetrated the heavily-fortified servers for Apache.org in a “direct, targeted attack” that captured the passwords of anyone who used the website’s bug-tracking service over a three-day span last week.

The breach, the second to hit Apache.org in eight months, also exposed a much larger list of passwords belonging to people who accessed the site’s bug-tracking section. While the databases used a one-way hash to disguise the passwords, two of the lists are vulnerable to dictionary attacks because Atlassian, the maker of issue-tracking software used by Apache, failed to add “random salt” to them.

As a result, Apache officials said users who logged in to the bug section of the website from April 6 to April 9 “should consider the password as compromised, because the attackers changed the login form to log them.” They also warned that there’s a high risk of compromise to other users if they employed simple passwords based on dictionary words.

If you are a user of Apache.org and the bug tracker in particular and you logged in between April 6th and April 9th, you should consider your password comprised. That means change your password and if you use the same password anywhere else, change those too.

Personally if I had a login there I’d change my password regardless, because given enough time and processing power most of the hashed passwords can be cracked.

I think Apache.org should mandate a forceful password change for all accounts in the system for security reasons, I don’t think anyone would complain.

The intrusion began on April 5 when unknown attackers using a hacked server from Slicehost opened a new bug report on Apache.org. The post contained a shortened web link from tinyurl.com that exploited an XSS, or cross-site scripting, vulnerability on Apache’s support website.

The hole was the result of a bug in JIRA, the issue-tracking software made by a company called Atlassian. The exploit was designed to steal session cookies used to authenticate people logged in to Apache’s JIRA system. When several Apache administrators following the fraudulent bug report clicked on the on the malicious link, their JIRA administrator rights were then compromised.

The attackers also carried out a brute-force attack that flooded the site with hundreds of thousands of password combinations. By April 6, one of the two methods allowed the attackers to gain full administrative rights on the JIRA system. For three days, the hackers used their powers to copy users’ home directories and files and to install a program that logged the passwords of anyone accessing the system.

The initial attack vector was an XSS against the admins of the bug-tracking software which enabled the attackers to compromise their accounts and get further access to the system.

The full postmortem from the Apache team is here:

apache.org incident report for 04/09/2010

The same virtual host also attacked Atlassian directly and comprised their customer accounts.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Hacking News, Privacy

Topic: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Hacking News, Privacy


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