fm points to Gadi Evron who writes an impassioned plea for openness in security. Why? He makes a case that we don't know the half of what the bad guys are up to. His message goes something like this:
DDoS -> recursive DNS -> Fast Flux -> C2 Servers -> rendevous in cryptographic domainname space -> bots -> Phishing
Connecting the dots is a current fad in america, and I really enjoyed those above. I just wish I knew what even half of them meant. Evron's message is that there are plenty of dots for us all to connect, so many that the tedium of imminent solution is not an issue. He attempted to describe them a bit later with his commentary on the recent SSL phishing news:
Some new disturbing phishing trends from the past year:
POST information in the mail message
That means that the user fills his or her data in the HTML email message itself, which then sends the information to a legit-looking site. The problem with that, is how do you convince an ISP that a real (compromised) site is indeed a phishing site, if there is no phishy-looking page there, but rather a script hiding somewhere?
This is an increasing problem. People get infected with these bots, zombies or whatever else you’d like to call them and then start sending out the phishing spam, while alternating the IP address of the phishing server, which brings us to…
Fast Flux is a term coined in the anti spam world to describe such Trojan horses’ activity. The DNS RR leading to the phishing server keeps changing, with a new IP address (or 10) every 10 minutes to a day. Trying to keep up and eliminate these sites before they move again is frustrating and problematic, making the bottle-neck the DNS RR which needs to be nuked.
We may be able to follow that, but the bigger question is how to cope with it. Even if you can follow the description, dealing with all three of the above is going to stretch any skilled practitioner. And that's Evron's point:
What am I trying to say here?
All these activities are related, and therefore better coordination needs to be done much like we do on the DA and MWP groups, cross-industry and open-minded. R&D to back up operations is critical, as what’s good for today may be harmful tomorrow (killing C&C’s as an example).
The industry needs to get off its high tree and see the light. There are good people who never heard about BGP but eat Trojans (sounds bad) for breakfast, and others need to see that just because some don’t know how to read binary code doesn’t mean they are not amazingly skilled and clued with how the network runs.
This is not my research alone. I can only take credit for seeing the macro image and helping to connect the dots, as well as facilitate cooperation across our industry. Still, as much as many of this needs to remain quiet and done in secret-hand-shake clubs, a lot of this needs to get public and get public attention.
Over-compartmentalizing and over-secrecy hurts us too, not just the US military. If we deal in secret only with what needs to be dealt in secret, people may actually keep that secret better, and more resources can be applied to deal with it.
Some things are handled better when they are public, as obviously the bad guys already know about them and share them quite regularly. “Like candy” when it comes to malware samples, as an example.
The Internet threat level is now systemic, and has been since the arisal of industrialised phishing, IMO. I've written many times before about the secrecy of the browser sector in dealing with phishing, and how the professional cryptographic community washed its hands of the problem. Microsoft's legendary castles of policy need no reminder, and it's not as if Apple, Sun, Symantec, Verisign or any other security company would ever do any better in measures of openness.
Now someone over the other side of the phishing war is saying that he sees yet other tribes hiding in their fiefdoms, and I don't even know which tribes he's referring to. Gadi Evron concludes:
-opinion-Our fault, us, the people who run these communities and global efforts, for being over-secretive on issues that should be public and thus also neglecting the issues that should really remain under some sort of secrecy, plus preventing you from defending yourself.Posted by iang at February 19, 2006 08:03 AM | TrackBack
Us, for being snobbish dolts and us, for thinking we invented the wheel, not to mention that we know everything or some of us who try to keep their spots of power and/or status by keeping new blood out (AV industry especially, the net-ops community is not alone in the sin of hubris).
It’s time to wake up. The Internet is not about to die tomorrow and there is a lot of good effort from a lot of good people going around. Amazing even, but it is time to wake up and move, as we are losing the battle and the eventual war.
Cyber-crime is real crime, only using the net. Cyber-terrorism will be here one day. If we can’t handle what we have on our plate today or worse, think we are OK, how will we handle it when it is here?