Feeds

Sub7 vid Trojan can launch distributed attacks

A terrible beauty is born

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Last week we expressed doubts about a report from security outfit NETSEC, claiming that they had found a new Trojan capable of launching DDoS attacks.

Their "new" Trojan turned out to be Sub7, a remote administration package which had been around for years, and which we deemed an improbable candidate for DDoS.

After discovering first that NETSEC was wrong about the novelty of their discovery, and after assessing the relatively low threat Sub7 posed in the DDoS arena, we drew the natural conclusion that the company was yanking the media's chain for attention.

Subsequent e-mail correspondence between The Register and NETSEC executives further persuaded us that the company did not have its facts straight, and was scrambling for after-the-fact validation of its original claims.

Now we learn that NETSEC was on the right track after all, and if they had simply waited until they had a firm handle on their find instead of disgorging inaccurate data through the media in their rush to get attention, they might have spared themselves a significant PR cock-up, and won some serious props in the security community.

As it turns out, the most recent build of Sub7 contains an undocumented feature which can indeed be used to ping the living hell out of Web servers, from numerous infected clients simultaneously, according to research just completed by security outfit iDefense.

Sub7 has long used an IRC feature which logs the infected servers into an IRC channel of the operator's choosing, to notify the operator of which victims are on line. At that point the operator can log on to a victim's computer using the Sub7 client, and go about whatever remote administration tasks he had in mind.

A later feature configured the IRC bots to listen for commands entered in the IRC channel, which would be executed simultaneously by all the victims logged into it.

Now for the interesting bit: Although the Sub7 crew has decided not to document it, IRC bots in the new build will listen for and respond to ping and mping commands, iDefense Chief Scientist Sammy Migues told The Register.

So, if one has managed to infect, say, a thousand victims, and could reasonably expect perhaps 250 of them to be on line together at any given time, one could run an mping command through all of them simultaneously.

An attacker can choose a target IP; command the 250 victim machines to send say, one million packets of 64K each; and, voila, an instant, and distributed, ping flood.

The complete iDefense report is posted here in PDF format, for those who wish to acquaint themselves with all the gruesome technical details. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.