Feeds

Hunt for Code Red authors turns into witch hunt

29A deny involvement

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Reports that the author of the infamous Code Red worm belong to virus writing group 29A have been comprehensively refuted by hacking groups and security experts alike.

In the run-up to the Hackers at Large (HAL) conference in Holland last weekend, the German newswire DPA carried reports that "computer security experts" had identified the "Dutch hacker group 29A" as source of Code Red by means of "information from online forums".

In fact, 29A are a largely Spanish group one of whose former members, Wintermute, wrote a DOS virus called RedCode, which has nothing to do with the Code Red worm.

Mental Driller, a member of 29A, has sent an email out denying its involvement in the development of Code Red, which contained destructive code that his "research virus programming group" would not include in their viruses, which he claimed were designed to show up system vulnerabilities.

We're not inclined to take statement from virus writers at face value but Mental Driller's statement is backed Frank Rieger, of respected white-hat hackers the Chaos Computer Club as well as antivirus experts.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus vendor Sophos, said Code Red was "unlikely" to have been written by 29A because the worm didn't fit with their "style or method of attack".

29A, Hexadecimal for 666, features in the source code of Code Red and this may have led to people jumping to conclusions about the involvement of the group in writing the worm, Cluley suggested.

Frank Rieger, of Chaos Computer Club, said that erroneous reports that 29A were Dutch had caused stress for organisers of the HAL conference who feared that the DPA article would provide an excuse for the authorities to come down hard on them.

Meanwhile almost a month after its first appearance on the Internet there are few leads as to who might be behind the creation of the Code Red worm.

As previously reported, both the Code Red Worm and a more virulent variant, Code Red II, exploit a well known flaw to infect Windows servers running IIS. Once installed the worm scans the Internet for other vulnerable servers. Code Red II also has the potential to give an attacker system level access to compromised systems. ®

Related Stories

MS internal network whacked by Code Red
Son of Code Red is born
Internet survives Code Red
IIS worm made to packet Whitehouse.gov
IIS buffer-overrun attack has been scripted

External Links

RedCode by 29A
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (English home page, which doesn't contain links to stories)

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
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.