Feeds

Defacement contest likely to target Web hosting firms

Lock up your server farms

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A defacement challenge scheduled for Sunday is likely to target Web hosting companies rather than individual Web sites.

Defacement archive site Zone-H reasons that crackers will target Web sites they have already rooted because of the limited time set aside for the challenge.

The 'rules' of the challenge state that there will not be any difference when counting a single defacement (single IP) or a mass-defacement (many domain names on the same IP), so Zone-H reasons, hosting firms will be the main target.

"Given time frame will be only six hours, what is mostly going to happen is that a lot of Web hosting companies will be hit, instead than single servers belonging to different companies," Zone-H reports.

Due to the sharp decrease of the defacement over the last few days, Zone-H reasons crackers rooting possible targets without defacing them, so to be ready with a lot of ready-to-be-defaced targets to be used on the contest day. The defacement competition challenges crackers to deface as many as 6,000 sites in the shortest time possible to win the contest.

Point values are based on the operating systems hacked and defaced. HP-UX, Apple, and IBM-AIX are worth more points due to their limited use as Web-hosting platforms, and because they are targeted less often than Microsoft and Linux-based systems.

Zone-H is forecasting anywhere from 20,000 attacks might arise from the challenge. However it is downplaying fears that mass disruption of Internet services due to the attacks.

"A mass-defacement (even of several thousands domain names) is usually conducted opening a single connection to the attacked server," it reasons.

Defacement attacks occur all the time, not only during a mass hacking contest. But in the run up to the latest hacking spree there's all the more reason to shore up security defences.

Zone-H recommends the following general security precautions to sysadmins:

  • Download and apply all security patches
  • Shut down all the unnecessary modules on a Web server
  • Close all the unnecessary ports

It's also a wise precaution to check for the presence of any backdoor/rootkit on systems. Tell tale signs include: freshly added unknown users, suspicious connections on open port and suspicious shell program. Spotting these kinds of problems is where vulnerability scanners come in useful.



Finally, in the know thy enemy category, Zone-H, reminds sysadmins of the most common vulnerabilities targeted by defacers. These include flaws in the following packages/services: OpenSSL, Samba, Webdav, Frontpage extension misconfiguration, AIX ftpd, Solaris telnetd, Sendmail, Wuftpd, Proftpd, PHPnuke (not for mass defacement but still an ever present risk), OmniBack II and Cpanel.

Let's be careful out there. ®

External Links

Zone-H.org statement about the announced defacement challenge/a> as ISS recommends "increased vigilance"

Related Stories

Mass hack takes out govt sites
Hacktivists DDoS 10 Downing St site
Want to know how RIAA.org was hacked?
'Relax, It Was a Honeypot'

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.