Feeds

Black hats attack gaping DNS hole

Fake Google exploit 'wildly mature'

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Miscreants are actively exploiting a gaping hole in the internet's address lookup system that can cause millions of web surfers to receive counterfeit pages when they try to access online banking services and other types of websites.

The first confirmed instance came on Tuesday, when security researcher H D Moore discovered a domain-name service server operated by AT&T had been compromised. The attack caused Moore and other AT&T subscribers to be redirected to a fake Google page that tried to push affiliate advertising sites.

According to Dan Kaminsky, the researcher who first warned of the DNS vulnerability, "there are definitely other confirmed attacks," but non-disclosure agreements prevent him from giving details.

Equally concerning, Kaminsky said, is the sophistication the AT&T attackers showed in carrying out their attack. Rather than use exploit code added last week to Metasploit, a penetration testing kit that just happens to be maintained by Moore, the miscreants fashioned their own program that stealthily redirected users trying to visit Google to an impostor site.

"That was a wildly mature attack," Kaminsky told The Register. "Someone had an entire infrastructure built to attack Google's click-fraud system. That's a significant amount of code."

For more than a week, other researchers pointed to an increase in queries to DNS servers and other evidence suggesting attacks, but the AT&T exploit is the first to be documented.

As we reported last week, AT&T was one of the many laggard internet service providers reported to be dragging their feet in applying patches that fix the devastating DNS flaw. Kaminsky says more ISPs appear to be getting the message. Last week, about 51 per cent of unique name servers tested on his site (see the "check my DNS" button to the right) showed up as vulnerable. Now, he says it's closer to 35 percent.

In most cases, installing the patch is a straight-forward affair, but not always. Paul Vixie, head of the organization that maintains Berkeley Internet Name Domain, the net's most popular DNS server software, recently said updates patching the flaw could cut performance under heavy loads. Vixie said he believed fixing the flaw was more important than suffering slower performance. An update improving performance is in the works.

Even still, it's been more than three weeks since Kaminsky, Vixie and a choir of other influential net figures began imploring organizations to run the patch. Now that attacks have been confirmed in the wild, it's hard to imagine a justification for not doing so.

To test whether your ISP is an offender, please run the tests here or here, and report the results in the comments section. Be sure to include the name server's IP address and the name of the ISP. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.