Feeds

Turks hijack Kiwi MSN via DNS cracks

A pie in the face of Microsoft (and everyone else)

Build a business case: developing custom apps

RSA The New Zealand version of Microsoft's MSN website was briefly hijacked after attackers penetrated that country's prominent domain name registrar. Websites for Sony, BitDefender, and HSBC were also commandeered.

The mass defacements came as security researchers gathered in San Francisco discussed vulnerabilities in the DNS, or domain name system, and BGP, or border gateway protocol. The two technologies form the core infrastructure for routing traffic over the internet, so the weaknesses have the ability to compromise the integrity of the entire worldwide network by allowing huge chunks of it to be hijacked or rerouted.

MSN's front page was altered to show a picture from 1998 of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates with pie in his face. A headline read: "Microsoft New Zealand Hacked by Peace Crew." According to the Zone-h website here, the attack was carried out by a Turkish crew that managed to compromise New Zealand registrar Domainz.net by exploiting a simple SQL injection vulnerability. Once in, the group changed domain name system settings for MSN and the other affected websites.

The Domainz.net website remained unreachable at the time of writing. MSN and other affected websites were restored to their normal working order.

The episode is a potent reminder of the fragility of the internet's routing system. In this case, a small portion of it was compromised by a single web application error. In other cases, attackers are able to exploit weaknesses in DNS itself. Either way, the attacks are only possible because DNS - which converts easy-to-read domain names into machine-readable IP addresses - has no mechanism to validate that the server providing the translation is duly authorized to do so.

At the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, researcher Dan Kaminsky called once again for deployment of a technology known as DNSSEC, which would use a hierarchy of cryptographic signatures to authenticate valid DNS servers.

"It's actually doable within the RFCs that already have been written," said Kaminsky, who last year revealed a DNS bug that could allow millions of people to be redirected to fraudulent websites even though they typed in the correct address. "It's not just about who do I hit with a stick until it's deployed."

Bradesco, one of Brazil's biggest banks, was reportedly hit by a DNS cache-poisoning attack recently that redirected its customers to an impostor website.

While vulnerabilities in DNS are well known, weaknesses in BGP have gone less noticed. Anton Kapela, who last year demonstrated systemic flaws in the technology, said he didn't see any easy fixes on the horizon, in large part because there they would require all 31,000 or so participants in the BGP system to deploy significant overhauls of their networks.

"Getting 31,000 organizations to install some new code or upgrade their platforms when the platforms are a wide variety seems like a really tough thing to do," said Kapela, who is data center and network director at 5Nines Data. "I'm no organizational manager, but it sounds hard."

Two of the more popular proposed fixes include Secure BGP and Secure Origin BGP. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?