Clever Hack, or Carders-at-Work?

March 12th, 2009

Earlier this week, reports began to circulate in the media about Chinese hackers selling $200 USD iTunes gift cards online for 17.90 RMB (about $2.60 USD). It was explained that these hackers were able to acheive the remarkable feat of cracking Apple’s algorithm for generating the gift voucher codes, and were thus able to generate as many cards as they liked, all of which would be redeemable in the iTunes store.

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Ozdok: Watching the Watchers

January 20th, 2009

Recently, with the help of Spamhaus, we were given access to files collected from yet another Ozdok/Mega-D command-and-control server. Although we have seen the controller code before, it was surprising to learn that this variant was collecting screenshots from its victims’ computers, and that thousands of them were stored on the control server. Grabbing screenshots isn’t new for backdoor trojans, but it’s the first time we’ve seen this functionality in a spambot.

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Tracking Gimmiv with Google Earth

November 4th, 2008

Gimmiv in MalaysiaOn October 23, 2008, Microsoft released an out-of-cycle emergency patch for a flaw in the Windows RPC code. The reason for this unusual occurance was the discovery of a “zero-day” exploit being used in the wild by a worm (or trojan, depending on how you look at it). The announcement of a new remote exploit for unpatched Windows systems always raises tension levels among network administrators. The fact that this one was already being used by a worm evoked flashbacks of Blaster and Sasser and other previous threats that severely impacted the networked world.

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It Can Happen to Anyone

July 10th, 2008

Writing good antivirus software is hard. Just ask the developer at a major antivirus company who was infected with the Coreflood trojan on his personal computer for over a year. Perhaps he was just testing their product, but it seems odd to have allowed the trojan to capture some of his personal information. Fortunately the antivirus developer was not a domain administrator on the company’s network, so Coreflood didn’t spread to every other system in the Windows domain like it did at several other businesses, hospitals and government organizations.

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Speaking at RSA

February 14th, 2008

On Friday April 11th I’ll be giving a talk at RSA titled “Procotols and Encryption of the Storm Botnet”. I intend to give attendees a full understanding of the Storm botnet’s structure and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make Storm one of the most resilient botnets known.

Are You Infected With Storm?

November 13th, 2007

If you saw the following browser window pop up on your desktop today for no apparent reason, you are…

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The Changing Storm

October 15th, 2007

The latest Storm variants have a new twist. They now use a 40-byte key to encrypt their Overnet P2P traffic. This means that each node will only be able to communicate with nodes that use the same key. This effectively allows the Storm author to segment the Storm botnet into smaller networks. This could be a precursor to selling Storm to other spammers, as an end-to-end spam botnet system, complete with fast-flux DNS and hosting capabilities. If that’s the case, we might see a lot more of Storm in the future.

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Avast, Ye Trojan Scallywags!

August 24th, 2007

For several years now, there has been a steady, increasing effort by computer criminals to utilize malware in order to steal data from victim computers. Often the criminals don’t actually write the malware, they simply download a trojan kit, configure it for their purposes and then spread it using various methods. We talk about these schemes all the time, yet there’s no good term to describe these miscreants.

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Back From Vegas

August 15th, 2007

DEFCON 15 Speaker BadgeSo, at Black Hat I demoed my Perl-based Windows kernel debugger. You can download it here. Nothing earthshaking, just an implementation of the Windows serial debugging protocol in a Perl script. Initially I hadn’t planned to speak at DEFCON, wanting to devote all my time to the CTF competition, but I ended up with a seat on the Internet Wars panel discussion, so picked up the nifty blue speaker badge pictured here.

Article on DDoS Tarpitting

June 26th, 2007

I just wrote up an article about using tarpits to fight off HTTP-based DDoS attacks. Since I myself have been a victim of DDoS, I thought I’d throw out an idea to help those who might find themselves at the mercy of some anonymous attacker.

The full article can be found at: