[funsec] Question for the group

Fergie fergdawg at netzero.net
Sat Feb 11 15:52:23 CST 2006


Could this possibly be an (obviously underhanded) attempt to
simply gather news & public information? I mean, given the situation
with press freedoms in China, etc...

Just a thought....

- ferg

ps. Still thinking about the problem at hand, so no immediate

-- Paul Schmehl <pauls at utdallas.edu> wrote:

Recently we discovered that some message boards in China were posting the 
urls for web proxies at various universities, along with "login 
credentials".  In our case that meant the url and a sixteen digit number 
that represented our "Comet Card" IDs, smart cards that we issue to every 
student, staff and faculty member when they arrive.

It wasn't long before someone wrote a script that automated the process of 
logging in to the exProxy server in order to generate a list of valid IDs.

In the meantime, I was in discussions with the library and explained to 
them that the sixteen digit numbers weren't sufficient and they needed 
security.  As a stopgap measure, they added a second "credential", the 
user's last name.

Now we're seeing scripted attacks cycling through our directory (last name 
only) and then attempting each of those last names along with a valid id, 
in an effort to generate a list of valid "login" combinations.

Here's the question I have.  We were just notified by another university 
that they had detected bots on *their* network running the above script 
against our proxy.  According to their security officer (whom I know is 
competent), these bots were infected with breplibot.

Is this something new?  And why the hell do they want to grab books and 
periodicals?  Can they sell them?

(I know what the solution to the library's problem is.  I just have to get 
them to accept that what I told them early on is the only answer - tie in 
to our LDAP auth system short term, and use CAS once it's implemented.)

Paul Schmehl (pauls at utdallas.edu)
Adjunct Information Security Officer
University of Texas at Dallas
AVIEN Founding Member

"Fergie", a.k.a. Paul Ferguson
 Engineering Architecture for the Internet
 fergdawg at netzero.net or fergdawg at sbcglobal.net
 ferg's tech blog: http://fergdawg.blogspot.com/

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