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Re: On classifying attacks
From: Crispin Cowan <crispin () novell com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 04:47:25 -0700

Technica Forensis wrote:
This really depends on the situation.  Say I write an exploit that
when run as a user spawns a listening ssh service with root priv.  I
get on the system however I do, download this file and exec it.  I
think everyone would agree that is a local exploit.
I send that same file as an email attachment to some dolt and peer
pressure him into running it.  Just because I downloaded the file by
emailing it to said dolt doesn't change the exploit from local to
remote. It potentially changes it from 'exploit' to trojan, but it is
still being executed locally.
That sounds like a compound attack with 2 stages:

    * a social engineering attack to get the victim to run the code
          o can be very simple like "please run this code"
          o can be very sophisticated, like phishing attacks carefully
            crafted to resemble legitimate mail to get the user to click
            on something
    * a local attack that happens when you run the malware

What makes this compound attack "remote" is that the social engineering
attack is remote.

This makes most common viruses compound remote/local attacks with a
remote social engineering attack to somehow induce the user to run a
local attack. The exception to this is e-mail viruses that require no
social engineering because they can exploit some flaw in the preview
pane or such like so that the user only has to browse the mail to run
the malware.

Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.                      http://immunix.com/~crispin/
Director of Software Engineering, Novell  http://novell.com

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