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Re: Why is IRC still around?
From: vord <vordhosbn () gmail com>
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 02:03:00 -0600

ive never seen so many repetitive and knee-jerk reactions to one
[potentially baseless] post in all my years of watching FD [the
obvious exceptions being the OT political nonsense occurring here,
especially as of late] as witnessed during my reading of this thread.

but moving right along ... :D

my take is that Danny merely suggests burning the security candle at
both ends. it is complete nonsense to approve of ANYTHING simply
because it has some, or even a vast lot, of legitimate users/uses.
some things are just not worth defending or perpetuating, and perhaps
IRC is one of them? [this is his question].

and for the record, "they would move to another resource" is not a
coherent argument against his position [his question, rather]
concerning the elimination of a problem-child medium. perhaps the cost
to society via the spread piracy and virii [more importantly the
altter] isnt worth the measly gain IRC affords its legitimate users?

it IS incoherent, however, to argue that IRC (1) is the kiddiots means
of choice for controlling his worms because it is the easiest or most
efficient way to do so, while also contending (2) that an IRC sunset
would not cause the immediate dissappearance of substansial
internet-wide problems. making it harder MAKES IT HARDER and must
therefore to some degree reduce the probability of abuse. therefore
the gain afforded to legitimate users by this medium should be
weighted against the direct affect its eradication would have on REAL
problems -- and, clearly, no one here is qualified to make this
judgement, else they would have offered such proof in immediate
response to the original post as opposed to blabbing incessantly about
incredibly obvious bullshit. the only potentially useful point anyone
has made [not that it wasnt obvious] concerns the difficulty in
removing the medium ... but this is irrelavent, of course, since it is
more likely that the security community would suggest [and perhaps
assist in the developement of] a replacement [most importantly] to the
larger IRC networks.

if shooting people is evil, OBVIOUSLY guns are flawed, but only
insofar as people are capable of abusing them, willing to abuse them,
and effective in their attempts at doing so. so to burn the candle at
both ends you have to fight the spread of trojans and virii by fixing
the holes they exploit and providing detection services, while also
continually analyzing and evolving the structure on which it all
rests. ie, the internet at its core... protocols, etc.

im sure the original ford model-T had plenty of legitimate users who
didnt drive drunk or generally cause mayhem ... i dont see it around
anymore though ... hmm, i wonder if that correlates directly to the
increased safety of automobiles ... hmm hmm, indeed. </sardonicism>

the issue is certainly not at all as cut and dry as most of you have
made it out to be.

invulnerable to the accidents of people and books.

On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 22:08:33 -0000, Darren Wolfe
<darren () thecosmicgerbil com> wrote:
I have never replied to anything on this list (I read it to keep up to date
on vulnerabilities, but im not really qualified to contribute anything) but
this particular message has peaked my interest.

1. Agreed, by using flaws in IE they then go on to subvert mirc into
spamming people.
2. They do.
3. A tremendous amount :)
4. This is only because IRC provides the perfect medium in which to control
those zombies (a single message from one person is immediately sent to
everyone in the channel at the same time). If a better medium was available,
they'd use that.

IRC is as close to a real time group conversation as you can get that
doesn't used closed protocols.  It's fast, simple and used by an enormous
number of people - particuarly those who play online games, and for open
source projects (#gentoo on freenode regularly has over 900 people in it).

In answer to your final question - IRC is very useful for quick
conversations in real time with groups of people. Sure there are other
things - usenet, web based forums, email based mailing lists, IM networks
etc but none have that group feeling as much as IRC.

It's problem is twofold - firstly, mirc (the most popular client) has a
number of flaws that make it easy to steal peoples "auth passwords". But
these are not automated! The user must be tricked into typing some commands
to set the exploit in motion.
This is also the second problem - a link may be mentioned in a channel and
people will click on it - from there, if your browser is vulnerable, you can
be hit by any number of trojans.  There was a winamp trojan going about a
few months ago (which I reported and is now fixed - go me :D ) which
involved clicking a link in irc that opened winamp through a file
association that exploited a security flaw that installed a script for mirc
that spammed the same link to everyone in the channel.

Like any other medium, it is a combination of a lack of knowledge by the
users and exploits/vulnerabilities in software, the only difference, is that
on IRC it tends to spread quickly because of its real time nature.
So in conclusion, no, IRC should not be killed off, mirc's scripting
vulnerabilities should be closed in some way, and vulnerabilities in other
software should continue to be discovered and fixed.

-----Original Message-----
From: full-disclosure-admin () lists netsys com
[mailto:full-disclosure-admin () lists netsys com] On Behalf Of Danny
Sent: 19 November 2004 17:40
To: Mailing List - Full-Disclosure
Subject: [Full-disclosure] Why is IRC still around?

Well, it sure does help the anti-virus (anti-malware) and security
consulting business, but besides that... is it not safe to say that:

1) A hell of a lot of viruses/worms/trojans use IRC to wreck further havoc?
2) A considerable amount of "script kiddies" originate and grow through IRC?
3) A wee bit of software piracy occurs?
4) That many organized DoS attacks through PC zombies are initiated through
5) The anonymity of the whole thing helps to foster all the illegal and
malicious activity that occurs?
The list goes on and on...

Sorry to offend those that use IRC legitimately (LOL - find something else
to chat with your buddies), but why the hell are we not pushing to sunset

What would IT be like today without IRC (or the like)? Am I narrow minded to
say that it would be a much safer place?


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