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more on Big holes in net's heart revealed
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 16:14:21 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: brett watson <brett () the-watsons org>
Date: April 30, 2006 11:31:37 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Big holes in net's heart revealed

hi dave,

your readers that are not on the dns-operations list might find the following thread an interesting read related to the cornell project discussed in this article. the first posting begins here:

http://lists.oarci.net/pipermail/dns-operations/2006-April/000504.html


-b



On Apr 30, 2006, at 5:32 AM, David Farber wrote:

Something "well known" but not advertised till now. djf


Begin forwarded message:

From: Dewayne Hendricks <dewayne () WARPSPEED COM>
Date: April 30, 2006 5:11:08 AM EDT
To: Dewayne-Net Technology List <dewayne-net () WARPSPEED COM>
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] Big holes in net's heart revealed
Reply-To: dewayne () WARPSPEED COM

 Big holes in net's heart revealed
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Simple attacks could let malicious hackers take over more than one- third of the net's sites, reveals research.

The finding was uncovered by researchers who analysed how the net's addressing system works.

They also found that if the simple attacks were combined with so- called denial-of-service attacks, 85% of the net becomes vulnerable to take-over.

The researchers recommended big changes to the net's addressing system to tackle the vulnerability at its heart.

Site seizing

When you visit a website, such as news.bbc.co.uk, your computer often asks one of the net's address books, or domain name servers, for information about where that site resides.

But the number of computers that have to be consulted to find the computers where that site is located often makes sites vulnerable to attack by vandals and criminals, found Assistant Professor Emin Gun Sirer and Venugopalan Ramasubramanian from the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University.

Professor Sirer told the BBC News website that, on average, 46 computers holding different information about the components of net addresses are consulted to find out where each dotcom site is actually hosted.

But, he said, this chain of dependencies between the computers that look after the different parts of net addresses creates all kinds of vulnerabilities that clever hackers could easily exploit.

"The growth of the internet has caused these dependencies to emerge," said Professor Sirer. "Instead of having to compromise one you can compromise any one of the three dozen."

All the information gathered and analysed by the researchers has to be publicly available to keep the net's addressing system working. The research analysed information about almost 600,000 computers.

The research also revealed that 17% of the servers that host the net's address books are vulnerable to attack via widely known exploits.

"Because of these dependencies about one-third of the net's names are trivially compromisable by script kiddies," he said.

One site vulnerable in this way was run by the FBI, said Professor. Sirer. Although the five computers that act as the first reference point for the fbi.gov domain were secure, one of the five that connect to these has yet to install a patch for a well-known bug.

That computer was fixed after the Cornell team reported its findings to the FBI, but hundreds of thousands of sites suffer from similar problems.

The most vulnerable net domain found by the survey was that of the Roman Catholic Church in the Ukraine.

Criminals such as phishing gangs would be interested in re- directing traffic from well-known sites so they can grab key login and personal details that would help them de-fraud web users.

[snip]

Story from BBC NEWS:
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/4954208.stm>

Published: 2006/04/28 13:58:07 GMT

Weblog at: <http://weblog.warpspeed.com>



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