Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


How Would You Do It?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,PERL,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Attack someone’s network or website, that is.
Okay, this has been on my mind lately, not because I’ve done any actual hacking recently, since: a) that would be illegal and b) I haven’t done that sort of thing in, well, years. No, I’ve been thinking about it because, according to a friend of mine, at least one fan (short for “fanatic”) seems to think that I am not only capable of doing such things, but that I, in fact, have. And recently, too! As the French say, “It is to laugh…” So, as a thought experiment (that’s a mental exercise for you vocabulary impaired), here’s how I’d go about doing this, if I were, in fact, to do “ownz” someone’s “box”.
First off, I wouldn’t use a computer that I own, that can be traced to my ownership, or that uses an IP address that has ever been associated with my name. There are several ways around this, of course, including IP spoofing, anonymous remailers and other redirectors, and a compromised, third-party’s machine. That last one is the best, and, ironically, the easiest method. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Compromised Windoze machines are a dime a dozen. There are hordes of script kiddies out there just hammering away at every weak Windoze machine they can ping. Also, there are more and more insecure Linux machines floating around out there, too. (Have you applied all the latest patches to your penguin box?) Or, if you know of any systems that you left behind at an unhappy employment situation, that are still vulnerable, you can use them. Usually, a corporation will have a nice, fat data pipe which makes your “job” faster and easier. Of course, if they have half a brain, after you leave, they’ll change all the passwords, but sometimes someone slips. (The last place I knew of like that from my own past finally, after three years, changed the passwords as part of an upgrade.) Or, you could simply go to a coffee house that offers free Internet access via a wireless network. Every time you change coffee houses, you change IPs. And, while I normally am just fine with industrial-strength institutional coffee, a nice cafe au lait from Cresent City is always nice. Or, according to this article on Slashdot, Panera Bread Company is a good place to find a free wifi link.
So, now you have one or more launching platforms from which to case your mark. (That there’s criminal slang that means “look at your ultimate hacking goal”.) What do you use to look for a way in? Well, there’s three that I’d recommend, based on reviews; Snacktime, Nessus and NMAP. Of the three, NMAP is, arguably, the more robust and well known. In fact, NMAP was used in The Matrix movies. Now, that, my faithful readers, is “geek cred”! Though Snacktime is interesting to me because it’s PERL-based. Now, if you’re not familiar with these three tools, just stop reading and go play with your IIS 6.0 webserver. We’re about to talk “big boy” stuff here and you just won’t be up to it. So, if you’re still man enough to be following this, you’d load up your lookeeloo tool of choice on your remote launch platform at this point and get a fingerprint of your target system’s OS.
Now, we get to the meat of this little mental exercise… Okay, you’ve got your “open door”, or “doors”, as it were, into your target system. At this point it’s a matter of taking the information from the nice, clean results that NMAP, or whatever, gives you and applying your exploit. What and how you do that really depends on what you’re attacking, but it’s pretty much a paint-by-numbers affair now, thanks to the legions of script kiddies that keep us up to date. Right, root access (or Administrator, if your target is foolish enough to run Windoze). Now what? Well, that sort of depends, doesn’t it? Do you want data? Start a background transfer to a third party that you can collect later. (Use ftp, tftp, or, for loads of sneaky fun, telnet, to transfer your data. Many admins disable logs on these protocols because they don’t think they’re running. Double check.) Want to install something? Go for it! (Try a keylogger. Now you’ll get loads of target passwords to compromise other machines for further adventures!) Just want to crash the system? You should have skipped all this hassle and just hit your target with a DDoS attack from your many compromised machines, stupid. (Incidentally, for you Windoze admins out there, the entire Code Red scare you sloppy bastards caused was all about a Distributed Denial of Service “issue”. )

Of course, this is all very illegal and somewhat morally questionable as well, so I would NOT do it. What’s more, I would not recommend that anyone else attack, hack, assault, fold, spindle or mutilate any system other than your own. In short, the Network Geek, RyuMaou.com and Jim Hoffman (yes, we’re all the same entity) does not in any way endorse any of the above listed activities, except the cafe au lait from Cresent City. In fact, I suggest that you do NOT do anything that I’ve written about in this entry, including flinging wild accusations that cannot be proven. That’s called “libel”, or, if you say it instead of write it “slander”. That’s against the law, too, the last time I checked.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"May you live all the days of your life."
   --Jonathan Swift


  1. I’m glad you feel that way, Uncle Jim!
    *raises hands in “French Salute” and slowly. . . steps. . . back. . .*
    (nothin to see here. . .gulp. ) 😉

    Comment by MightyKong — 3/14/2005 @ 9:24 pm

  2. Hmm, a little over the top was it? Well, I got a bit “peeved” that someone who only knows what *I* taught them about computer security was trying to say that I was making unsuccessful attempts to “violate” their network. I mean, obviously, if I’d wanted to cause them grief, I would have! And, as I think the article proves, I’d do it without leaving evidence to trace any of it back to me.
    But, just because I know how to do something nasty, doesn’t mean I actually would do something nasty. Just don’t piss me off! 😉

    Comment by Network Geek — 3/16/2005 @ 8:27 am

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