black hat .cn networks

Elias Halldor Agustsson elias at
Wed May 2 13:54:57 UTC 2001

Það var Mánudagur í Apríl þegar Roger Marquis sagði:
> Walter Prue <prue at ISI.EDU> wrote:
> > The folks in the US  who counterattack might be well advised to
> > reconsider doing so.  I would imagine that traffic from the US would be
> > closely monitored.  Any new hacking tricks that these counterattacks
> > might use would then be recorded and analyzed.  These techniques could
> > then be used by them to further attack the US.
> Does anyone know if these China scares are for real?  The probability
> they are simply Pentagon/Administration propaganda seems too high
> to discount.  I ask because we've seen no increase in the (already
> substantial) number of scans from CN/KR/HK/... netblocks.  Does
> any hard evidence exist?

About six months ago, I was doing some forensics on a cracked Linux
system belonging to a friend of mine. It had a rootkit installed, and
a .history file showed that the rootkit had been transferred to the
machine with rcp from the lp account on a host in China.

I logged into the lp account with rlogin. It had ++ in .rhosts.
It was a SunOS 5.5 system with no patches installed. The lastlog
showed logins from dial-up and DSL or cable accounts from all 
over England, The Netherlands and the USA. It was obviously being
used as a hacking base and a rootkit repository. There were several
backdoors installed in the system, several setuid root shells lying
around here and there, and a ++ .rhosts file for every system account.

I guess China is an easy target to exploit in this way. General
knowledge of systems security seems low, and most people, even
intellectuals, lack foreign language skills. A complaint will
get ignored because the responsible person doesn't understand
the language it is written in, or even doesn't understand the
technical and security implications of what is happening.

All this makes me suspect the Chinese are victims in this matter,
rather than perpetrators.

In short: never attribute to malice that which can adequately be
explained with stupidity.

|-------Elías Halldór Ágústsson-----------|
| Systems Administrator, Reykjavík, Iceland. NIC handles: EHA2-RIPE, |
| EHA7-RIPE, EHA2-IS, EHA7-IS (at and |
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