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TUCoPS :: General Information :: coordat.txt

Coordinated Attacks and Probes





              SHADOW Indications Technical Analysis
              Coordinated Attacks and Probes
              Sep 04 1998 Updated DEC 14 1998

              Naval Surface Warfare Center
              Dahlgren Division, Code XDC3

Special Note: This document has largely been overtaken by
new advances in hacker technology.  Before you report a
coordinated attack to your CIRT (and please always report
to your CIRT) you may want to look at the following common
attack and scan tools:  Nmap 2.08's decoy option, ICMP by slayer,
Hping.  The traces in this paper all predate these capabilities,
but it can be challenging to sort things with the look and feel
of a coordinated attack from the real thing.  Please see the
coordinated attack paper presented at the Usenix Intrusion 
Detection and Network Monitoring conference for a more complete
discussion of this network behavior.

Shadow -  FEB 24, 1999
 
Timeframe: Analysis performed on detects from Sep 1998
Caveat: None of the names or IP Addresses in this document are correct,
any resemblance to a real domain name is purely coincidental.
 
Executive Summary: 
This document details attacks and probes that have been recently
observed in which multiple attackers are clearly working together toward
a common goal from different IP addresses. Often these IP addresses are
also physically separated, in different countries or even different
continents.

There are three obvious purposes for this type of activity:
        - Stealth.  By working from multiple IP addresses the
        attackers achieve a smaller per-IP signature and are more
        difficult to detect with conventional means.  In addition, 
        stealth is enhanced by the development of new hard-to-detect 
        probing techniques.

        - Firepower.  By coordinating multiple attacking IP addresses,
        the attackers will be able to deliver more exploits on target
        in a smaller time window.  Target in this case can be one or
        more sites.  Further, the defense technique of blocking an
        attacker IP or subnet (shunning) will be less effective.  We 
        believe that the use of coordinated scans and probes from 
        differing sites represents a new and continuing capability 
        that merits further analysis and tracking. Some of these 
        coordinated probes and scans we are seeing today may be 
        practice runs for future larger scale attacks.
        
        - More data.  By working from different IP addresses, often
        entirely different subnets, against the same target it is possible
        to obtain data that is difficult from a single source IP scan
        or probe.  This data may include shortest route data (i.e. packets
        from source A arrive faster than from source B), or even potential
        backdoors (i.e. packets from source A can gain access to hosts that
        source B can't see).  This type of data can be used to optimise
        future scans, probes, or attacks. 


Analysis:
Multiple different attacks and probes are documented here.  The
commonality is that the attacker is able to launch the attack from
multiple unrelated (or partially related) addresses in a coordinated
fashion.  Special thanks to Vicki Irwin, and Pedro Vazquez
for their help in deciphering this puzzle.

===============================
EXAMPLE 1: Coordinated traceroutes
These have been reported previously, but they make an excellent example 
of the general approach.

Five different sources all hit the target (a firewall) within minutes of
each other.  The signature of each hit is nearly identical.  Note the
use of two entirely different domains within seconds of each other. 
This will allow them to have timing data for multiple paths.

12:29:30.012086 5.net.39964 > target.33500: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:30.132086 5.net.39964 > target.33501: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:30.252086 5.net.39964 > target.33502: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:30.352086 5.net.39964 > target.33503: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:30.482086 5.net.39964 > target.33504: udp 12 [ttl 1]

12:27:37.712086 4.I.net.46164 > target.33485: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:55.122086 4.I.net.46164 > target.33487: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:55.162086 4.I.net.46164 > target.33488: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:55.182086 4.I.net.46164 > target.33489: udp 12 [ttl 1]

12:29:26.132086 4.v.net.43327 > target.33491: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:26.242086 4.v.net.43327 > target.33492: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:26.372086 4.v.net.43327 > target.33493: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:29:26.482086 4.v.net.43327 > target.33494: udp 12 [ttl 1]

12:27:32.962086 3.net.55528 > target.33485: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:33.072086 3.net.55528 > target.33486: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:33.172086 3.net.55528 > target.33487: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:33.292086 3.net.55528 > target.33488: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:33.422086 3.net.55528 > target.33489: udp 12 [ttl 1]

12:27:30.552086 com.35251 > target.33475: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:30.562086 com.35251 > target.33476: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:30.582086 com.35251 > target.33477: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:30.592086 com.35251 > target.33478: udp 12 [ttl 1]
12:27:30.612086 com.35251 > target.33479: udp 12 [ttl 1]

Special note:  Recently we began screening for large ICMP packets. Many
of the ICMP scans we categorized as Smurf attacks were in excess of 1k. 
Such packets can be used for maximum transmission unit of a path
discovery.  Please see page 152 in Stevens' TCP/IP Illustrated for
further information.[1]  Also note the DF flag will be set.[2]

===============================
EXAMPLE 2  Simultaneous Reset Scans
During the week of 13 SEP Reset Scans were observed from 14 different
internet addresses, primarily ISPs.  They are working together
and are mapping multiple target sites.  This appears to be a long
term effort, some of the attackers scan rate is as low as 2 packets/day/
target site, well below commonly set thresholds for scan detectors.

Until recently these types of scans were easy to detect due to common
"signature acknowledgement numbers" (i.e. the IP packet ACK field was
always a fixed number, usually 674719802 or 674711610).  The more recent
probes have random acknowledgement numbers.  

The primary signature here is RESET packets with no other activity from
that source (such as an active open (SYN) from the source or the target).

17:40:45.870769 hook.24408 > target1.1457: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:40:53.025203 hook.33174 > target2.1457: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:41:12.115554 hook.36250 > target3.1979: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:43:37.605127 router > hook: icmp: time exceeded in-transit
17:43:43.139158 hook.44922 > target4.1496: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0

17:42:30.400665 grin.3532 > target1a.1167: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:42:40.582531 grin.33233 > target2a.1797: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:44:28.836701 grin.52504 > target3a.1634: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:47:52.578558 grin.46657 > target4a.2121: R 0:0(0) ack 674719802 win 0
17:47:52.698378 router > grin: icmp: time exceeded in-transit

NOTE: When the target site's router replies back to the attacker, they
know that host or net does not exist.  By locating the places that
do not exist, they can take the inverse of the map to target future
exploit efforts, scans, probes, or attacks.

NOTE: Certain hosts, primarily IRC servers are under a denial of service
attack using spoofed addresses which can cause false positive resets.

NOTE: If the resets center around a particular destination address
this could be an indication of IP Spoofing to use RESETS to disrupt
a connection.  In this case the sequence numbers should show a
discernable pattern.
===============================
EXAMPLE 3 Coordinated Exploits
To date the coordinated exploits have neither been large scale nor
effectual. The scale at least is certain to change as shown by the
recent escalation of reset scans.

Some examples of coordinated exploits are shown to illustrate this
technique. In addition to the patterns shown below, we have seen UDP 137
(NBTSTAT) scans with similar signatures.

Example 3A Searching for Back Orifice
This had been seen previously but rarely.  In a short time frame three
attackers were detected at multiple target locations using the same
signature. Two (A and B) are shown here:

04:10:34.355832 dax.no.1534 > TARGETBa.31337: udp 19
04:51:15.261462 cpu.com.1534 > TARGETBb.31337: udp 19
04:54:19.101595 dax.no.1534 > TARGETBc.31337: udp 19
06:51:39.392441 dax.no.1534 > TARGETAa.31337: udp 19
06:52:32.700418 cpu.com.1534 > TARGETAb.31337: udp 19
06:06:52.320331 eb.net.1534 > TARGETAc.31337: udp 19

Example 3B DNS ZONE
Here we see an interesting pattern occurring within the same day.
SourceA connects first, there is no RESET from the DNS server. SourceB
then connects from an entirely different IP subnet to the same DNS
server and generates a RESET.

07:15:17.563185 SourceA.56141 > TARGETA.domain: S 5335035:53 35035(0) ack 5335034 win 4128 <mss 556>
07:15:17.565758 SourceB.domain > TARGETA.domain: S 4601818:46 01818(0) ack 4601817 win 4128 <mss 556>
07:15:17.570577 TARGETA.domain > SourceB.domain: R 4601817:46 01817(0) win 24576

22:11:13.044850 SourceA.18052 > TARGETB.domain: S 5624156:56241 56(0) ack 5624155 win 4128 <mss 556>
22:11:13.479834 SourceB.domain > TARGETB.domain: S 4849093:48490 93(0) ack 4849092 win 4128 <mss 556>
22:11:13.480759 TARGETB.domain > SourceB.domain: R 4849092:48490 92(0) win 32768

===============================
EXAMPLE 4 Probes against a firewall
One site with SHADOW Intrusion Detection systems has a very low attack
rate. With that in mind, consider the following report which is way out
of the norm for this site.

This attack starts out with secure shell and NNTP probes and then
packets with odd TCP flags are detected from multiple locations.

07:36:55.734342 ad.com.14363 > target.22: S 14974665:14974177(12) win 65535 (DF)
07:37:21.804342 media.com.58521 > target.22: S 2215978:2216514(536) win 65535 (DF)
07:37:53.634342 media.com.24463 > target.22: S 8514393:8514929(536) win 65535 (DF)
07:38:00.614342 media.com.28349 > target.119: S 956785:957321(536) win 65535 (DF)


Malformed packet, note SYN/RESET/FIN all set as is urgent:
10:47:36.614342 media.com.2048 > target.48579: SFR 2842082:2842590(508) ack 2642669109 win 768 urg 2571  (DF)
11:23:42.974342 media.com.2048 > target.47720: SFP 4820865:4821409(544) win 3840 urg 2571 (DF)
13:49:44.334342 gm.com.49608 > target.49606: SFP 7051:7607(556) ack 2147789506 win 7768 (DF)
13:49:44.724342 gm.com.22450 > target.1591: SFRP 2038:2074(36) ack 116065792 win 0 urg 0 (DF)

Here is some related activity not from original attacking site but is
within the same general timeframe:

12:18:46.254342 im.com.5500 > target.1137: SFP 3241821:3242365(544) win 13234 urg 55134 (DF)
13:37:30.334342 im.com.22555 > target.22555: SF 8440982:8441538(556) win 10240 (DF)

14:52:57.454342 demon.net.30975 > target.16940: SFRP 2029994540:2029995068(528) ack 2029994540 win 16940 urg 16940 <[bad opt]> (DF)
14:53:01.634342 demon.net.30975 > target.556: SFRP 2029978156:2029978684(528) ack 2029978156 win 556 urg 556 <[bad opt]> (DF)

NOTE: For further information about fun with codebits see:
http://www.apostols.org/projectz/queso or nmap.

===============================
EXAMPLE 5 Simultaneous DNS scans
Here is an excellent example of the stealth of these type of scans.  In
this case the goal appears to be to locate DNS servers within various
target subnets. We see two sources running identical scans (probably the
same tool) from vastly different IP addresses (the IP addresses appear
to be on two different continents) but running them against the same
target networks at the same time.

06:12:33.282195 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.34.1.domain: S 992750649:992750649(0) win 242
06:34:18.663344 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.35.1.domain: S 3455530061:3455530061(0) win 242
06:56:04.045981 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.36.1.domain: S 1895963699:1895963699(0) win 242
07:17:49.443476 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.37.1.domain: S 2485794595:2485794595(0) win 242
07:39:34.811723 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.38.1.domain: S 3785701160:3785701160(0) win 242
08:01:20.227869 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.39.1.domain: S 1471781129:1471781129(0) win 242
08:23:05.643730 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.40.1.domain: S 4110489384:4110489384(0) win 242
08:44:50.962887 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetA.41.1.domain: S 1486592867:1486592867(0) win 242

06:10:56.527024 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.34.1.domain: S 1935318310:1935318310(0) win 242
06:32:42.146384 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.35.1.domain: S 552822870:552822870(0) win 242
06:54:27.317188 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.36.1.domain: S 944974642:944974642(0) win 242
07:16:12.731522 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.37.1.domain: S 3045099303:3045099303(0) win 242
07:37:58.160387 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.38.1.domain: S 323776127:323776127(0) win 242
07:59:43.537424 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.39.1.domain: S 1212319841:1212319841(0) win 242
08:21:28.992543 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.40.1.domain: S 87682610:87682610(0) win 242
08:43:14.379838 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetB.41.1.domain: S 1460815479:1460815479(0) win 242

06:21:38.677266 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetC.35.1.domain: S 771480424:771480424(0) win 242
06:43:24.079835 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetC.36.1.domain: S 1357786460:1357786460(0) win 242
08:10:25.907162 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetC.40.1.domain: S 292016656:292016656(0) win 242
08:32:11.129991 SourceA.10053 > TargetNetC.41.1.domain: S 2826350638:2826350638(0) win 242

06:00:06.556853 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.16.1.domain: S 1738779185:1738779185(0) win 242
06:00:11.681430 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.17.1.domain: S 2597129298:2597129298(0) win 242
06:00:16.796096 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.18.1.domain: S 3216686157:3216686157(0) win 242
06:00:21.918547 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.19.1.domain: S 4121612834:4121612834(0) win 242
06:00:27.038290 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.20.1.domain: S 1501341045:1501341045(0) win 242
06:00:32.158748 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.21.1.domain: S 134807152:134807152(0) win 242
06:00:37.291499 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.22.1.domain: S 2224429686:2224429686(0) win 242
06:00:42.395105 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.23.1.domain: S 1480631621:1480631621(0) win 242
06:00:47.542147 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.24.1.domain: S 4111668847:4111668847(0) win 242
06:00:52.634943 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.25.1.domain: S 2034911826:2034911826(0) win 242
06:00:57.761173 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.26.1.domain: S 2622853216:2622853216(0) win 242
06:01:02.876331 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.27.1.domain: S 3504466453:3504466453(0) win 242
06:01:07.992931 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.28.1.domain: S 3453873749:3453873749(0) win 242
06:01:13.126171 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.29.1.domain: S 3984740181:3984740181(0) win 242
06:01:18.237385 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.30.1.domain: S 1101968762:1101968762(0) win 242
06:01:23.354751 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.31.1.domain: S 3145478250:3145478250(0) win 242
06:01:28.481710 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.32.1.domain: S 3742923526:3742923526(0) win 242
06:01:33.601717 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.33.1.domain: S 685017136:685017136(0) win 242
06:01:38.711348 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.34.1.domain: S 357520157:357520157(0) win 242
06:01:43.831041 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.35.1.domain: S 3114347597:3114347597(0) win 242
06:01:48.950822 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.36.1.domain: S 3989749054:3989749054(0) win 242
06:01:54.071207 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.37.1.domain: S 104626974:104626974(0) win 242
06:01:59.190766 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetA.38.1.domain: S 3121137008:3121137008(0) win 242

06:49:55.793053 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetB.0.1.domain: S 3172885021:3172885021(0) win 242
06:50:00.433858 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetB.1.1.domain: S 4008039718:4008039718(0) win 242
06:50:05.578539 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetB.2.1.domain: S 3133502723:3133502723(0) win 242

06:06:19.492397 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetC.158.1.domain: S 3057098328:3057098328(0) win 242
06:15:35.877587 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetC.160.1.domain: S 3057098328:3057098328(0) win 242
06:24:56.256924 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetC.162.1.domain: S 3057098328:3057098328(0) win 242
06:34:20.474591 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetC.164.1.domain: S 3057098328:3057098328(0) win 242
06:39:00.552359 SourceB.10053 > TargetNetC.165.1.domain: S 3057098328:3057098328(0) win 242

NOTE: This particular scan continued for two or three days at a very low
hourly rate (except for the unusually high rate SourceB used against
TargetNetA early on, although this could have been an attempt to mask
SourceA's scan, or just a misconfiguration). Only a fraction of the data
is shown here to give a feel for the type of coordinated signature we
are detecting.  Both SourceA and SourceB started the scans within
minutes of each other, and ended their scans within hours of each other.

===============================
CONCLUSION: 
The examples shown above represent a change in the kinds of attacks and
probes we track.  Previously it has been common for a single attacker to
target multiple sites.  Now we see indications of multiple attackers
working together to target either single sites or multiple sites.  We
assert that these techniques are starting to be widely used and that the
attacker community is likely to continue using these new techniques for
the forseeable future. It is imperative that intrusion detection tools,
techniques, and tracking databases be developed or modified to detect 
and respond to this new threat.

[1] Irwin
[2] Vazquez



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