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TUCoPS :: Unix :: General :: 9218.txt

Altered System Binaries Incident

Security Bulletin 9218                  DISA Defense Communications System
June 23, 1992               Published by: DDN Security Coordination Center
                                      (SCC@NIC.DDN.MIL)   1-(800) 365-3642

                        DEFENSE  DATA  NETWORK
                          SECURITY  BULLETIN

  The DDN SECURITY BULLETIN is distributed by the DDN Security
  Coordination Center (SCC) under DISA contract as a means of communicating
  information on network and host security exposures, fixes, and concerns
  to security and management personnel at DDN facilities.  Back issues may
  be obtained via FTP (or Kermit) from NIC.DDN.MIL []
  using login="anonymous" and password="guest".  The bulletin pathname is
  scc/ddn-security-yynn (where "yy" is the year the bulletin is issued
  and "nn" is a bulletin number, e.g. scc/ddn-security-9218).
+ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +
!                                                                       !
!     The following important advisory was issued by the Computer       !
!     Emergency Response Team (CERT) and is being relayed unedited      !
!     via the Defense Information Systems Agency's Security             !
!     Coordination Center distribution system as a means of providing   !
!     DDN subscribers with useful security information.                 !
!                                                                       !
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CA-92:14                        CERT Advisory
                                June 22, 1992
                        Altered System Binaries Incident


The Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center (CERT/CC) has
received information regarding a series of significant intrusion
incidents on the Internet.  Systems administrators should be aware
that many systems on the Internet have been compromised due to this
activity.  To identify whether your systems have been affected by the
activity we recommend that all system administrators check for the
signs of intrusion detailed in this advisory.

This advisory describes the activities that have been identified as
part of this particular incident.  This does not address the
possibility that systems may have been compromised due to other,
unrelated intrusion activity.


I.   Description

     The intruders gain initial access to a host by discovering a
     password for a user account on the system, exploiting a "+" in 
     the "/etc/hosts.equiv" file, or any ".rhosts" files on the
     system.  The intruder then connects to the system using rsh and
     attempts to become root on the compromised system.  An alias of
     "decode" may be used to gain root privileges.

II.  Impact
     Having gained root access on a system, the intruder may make
     unauthorized changes to system binaries that can capture account
     information for both local and remote systems.  In addition, the
     intruder adds "+ +" to any ".rhosts" files to which the intruder
     has access.

III. Solution 

     A. Check your systems for signs of intrusion due to this incident.

        1. Check the login, telnet, and uucpd binaries (for example,
           "/bin/login", "/usr/ucb/telnet", and "/usr/etc/in.uucpd" on
           Sun systems) against copies from distribution media.  Note that
           a check for creation or modification times and sizes is
           not sufficient to assure that the files have not been modified.
           The CERT/CC suggests that you compare the output of the
           "sum(1)" or "cmp(1)" command on both the distribution and
           installed versions of the binaries.

        2. If the check from (A.1) indicates that your binaries have been
           modified, check for the presence of a password log file.  Since
           the name of the logfile is often changed, the name of the file
           should be obtained using the "strings(1)" command on the Trojan
           login, uucpd, or telnet binary.  Examples of filenames used on
           other systems are:

                               "/usr/spool/. " (dot space)

           Verify that the contents of files found using the "strings(1)"
           command do not contain valid username/password combinations.  

        3. Check for the presence of "+" in the "/etc/hosts.equiv"

           NOTE that Sun Microsystems installs the SunOS operating 
           system with a default "+" in the /etc/hosts.equiv
           file for easy network access.  This should be removed
           unless required in your operating environment and protected
           by a firewall network configuration.  Leaving the "+"
           intact will allow any non-root user on the Internet to
           login to the system without a password.

        4. Check the home directory for each entry in the "/etc/passwd"
           file for the presence of a ".rhosts" file containing
           "+ +" (plus space plus).

        5. Assure that your "/etc/fstab", "/etc/inetd.conf", and
           "/etc/exports" files have not been modified.

     B. Take the following steps to secure your systems.

        1. Save copies of the identified files to removable media and 
           remove any password log files as found in (A.2) above.

        2. Replace any modified binaries with copies from
           distribution media.

        3. Remove the "+" entry from the "/etc/hosts.equiv"
           file and the "+ +" (plus space plus) entry from any
           ".rhosts" files.  

        4. Change ownership of the "/etc" directory to userid "root"
           if it is owned by "bin" (as distributed by Sun).
        5. Change every password on the system and assure that the new 
           passwords are robust using a package such as Crack or Cops
           (available via anonymous ftp from

        6. Inspect and restore any changes made to your "/etc/fstab", 
           "/etc/exports", or "/etc/inetd.conf" files.  If any
           modifications are found in these files, you will need to
           unmount file systems and restart daemons once the files
           have been restored.  Alternatively the system could be
        7. Remove the "decode" alias from your global mail aliases
           file ("/etc/aliases" on Sun systems, "/usr/lib/aliases" on
           other UNIX systems).

If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact CERT/CC or
your representative in FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams).

Internet E-mail:
Telephone: 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)
           CERT/CC personnel answer 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. EST(GMT-5)/EDT(GMT-4),
           on call for emergencies during other hours.

Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center (CERT/CC)
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Past advisories, information about FIRST representatives, and other
information related to computer security are available for anonymous ftp
from (

*                                                                          *
*    The point of contact for MILNET security-related incidents is the     *
*    Security Coordination Center (SCC).                                   *
*                                                                          *
*               E-mail address: SCC@NIC.DDN.MIL                            *
*                                                                          *
*               Telephone: 1-(800)-365-3642                                *
*                                                                          *
*    NIC Help Desk personnel are available from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. EST,   *
*    Monday through Friday except on federal holidays.                     *
*                                                                          *

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