Getting Hacked Without Being Hacked

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by Tech Manager, Feb 14, 2008.

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  1. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    When I am teaching or doing a seminar about computer security I get the opportunity to address questions and comments from a wide variety of business and personal computer users. One of the common problems I see from both groups is a misunderstanding about how data is handled from computer to computer.

    Recently I had the opportunity to talk security with a man who owned a business and also had several computers at home. His definition of security was to provide good passwords on his 20 work computers and 5 home computers. While good passwords are important they usually don’t provide the level of protection required to secure data and keep it confidential.

    I asked the man just how secure he thought his business and personal machines would be in the event someone really wanted to gain access to his information. He told me it was foolproof. Well, being a bit of a fool, I told him I could get access to his data without hacking any of his machines. We wagered a lunch. I spent 3 hours at his office then met with him at lunch to settle our wager.

    I showed him a list containing the login credentials of the 17 employees he had at work that day. At the top of the list he saw his username and password. The list also contained information on files and file structure; and just for good measure, copies of a couple of his “important” files. He paid for lunch.

    He wanted to know how I gathered this type of information without hacking into his machines. Instead of telling him, I showed him. He was shocked at the vulnerability of his password protected machines.

    Here’s how it was done:

    Read the rest of the article here.
     
  2. mizar

    mizar Registered Member

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    Link doesn't work for me. I am getting this error when trying to reach your article:

    Update: Now it works, just ignore my post...
     
  3. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    Make sure you scan your networks on a regular basis for Packet Sniffers, key loggers, etc.
     
  4. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    As snazzy as the title sounds, in the end it turned out to be nothing more than the attacker gaining PHYSICAL ACCESS to the computers inside your network and doing the job from there. I'll save my being impressed for when sensitive data is accessed remotely, I think...
     
  5. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    Your impression is entirely incorrect. The same thing can be done while sitting in the comfy confines of your apartment or home and snagging cable traffic from your neighbors. The same thing can be done with many wireless signals. Take a drive around your favorite town and see how easy it is to pick up and view all the wireless traffic you can handle.

    And if you won't be satisfied until your sensitive data can be accessed remotely...you're gonna find yourself getting tagged. Follow the advice of the experts and put some security practices in place to prevent prying eyes. Because prying eyes don't have to come from gaining PHYSICAL ACCESS to the computers inside your network.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  6. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Whoops, a loophole.

    But still, I suppose it helps the sensationalism of this article if you don't mention that simply adding an access password to your wireless network stops these kinds of attacks cold. It's entirely dependent on the attacker being able to be part of your LAN - simple as that.
     
  7. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    A password will provide limited protection. As for accessing your LAN (initially) that is also unnecessary. The only thing necessary is for traffic to be sent in clear text from a network and then intercepted along the route.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  8. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    To all:

    A number of posts have been removed.

    No personal attacks will be tolerated on this site. Manage that tendency or move on, that's as straightforward as I can put it.

    If you wish to challenge a technical point, feel free to. However, stick to the technical points and not the gratuitous and emotional verbiage that seems to get dredged up at the drop of a hat.

    Blue
     
  9. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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  10. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Since the moderators deem necessary to allow unsubstantiated lies to stand by repeatedly deleting my comments to the OP's remarks, then I suppose that's how it stands.
     
  11. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    It stands like this: you have been warned for several times in a very short period of time to withold from personal attacks and wordings. Nonetheless you fail the grasp the message and persist on doing so.

    We do not tolerate this kind of behavior over here - period. Furthermore, decisions made by our staff are not open for discussion. Do regard this as a final warning.

    regards,

    paul
     
  12. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    Let's deal with just a few very specific points.

    Internal LAN:

    If you have an internal LAN it is quite simple for any employee, vendor or visitor who can gain access to your network, to use a Packet Sniffer to view traffic on that network.

    Internet

    If you are using, say cable network access, it is equally as simple to have a packet sniffer in place anywhere along that network (within your immediate vicinity) and view unencrypted network.

    In neither case is it necessary to know the initial IP address you wish to monitor. In many cases it is impossible to view the traffic of a specific IP address.

    This technique will work in many cases but not all or even the majority. Let's say you are in the USA and wish to monitor traffic along a specific route in Malaysia. Sniffing traffic is not going to work unless you have a packet sniffer setup on the specific network or along the route.

    But, the technique is useful enough for hackers to monitor traffic on cable networks in their neighborhoods.
     
  13. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    The deletion of my initial comments were arguably justified, which I'll readily admit. I see no need for the reposted versions of my messages to be deleted however - which called for the original poster to simply produce more substantial comebacks than "Wrong again", or otherwise prove his allegations that such attacks are indeed possible by inviting him to perform as such on my own computer. But I'm sure you disagree.

    What a coincidence. I do not have the slightest interest in discussing your policies either.

    Have a good day.
     
  14. solcroft

    solcroft Registered Member

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    Any competent network manager will have policies in place that make the installation and usage of such software impossible on public computers. Even if not, what you're basically saying is that people will be able to access your network traffic if you allow them to sit in front of a computer connected to your network and perform unrestricted actions. Very impressive, I'm sure.

    Do you have an example of what useful data might be captured from this, or how "simple" it would be to gain physical access to a computer along the network route?
     
  15. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    That's of no importance. Apropriate actions have been taken in the meanwhile.

    Have a good day as well.

    regards,

    paul
     
  16. Tech Manager

    Tech Manager Registered Member

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    Any competent network manager will have policies in place. Unfortunately not all spam shops can afford experienced network managers. Thus the need for less experienced managers to be made aware of the problem.

    Useful data might include passwords, correspondence, etc., but you are alreay aware of this I am sure. If you are on a cable connection why not pull your switch out (assuming you have one), install a packet sniffer on your computer and then see what traffic you might glean.

    Best wishes, over and out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
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