[ba-unrev-talk] How to own the internet in your spare time
"The ability of attackers to rapidly gain control of vast numbers of
Internet hosts poses an immense risk to the overall security of the
Internet. Once subverted, these hosts can not only be used to launch
massive denial of service floods, but also to steal or corrupt great
quantities of sensitive information, and confuse and disrupt use of the
network in more subtle ways.
We present an analysis of the magnitude of the threat. We begin with a
mathematical model derived from empirical data of the spread of Code Red I
in July, 2001. We discuss techniques subsequently employed for achieving
greater virulence by Code Red II and Nimda. In this context, we develop and
evaluate several new, highly virulent possible techniques: hit-list
scanning (which creates a Warhol worm), permutation scanning (which enables
self-coordinating scanning), and use of Internet-sized hit-lists (which
creates a flash worm).
We then turn to the to the threat of surreptitious worms that spread more
slowly but in a much harder to detect "contagion" fashion. We demonstrate
that such a worm today could arguably subvert upwards of 10,000,000
Internet hosts. We also consider robust mechanisms by which attackers can
control and update deployed worms.
In conclusion, we argue for the pressing need to develop a "Center for
Disease Control" analog for virus- and worm-based threats to national
cybersecurity, and sketch some of the components that would go into such a
Center. " (02)