Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Rootkit Web sites fall to DDOS attack

Filed under
Security

Two prominent Web sites that specialize in remote access software known as "rootkits" have been taken offline by a large distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. The take-down was allegedly ordered by a shadowy group of hackers and rootkit authors who took offense to criticisms of their software posted on the sites.

Rootkit.com, an established Web site run by security expert Greg Hoglund, has been offline for almost a week. Two other sites, operated by a prominent rootkit author known as "Holy Father" have also been taken down in the attacks, which are believed to be the work of a group of Bulgarian and Turkish hackers known as the SIS-Team, according to Hoglund, the chief executive officer of HBGary, Inc., an information technology software and services company.

The attack against rootkit.com began on Tuesday, April 5, after someone using the name "ATmaCA" posted an inflammatory message to one of the discussion groups on the site that advertised a number of malicious remote access software programs sold by SIS Team, including SIS-Downloader, ProAgent and SIS-IExploiter, Hoglund said.

The programs are powerful spyware tools that, when combined, enable remote attackers to secretly compromise other machines using attack Web pages. They are sold online at Web sites like www.spyinstructors.com and are popular with those behind spam campaigns, who use the tools to plant remote control programs that are then used to send out spam, Hoglund said.

The post by ATmaCA prompted curt responses from rootkit.com members, who objected to authors using the discussion forum as a venue to advertise their commercial software. Other rootkits discussed on rootkit.com are open source, and authors typically post links to their source code on the site, Hoglund said.

In the "flame war" that erupted between the SIS-Team members and the rootkit.com contributors, questions were also raised about the quality of the SIS-Team products. Some rootkit.com regulars alleged that the tools were poorly written and frequently crashed machines they ran on, Hoglund said.

Within hours of the first post from ATmaCA, the rootkit.com Web site was under attack by a network of more than 500 compromised computers, or bots, that flooded the site with about 170,000 requests a second, making it unreachable for most Internet users, he said.

Two rootkit-focused Web sites operated by Holy Father were also downed by DDOS attacks after that person posted remarks critical of ATmaCA and SIS-Team, according to an e-mail from Holy Father.

In both cases, extortion e-mail was sent to the Web site owner following the DDoS attacks saying that the Web site owners could end the attacks by posting public apologies to ATmaCA and SIS-Team on their Web sites, Hoglund and Holy Father said.

Hoglund, who is a noted security expert and author of the book "Exploiting Software," was working on Monday to bring the rootkit.com Web site back online. He expressed outrage at the attacks, which he said were instigated by a group of immature hackers, and said that he would have taken the inflammatory post about ATmaCA and SIS-Team off rootkit.com as a matter of policy.

"I find it very offensive that a public Web site that does nothing but share information is attacked by a bunch of immature children," he said. "These are hackers who can't stand on their own merits. They make claims for their software, and then can't argue about it, but just DDOS their critics off the Internet."

Rootkit.com has more than 25,000 registered users and about 30 regular contributors. Despite the reputation of rootkits as hacker tools, many of those who frequent the site are professional security experts and students who study computer security and use the rootkit source code available on the site to figure out ways to defend against rootkit programs, Hoglund said.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Raspberry Pi powered juggling performance

Flashing pins are spinning tens of feet into the air on a pitch dark stage. It's a juggling performance. All of the pins are perfectly synchronized to flash different colors in time to the music. It's part of the magic of theater and a special night out with friends to enjoy a distraction from daily life. Part of the magic—and why it's called magic—is that the audience doesn't know how these secrets are made backstage. Read more

Munich Reversal Turnaround, Linus on the Desktop, and Red Hat Time Protocol

Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case. In other news, Linus Torvalds today said he still wants the desktop. There are lots of other LinuxCon links and a few gaming posts to highlight. And finally today, Red Hat's Eric Dube explains RHEL 7's new time protocol. Read more

NHS open-source Spine 2 platform to go live next week

Last year, the NHS said open source would be a key feature of the new approach to healthcare IT. It hopes embracing open source will both cut the upfront costs of implementing new IT systems and take advantage of using the best brains from different areas of healthcare to develop collaborative solutions. Meyer said the Spine switchover team has “picked up the gauntlet around open-source software”. The HSCIC and BJSS have collaborated to build the core services of Spine 2, such as electronic prescriptions and care records, “in a series of iterative developments”. Read more

What the Linux Foundation Does for Linux

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, talks about Linux a lot. During his keynote at the LinuxCon USA event here, Zemlin noted that it's often difficult for him to come up with new material for talking about the state of Linux at this point. Every year at LinuxCon, Zemlin delivers his State of Linux address, but this time he took a different approach. Zemlin detailed what he actually does and how the Linux Foundation works to advance the state of Linux. Fundamentally it's all about enabling the open source collaboration model for software development. "We are seeing a shift now where the majority of code in any product or service is going to be open source," Zemlin said. Zemlin added that open source is the new Pareto Principle for software development, where 80 percent of software code is open source. The nature of collaborative development itself has changed in recent years. For years the software collaboration was achieved mostly through standards organizations. Read more