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A Robust Combination from Symantec
How to solve the anti-spam dilemma
1. In Focus: Honeypots That Collect Malware
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
- Vulnerabilities in PHP-based Libraries
- Secure Computing to Acquire CyberGuard
- EarthLink to Acquire Security Solutions Maker Aluria Software
3. Security Toolkit
- Security Matters Blog
4. New and Improved
- Pocket PC File Encryption
==== Sponsor: Symantec ===
A Robust Combination from Symantec
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==== 1. In Focus: Honeypots That Collect Malware === by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
The last two weeks, I've written about proactive honeypots that seek
out malicious Web sites, two of which are unavailable to the public and
one that you can download to run on your own networks. If you missed
either of those articles, they're available on our Web site at the URLs
below. This week, I'll discuss two "passive" honeypots--that is,
honeypots that sit waiting for intrusion attempts.
Because honeypots present an attack point for potential intruders,
they're useful in determining what sort of intrusion attempts are being
launched against your network. In some cases, they can detect intrusion
methods that are completely unknown to even the most up-to-date
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs).
I recently learned about two new honeypots. The first is mwcollect (at
the URL below), which was released in April 2005 and is partially
funded by The Honeynet Project. Mwcollect is designed specifically to
collect malware--thus the "mw" prefix in the mwcollect name. The tool
runs on Linux and OpenBSD and can also run on Cygwin, a Linux
environment that runs on Windows platforms.
Mwcollect is a little different from typical honeypots because it was
originally designed to collect bot software, but the current version
collects worms and other forms of malware that take advantage of
vulnerabilities that mwcollect exposes. According to the mwcollect Web
site, systems that run the tool can't be infected with malware due to
the way mwcollect operates internally. It binds to specified ports,
waits for an exploit attempt, scans for shell code, and tries to
download any related malware. Captured malware can then be added to a
database at the mwcollect Web site.
The next version of mwcollect will allow three levels of network
interactivity. The first level is the same as I describe above. The
second level will passively analyze network traffic (like a sniffer in
promiscuous mode would) and will try to download any related malware.
The third or lowest level of interactivity will also passively analyze
network traffic but won't try to download related malware. You can
learn a little more about the tool at the Web site, and join in an
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for further discussion.
The second new honeypot, Nepenthes, was released earlier this month and
is similar to mwcollect. It too presents known vulnerabilities to the
network and waits for intrusion attempts. Current modules for Nepenthes
allow it to emulate problems with DCOM, Local Security Authority
Service (LSASS), WINS, ASN1, NetBIOS, SQL Server, and a lot more
Microsoft services. Because Nepenthes runs on Linux systems, none of
those services would actually be available, which means exploits
against them would have little or no effect on the underlying OS.
Just like mwcollect, when Nepenthes detects intrusion attempts, it
tries to download any related malware through a variety of methods
including FTP, Trivial FTP (TFTP), and HTTP. Captured malware is then
sent to a center server hosted by the developers of the tool.
Documentation for Nepenthes doesn't explain what goes on under the
hood. But as best I can determine (I haven't actually installed the
tool yet), it captures shell-code exploits; looks for instructions that
try to download code from the Internet (which many types of malware
have); and if it finds such instructions, proceeds to try to download
the malware in accordance with the intruder's intent--for example, if
the captured code indicates that the system should use FTP to download
a file, Nepenthes will try to do that. I suspect that mwcollect works
in a similar fashion. Nepenthes doesn't appear to run on Windows
platforms using Cygwin, so you'll probably need a Linux-based system to
put it to use on your networks.
If you use honeypots as do so many administrators these days, be sure
to take a closer look at mwcollect and Nepenthes.
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==== 2. Security News and Features ===
Recent Security Vulnerabilities
If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security
Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security
vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these
Vulnerabilities in PHP-based Libraries
Major security problems in two popular Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)-
based libraries have led to complete removal of a particular
programming function in those libraries. In June, problems were
discovered in libraries that provide PHP-based support for XML and RPC,
both of which are used by many applications today, including hugely
popular blog software packages. A subsequent code audit revealed still
Secure Computing to Acquire CyberGuard
Secure Computing announced that it will acquire CyberGuard. Under
the terms of the deal, Secure Computing will acquire all outstanding
shares of CyberGuard common stock and in turn give shares of its common
stock, as well as cash, to CyberGuard stockholders.
EarthLink to Acquire Security Solutions Maker Aluria Software
EarthLink and Aluria Software announced a deal in which EarthLink
will acquire the assets of Aluria, makers of the Spyware Eliminator
software. Terms of the deal, expected to close in September, weren't
==== Resources and Events ===
SQL Server 2005 Roadshow Is Coming to a City Near You
Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts
will present real-world information about administration, development,
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High Risk Internet Access: Are You in Control?
Defending against Internet criminals, spyware, and phishing and
addressing the points of risk that Internet-enabled applications expose
your organization to can seem like an epic battle with Medusa. So how
do you take control of these valuable resources? In this free Web
seminar, you'll get the tools you need to help you analyze the impact
Internet-based threats have on your organization and tools to aid you
in the construction of Acceptable-Use Policies (AUPs).
Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe
Back by popular demand--Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server
2005! SQL Server experts will present real-world information about
administration, development, and business intelligence to help you
implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve
your database-computing environment. Receive a 1-year membership to
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Discover SQL Server 2005 for the enterprise. Are you prepared?
In this free, half-day event, you'll learn how the top new features
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In this free Web seminar, you'll get the tools you need to ensure
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==== 3. Security Toolkit ====
Security Matters Blog: Wi-Fi Security Is Better Than I Expected
by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://list.windowsitpro.com/t?ctl=1264F:4FB69
There's a lot of talk about the need for increased Wi-Fi security. I
was surprised at what I found when I did a little "war driving" in my
by John Savill, http://list.windowsitpro.com/t?ctl=1264E:4FB69
Q: I created a custom .adm file and imported it into a Group Policy
Object's (GPO's) Administrative Templates. Why can't I see any of the
settings in Group Policy Editor (GPE)?
Find the answer at
==== Announcements === (from Windows IT Pro and its partners)
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==== 4. New and Improved === by Renee Munshi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pocket PC File Encryption
Infotecs offers ViPNet Safe Disk for Pocket PC, which encrypts and
password-protects sensitive files on PDAs. Data is protected even when
the device is switched off or in standby mode. You can open and edit
any file from a secure folder in a word processor or database program--
the file is automatically decrypted when opened and encrypted when
saved. ViPNet Safe Disk for Pocket PC supports two 256-bit encryption
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