[ISN] What, Me Worry About Warhol Worms?

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 01:33:15 PDT

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "[ISN] Netscape Sees Red As FBI Warns Of New Attack"

    Forwarded from: "Jay D. Dyson" <jdysonat_private>
    Hi folks,
    	I've seen this fly across a number of lists lately:
    	Warhol Worms: The Potential for Very Fast Internet Plagues
    	While Mr. Weaver does raise some compelling points about the
    possibility of a Warhol Worm (catchy term!), there are some problems with
    the model he presents.
    	1.	Connection timeout:
    		Not every IP on the 'net is alive.  And some that are
    		alive don't respond to pings or vanilla TCP scans.
    	2.	Firewalls:
    		Not every system behind a firewall is NAT'd.  Some systems
    		have routable IPs behind those firewalls (don't ask me
    	3.	Typical congestion:
    		Not every system on the 'net is a turbo-charged Sun
    		Microsystems Enterprise 10,000.  A number of systems are
    		Linux or BSD boxes running on a P200 or slower.  (Shoot,
    		one of my boxes running Linux would be a P166 if the
    		motherboard hadn't shelled out at the last minute.)
    	4.	Honeypots:
    		HIDS configured to bind to ports typically used by known
    		vulnerable services.  The worm "crawls in," but it won't
    		crawl out.
    	5.	Human error:
    		As every worm released thus far shows, we're only human.
    		Every worm from the Morris worm of the '80s to the Code
    		Red have suffered from programmatic mistakes.  It's just
    		the nature of the beast.
    	6.	Hurry Up and Wait:
    		If such a worm were to start propagating at such prodigous
    		speeds, it would ultimate start tripping over itself.  The
    		first network that would be a victim of it would likely
    		suffer network saturation.  This would in turn slow the
    		propagation to other networks significantly.
    	All these factors taken together will greatly increase -- by at
    least an order of magnitude -- the purported Warholian window.  
    	Sure, the notion of a fast-moving worm seems scary on the face. 
    There is admittedly no effective human response to it...but when you get
    right down to it, the same is true for the slow-as-molasses-in-January
    	With all of that in mind, the timeframe of spread isn't the
    alarming part.  The alarming part is that most vendors and admins are
    still sitting on their thumb when it comes to sound security practices. 
    *That* is truly the cause for alarm here. 
    - -Jay
      (    (                                                          _______
      ))   ))   .--"There's always time for a good cup of coffee"--.   >====<--.
    C|~~|C|~~| (>------ Jay D. Dyson -- jdysonat_private ------<) |    = |-'
     `--' `--'  `-------- Real men prefer full disclosure. --------'  `------'
    Version: 2.6.2
    Comment: See http://www.treachery.net/~jdyson/ for current keys.
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
    To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
    of the mail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Aug 17 2001 - 06:12:54 PDT