RE: MS SQL WORM IS DESTROYING INTERNET BLOCK PORT 1434! Jan 25 2003 11:16PM
John Howie (JHowie securitytoolkit com) (1 replies)
RE: MS SQL WORM IS DESTROYING INTERNET BLOCK PORT 1434! Jan 26 2003 12:48AM
Arne Vidstrom (arne vidstrom ntsecurity nu)
Hi all,

The problem is that if you say that good things come out of this there will
be people out there who get inspired to write new worms with the argument
that they "do good to the society" without considering the side-effects, or
who just use it as an excuse to do damage. Also it's human nature (or
something like that) to have the opinion that if something is bad you aren't
allowed to say that it has something good in it too, but that's not really
an objective argument.

In fact the worm might have done lots of good - some of the vulnerable
databases probably contain very sensitive information. A DoS of the Internet
doesn't last forever, but if sensitive information from databases get into
the hands of the wrong people it's a long-lasting problem. Sensitive
corporate information, and especially sensitive information about
individuals, and so on. I would rather have no Internet access for a few
days than have sensitive information about myself leaked to the wrong
people. Of course the perfect solution would be if those responsible for the
databases make sure they're secure, but in a world that isn't perfect a worm
might force them to make sure they're secure. Unfortunately lot's of people
think they can neglect security as long as they don't see anything bad
happening (and they often go selectively blind on purpose). I know for a
fact that a lot of people responsible for very sensitive systems neglect
security more or less on purpose for different reasons, and their only touch
with reality is when they're struck with a worm or similar. Hopefully some
of them have learned to take security more seriously now, and hopefully some
sensitive information that would have leaked out in the future won't do so
now, because of the worm. So I believe he wrote that - seriously, I do. ;-)
That aside, I *don't* think releasing worms is a good way to solve the
problem!

/Arne

-----Original Message-----
From: John Howie [mailto:JHowie (at) securitytoolkit (dot) com [email concealed]]
Sent: den 26 januari 2003 00:17
To: jasonc (at) science (dot) org [email concealed]; Jay D. Dyson; Bugtraq
Subject: RE: MS SQL WORM IS DESTROYING INTERNET BLOCK PORT 1434!

Jason,

I can't believe you wrote this - seriously, I can't.

>
> As of now we don't know who wrote the worm, but we do know that it
looks
> like a concept worm with no malicious payload. There is a good
argument to
> be made in favor of such worms.
>

What good can come of a widespread DoS of the Internet? What about the
problems that come hacker getting a hold of the payload and making it
more malicious before everyone can respond? Remember, most people won't
know about this until Monday and won't be able to fix the problem until
later that day, or perhaps later in the week.

>
> Before you get upset at your vendor, or anyone else's, consider the
bigger
> picture and recognize the increased security hardening the Internet
just
> received.
>

It shouldn't have needed it. Microsoft released a patch for the
vulnerability some time ago (granted it wasn't easy to install,
especially for MSDE installations) but the real problem is those system
administrators who don't apply patches when there is no good reason not
to, and the network and firewall administrators who, for some
incomprehensible reason, leave open ports like this in their firewalls
and routers.

Maybe the time has come to draft legislation to prosecute not only the
writers of such malware, but those who recklessly leave their systems
vulnerable and defenseless and, through their negligence, help propagate
malware. Lastly, Microsoft and all other vendors need to make their
patches available for all configurations and easier to install (a quick
check shows that SQL Server SP3 is still not available for MSDE).

John Howie CISSP MCSE
President, Security Toolkit LLC

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