Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


03:53 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme

Is It Time For Security To Go On The Offense?

Security researcher Joel Eriksson recently demonstrated how security vulnerabilities within hacker attack tools can be used to turn the tide on online criminals.

Security researcher Joel Eriksson recently demonstrated how security vulnerabilities within hacker attack tools can be used to turn the tide on online criminals.According to a Wired blog post, Eriksson, a security researcher with Swedish security form Bitsec, demonstrated how he has successfully reverse engineered attack software, such as Trojan horses, so that he can upload his own exploits on the attacking systems.

It seems Eriksson is finding vulnerabilities in a number of "remote administration" tools, including Bifrost and PCShare.

"If there is a vulnerability, it is still game over for the hacker," Eriksson is quoted as saying.

It's truly turning the tables on attackers: Once a vulnerability is found in a Trojan, it's then possible to crash, or even infect, the attacking system with the software of your choosing.

I'm all for nailing the bad guys, and while this is interesting, there's the obvious question: are you legally justified toasting the machine that is attacking you? And what about the innocent bystander, albeit infected, systems potentially caught in the crossfire?

This research sort of reminds me of a story I wrote one week short of five years ago, about the digital tar pit, LaBrea, developed by Tom Liston. LaBrea would entrap hackers and worms -- but it froze their machine and forced the hacker to break off the attack. That story is available here, and goes into how LaBrea might go afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

Both Eriksson's and Liston's works are laudable, in my opinion. And maybe, one day, there will be a legal mechanism, akin to digital self-defense, that would let us all safely and legally temporarily brick -- or at least reboot -- an offending system.


Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
'BootHole' Vulnerability Exposes Secure Boot Devices to Attack
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/29/2020
Average Cost of a Data Breach: $3.86 Million
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  7/29/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
In solidus before versions 2.8.6, 2.9.6, and 2.10.2, there is an bility to change order address without triggering address validations. This vulnerability allows a malicious customer to craft request data with parameters that allow changing the address of the current order without changing the ship...
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
Extreme Analytics in Extreme Management Center before allows unauthenticated reflected XSS via a parameter in a GET request, aka CFD-4887.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
save-server (npm package) before version 1.05 is affected by a CSRF vulnerability, as there is no CSRF mitigation (Tokens etc.). The fix introduced in version version 1.05 unintentionally breaks uploading so version v1.0.7 is the fixed version. This is patched by implementing Double submit. The CSRF...
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
An exploitable arbitrary file delete vulnerability exists in SoftPerfect RAM Disk 4.1 spvve.sys driver. A specially crafted I/O request packet (IRP) can allow an unprivileged user to delete any file on the filesystem. An attacker can send a malicious IRP to trigger this vulnerability.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
An issue was discovered in the Gantt-Chart module before 5.5.4 for Jira. Due to a missing privilege check, it is possible to read and write to the module configuration of other users. This can also be used to deliver an XSS payload to other users' dashboards. To exploit this vulnerability, an attack...