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WEB HOSTING NEWS

DNS Flaw Causes Global Panic
By: Michael Lowry
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    2008-09-03

    Table of Contents:
  • DNS Flaw Causes Global Panic
  • Flaw Exposed
  • Patch Now!
  • What Now?

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    DNS Flaw Causes Global Panic - Patch Now!


    (Page 3 of 4 )

    When the DNS is trying to answer a request, it sends the request to different servers until it can find the pertaining location. Each server is called an “in-bailiwick” and its job is to either send the information back or pass it on to the next server. Prior to this flaw, the bad guy would attack the original address and attempt to guess the right authentication code before it's given the correct information. Now, they also attack the in-bailiwick servers and feed them false information, which is then provided to the original address and cached so it doesn't have to look up the information again.

    This is what Kaminsky and company were up against. It's up to the vendors to deploy the patch and update their servers. Apple was especially admonished for its late response. They use quite a bit of open source code in their operating systems and rely on BIND, which is developed by ISC and is the most commonly used DNS server on the Internet. ISC patched BIND on July 8, but it took Apple until August 1 to patch their OS X operating system, which they called iPatch...just kidding. But everything should be okay now, right? Not quite.

    According to Swa Frantzen of SANS Internet Storm Center, Apple's patch didn't go far enough. “Apple might have fixed some of the more important parts for servers, but is far from done yet as all the clients linked against a DNS client library still need to get the workaround for the protocol weakness,” Frantzen said. Apparently, BIND for OS X was predictably incrementing the ports it uses to communicate DNS information. Score one for PC.

    And in a comical display of coincidence, it was reported that HD Moore, the creator of the Metasploit hacking toolkit, was the victim of a cache poisoning attack. One of AT&T's DNS cache servers in the Austin, Texas region was attacked and the cache entry for www.google.com was replaced with a fake page being run by a scammer.

    “The attack itself was not malicious, did not load malware, and from an operational standpoint, had zero impact,” Moore said. Even though the comeuppance was minimal, it's encouraging to see karma somewhere other than a mediocre television sitcom. Score one for everybody.

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