Batten Down the Hatches


Roedy Green

I generally recommend people avoid using Internet Explorer and
Outlook. For the next few weeks it is especially important to avoid

For alternatives see and

I noticed the MS Windows update site is down.


Most major antivirus companies plan to update their antivirus software
to spot systems infected with the back doors and keystroke loggers
associated with this attack.

Subject: (fwd) Major Internet Attack Under Way

Google Search; News (by date): internet attack

Major Internet Attack Under Way
June 25, 2004

By George V. Hulme

Internet security organizations are warning that dozens of major
Internet sites, and potentially thousands of Web sites across the
Internet, are currently under attack.

Several Web administrators from major companies said their
Windows-based Web servers were compromised despite being up to date on
security patches, security analysts reported.

"We've been watching activity since last Sunday, but it's now hit a
critical mass," says Marcus Sachs, director of the SANS Internet Storm
Center, who is in communications with Homeland Security's National
Cyber Security division about the attack.

The attack appears to be one of the most sophisticated Internet
attacks to date. The attackers are compromising and infecting
E-commerce and corporate Web sites with malicious code. That code is
used to infect Web surfers' using certain versions of Internet

Security experts say Web surfers visiting these sites are at risk of
having their machines infected with Trojan horse applications, used to
hijack computers, as well as keystroke loggers, which are capable of
stealing personal information such as financial account numbers and

It's not clear if the latest Internet Explorer patches are able to
protect users' systems from becoming infected. Internet security firm
Symantec's DeepSight Threat Alert says IE users are being infected
through a known, but still unpatched, Internet Explorer flaw.

Syamantec's BugTraq ID for the flaws are 10472 and 10473. More
information about these flaws are available at and .

Security experts have been studying the attack and are unclear about
the motive behind it. Some say the attacks can be traced to a Russian
Web IP address of known spammers; others say the attack is designed to
steal consumers' financial information.

Daniel J. Frasnelli, manager of the technical assistance center for
managed security services provider NetSec, says it started monitoring
the attack activity early Thursday and immediately notified its
security customers.

NetSec wouldn't disclose the names of the E-commerce sites under
attack, citing legal fears, but Frasnelli said infected sites include
a major auction site, an auto-pricing site, and search-engine sites.
"We all know these sites," he says.

Security researchers say it's not yet clear how the attackers have
compromised these Web sites. "It'll take some considerable forensic
examinations," says Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering for
Internet security firm Symantec.

It appears that the attackers are compromising Web servers running
Microsoft's Internet Information Services, either because they aren't
patched or through a newfound software vulnerability.

Web surfers who visit infected sites are infected via gif images or
other Web-site objects that have malicious code attached to them,
including keystroke loggers and Trojan horse applications.

"Our big concern is that there is a zero-day vulnerability in IIS,"
Sachs says.

Microsoft is investigating the attacks. The software vendor issued a
statement saying that "at 4:00 pm PT [Thursday], Microsoft began
investigating reports that some customers running unprotected versions
of IIS 5.0, a component of Windows 2000 Server, were being targeted."

Microsoft and Symantec say these sites are being hit with a malicious
application known as Download_Ject.

At 3 a.m. Friday, Microsoft issued a statement saying that "early
indications suggest" that unpatched IIS 5.0 Servers are the systems
targeted in the attack. Microsoft said the servers have not been
updated with the patch included in Microsoft security bulletin April
MS04-011. "Customers should ensure they have installed MS04-011 to
help secure against the issues corrected by that security update," the
company said.

Microsoft is also urging its customers to download and install the IE
patch included with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-013 and that they
"utilize high security settings" in Internet Explorer.

To help defend against the attack, Microsoft is urging consumers to
read It's
also asking its business customers to read;en-us;833633 to
"minimize risk." Microsoft corporate customers that have deployed XP
SP2 RC2 are not at risk to the attack, the company said.


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question