How To Torment Script Kiddies

Recently while working on a server, I noticed that there was some unusual files in the /tmp directory. This always sends up red flags in my head so I investigated more closely and determined that somebody had placed a file on the server via a PHPBB exploit and was using it as a means of building a zombie network.

Typically this type of activity is closely linked to “script kiddies” and not legitmate hackers. Script kiddies are people with no more hacking ability than anybody else, they simple know how to read about holes in certain software and use other legitmate hackers work to exploit those holes, to some unknown end.

This case was no different. Here are some fun things you can do to mess with them. Many times the script kiddies will leave the software on the server, and that itself is a goldmine of information.

Case in point, I found a binary on the server that was connected to an IRC server. I did a quick review of the process list (ps -auxwww) and determined the process id of the application running. Then I ran:

strace -s 16000 -p {process id}

This command is called stack trace and will attach to an already running application to see what it is doing. This is particularly useful if the binary in question is no longer on the hard drive.

So I attached to the process and was able to determine that it was connected to an IP address on port 6667. Port 6667 is one of the default ports for IRC. So I fired up my trusty IRC client and connected to it. Sure enough I was connected to a server with 106 clients and 3 operators.

So now I had to figure out what channel to join. Lucky for me the binary was still on the hard drive. Here is where the second part comes in. Because script kiddies only use the software and they don’t know how it actually works, we can often get more information from the binary. So to glean information from the binary I ran:

strings {filename}

This printed out a long list of text based strings in the binary. The best part is, the IRC channel that the zombie was supposed to join on the IRC server, and the password for the IRC channel, were right there in front of me. So… I joined the channel.

I must have scared the living hell out of the operator of the zombie network, because as soon as I started talking to him, I was firewalled off of the server completely. All new connections coming into the server were also blocked. Luckily I was able to collect a list of IP addresses of the zombies in the channel before I was disconnected, and I have been systematically notifying the operators of those machines that they have been comprimised.

I am sure somewhere in the world… a script kiddie had to go clean out his pants after that episode. I hope I put a dent in his “zombie network”.

Armed with some of this information I hope that you will be able to torment script kiddies when you encounter them. Not all of them are this easy… But when they make it easy… I say take the time to mess with them… If nothing else it may scare them just enough to stop for a little bit.

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