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CERT Reports New DDoS Tool

CERT, the computer security research unit of Carnegie Mellon University (www.cmu.edu), has reported a new tool capable of being used in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

The script, which has been called mstream on the Internet, consists of two binaries, an agent and a handler. The agent sits on compromised host machines, and, when activated, sends a stream of garbage pings to a prespecified IP address. The handler manages the agents, and gives instructions to the agents when a DDoS attack is desired.

Interestingly, the agent must be installed in the root directory of the host machine, but the handler can reside in any user directory. This may make tracking malicious users more difficult, once the attack is launched.

CERT (www.cert.org) considers mstream capable of launching severe DDoS attacks like the ones that crippled Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) and E*trade (www.etrade.com). However, there is no additional functionality that makes mstream more dangerous than trinoo or tfn.

As with most DDoS tools, the best action users can take is scan their machines for the presence of the agent on their networks, to ensure that their machines are not used as hosts.

Users can find the full report at http://www.cert.org/incident_notes/IN-2000-05.html - Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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