Outwitting the Witty Worm

Kumar, Paxson, Weaver: “Outwitting the Witty Worm: Exploiting Underlying Structure for Detailed Reconstruction of an Internet Scale Event” is a brilliant forensic analysis. Their overview:

Many Internet worms use pseudo-random numbers to scan the IP address-space. In this project, we reverse engineered the state of the pseudo-random number generator (pRNG) which the Witty worm used to generate packets. By combining our knowledge of Witty’s code with the pRNG state, we performed a detailed recreation of the worm’s spread. We were able to discover several characteristics of the infected systems, including their uptime, network access bandwidth, and number of disks. Additionally, we were able to find specific details about the worm author’s deliberate targeting of a US Military base, and determine the identity of Patient 0, the system used to launch the worm.

and there’s interesting followon discussion at SecurityFocus.

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