Archive for the ‘Honeypot’ Category

Tales from the Honeypot: Bitcoin miner

2014/05/15 1 comment

My Kippo farm has been largely retired as most of the captured sessions where becoming stale and ‘samey’. Thankfully however, I’ve still been getting daily reports thanks to this script (now available in BitBucket repo) and this morning something new caught my attention – a ‘guest’ attempted to turn the compromised machine into a BitCoin miner.

For anyone living under a rock for the last few months, Bitcoin is the first of a new breed of ‘crypto-currency’; essentially a decentralised monetary format with no geographical (or regulatory) boundaries. If you need a refresher, a good basic guide is here if you want to get up to speed.

Our guest connected from an IP address that hasn’t appeared in the honeypot logs previously; whilst the password on the root account is (intentionally) weak, I still find it unlikely that our guest got lucky on the very first attempt. Suspicions at this point are that either the compromised machine was identified as part of a previous compromise; anyone that has run a SSH honeypot for any length of time will be aware that attackers frequently attempt to use compromised machines to scan for other vulnerable victims and that successful rogue log-ins also often disconnect immediately – my assumption has always been that this is nothing more than automated scanners identifying and confirming valid credentials before reporting the system details back to their master for manual follow-up. It is also possible that this particular guest acquired a list of pre-identified vulnerable systems as a foundation for future activities.

How our guest found their way to the system is, unfortunately, pure speculation and for the purposes of this analysis largely irrelevant; what is more interesting is what they chose to do once access was gained. After (very) briefly looking around, and failing to determine the presence of the honeypot a 64-bit, bitcoin miner is downloaded. Details, for those that want to play along from home:

  • Location (live at time of writing, browser beware) –
  • MD5sum – 007471071fb57f52e60c57cb7ecca6c9 (VirusTotal)

Once downloaded, the guest attempts to run the binary with the following parameters:

  • -a sha256d –url=stratum+tcp:// –userpass=orfeousb.vps:qwertz1234chmod +x minerd64

It appears that the guest has little experience with falling foul to a honeypot; when running the binary fails he (or she) downloads the same file, from the same location and attempts to execute the miner a second time. When this fails the guest simply exits the system (after being briefly fooled by Kippo’ “localhost” trick on exit.

Those paying attention will notice the link between both the domain and the mining pool username; this leads me to believe that the miner is downloaded from the attackers own system, not a compromised system subverted for this purpose. Whois records indicate that the domain was first registered July 2013 by a private registrant, include both name and address (redacted until verified).

Given the £-value involved with crypto-currency at present it should be no surprise that enterprising criminals are attempting to cash-in on the bandwagon, with hindsight I’d be more surprised if they didn’t seek to use compromised systems to add to their own mining pool(s, username ‘orfeousb‘ suggests the potential for multiple accounts). I’m someone surprised it has taken until now to be noticed. Brief research (ok, Google-fu) tonight indicates that the minerd64 binary has been a present in active attacks since at least the turn of this year, albeit relying on a different compromise vector (Zimbra compromise), and VirusTotal shows that the exact binary has been seen in the wild since at least March 2014.

The change in attack scenario appears to possibly be part of a wider campaign, as well as this session I’m aware of a similar session taking place on another Kippo honeypot within the last 48hrs, again with connections to .hu systems.

How much this campaign has netted the pool owner(s) to this point is anyone’s guess, where there is profit there will be criminals so I doubt this will be the last we see of similar attack patterns.

Until next time, happy honeypotting.


P.S. For the curious, all shell interaction during the compromise:

ls -l
ls -l /home
cd /home/<redacted>
ls -l
cd ..
cd ..
uname -a
ls -l
./minerd64 -a sha256d –url=stratum+tcp:// –userpass=orfeousb.vps:qwertz1234chmod +x minerd64
ls -l
chmod +x minerd64
ls -l
cd /root
chmod +x minerd64
ls -l
ls -l
chmod minerd64
ls -l

Categories: Honeypot, Kippo, Malware

Pipal password analysis of Kippo password useage

2012/03/03 Comments off

Pipal is a tool for quickly and easily analysing password trends across many passwords, created by @digininja and @n00bz. Install (such as it is) is a straightforward affair; download, unpack, run. Standard usage is equally straightforward; ./pipal.rb ;

Download Pipal from here

I’ve not had too much opportunity run the tool myself, as Robin has been quick to release the results of Pipal’s analysis whenever a new breach has been made publicly available, results of this analysis can be found here.

So, trying to find an opportunity to give Pipal a run out, I decided to take a look at the passwords gathered by my Kippo installation. First up, I decided to take a look at the passwords used with added accounts once intruders compromise the system. Curious to see if the passwords chosen by those that break systems are vulnerable to the same weaknesses of standard users. This password list is quite short, so I’ll just add below:

  • zmxncbv
  • martin4e
  • sanja123hack
  • i123456
  • sistem123q
  • madaucusania
  • zaq12ws34edc
  • 3rwin89
  • b3s3mn0gumala
  • mylove120
  • zipp3r21
  • 19U!&u178
  • sor123in

The full results of this analysis is available here.

Pipal’s output from the analysis can be found here. I was surprised with some of the findings, >;60% of the passwords were 8 characters or less, many based on dictionaries words and only one utilising non-alphanumeric characters. Considering the people choosing these passwords gained access to the server by taking advantage of weak root password, I’d really expect better awareness of the importance of generating strong passwords. Guess not…..

Next up, I wanted to take a look at the passwords that are being used by bruteforce and scanning attempts to gain access to the honeypot installation. This password list is far longer than the list above, totalling 382374 entries. The full list input file is available here, and was generating by running the below SQL query against Kippo’s database. For the purposes of this analysis I decided to ignore authentication attempts that use blank passwords, but for the curious, attempts with passwords number 244062 attempts.

select count(password) from auth where password ;””;

For those not familiar with Kippo, it’s worth noting that it’s default root password (which I stuck with for this analysis) is ‘123456’, this will definitely have had an impact on the results below; partly because it features more prominently as attackers knowing the password confirm and utilise the the credentials, and bruteforce scanners will (may?) stop their attack once valid credentials are found, so that attempts which would have been made after ‘123456’ are not seen by the Kippo sensor.

The full output from Pipal from this analysis can be found here. Whilst the advice is weaker than ‘best practice’ advice on creating secure passwords, this data set indicates that simply choosing a password with 10 or more characters will avoid more 80% of remote password cracking attempts (local, offline attacks will be a different matter so take with a pinch of salt.

From finally getting my hands dirty with Pipal it’s a great tool, that does exactly what it sets out to do; give the users the numbers, so they can tell the story of the dataset.


Categories: Honeypot, Kippo

HoneyD network architecture

I was recently asked about the network configuration I use for my honeyd sensor. I had thought I’d already written about this so initially went to find the article on honeyd configuration; but my memory was wrong and the original post only covered configuring the guest systems, not the honeyd host itself. So, as I now have a pretty(ish) network diagram showing my setup I may as well correct the earlier omission.

<DISCLAIMER: This may not be the best network design for running honeyd, this is merely how my environment is configured and it works for me as a research platform. As usual, your mileage may vary, especially if your use-case differs from my own>

As can be seen, the design has three distinct network segments:

  • Publicly route-able IPs
  • Internal network for honeypot hosts
  • Virtual network for honeyd guest systems. These IP addresses sit on loopback interface on the host, with a static route on the firewall to pass all virtual traffic to the honeyd host.

Using a perimeter firewall with NAT/PAT capabilities allows easy switching between emulated systems and services if your public IP resources are limited; a large network of guests can be configured in advance and left static, then a quick firewall change is all that is required to expose different systems to the world.

Additionally, as much as honeypot systems are designed to be compromised and collect information of malicious attacks (or perhaps more correctly, because of this) , low-interaction systems like honeyd is designed to avoid full compromise. If something goes wrong and the host system gets fully compromised, a (sufficiently configured) perimeter firewall provides some control of outgoing traffic, limiting the attackers options for using the honeypot sensor to attack other systems.

Not much to it really; if you use an different setup and/or can suggest ways to improve the setup let me know, always looking to improve my systems where possible.

— Andrew Waite

Categories: honeyd, Honeypot, InfoSec, Lab

Starting with Artillery

On Friday I arrived home looking forward to a well-earned rest; unfortunately Dave Kennedy seemed to have other ideas for my weekend as he announced the alpha release of a new honeypot, Artillery.

Artillery is a combination of a honeypot, file monitoring and integrity, alerting, and brute force prevention tool. It’s extremely light weight, has multiple different methods for detecting specific attacks and eventually will also notify you of insecure nix configurations.

Installation of Artillery is currently really simple, download via svn, run the installer script, edit the config file (if necessary) and run:

$svn co artillery/


$nano config


N.B. don’t make the same daft error I made initially by editing the files in the svn download. Once the script has been run, cd to /var/artillery.

Artillery goes beyond typical honeypots, as it actively blocks remote clients and protects the system it’s running on. Artillery listens on a number of common ports (configurable, look at the PORTS variable), if it receives a connection on any of the fake ports it permanently blocks the source IP address by adding a DROP rule to iptables.

From my experience Artillery gets results REALLY quickly. After getting the system online I performed a quick test from another host under my control and starting writing up this post; in the time it’s taken to write the content above Artillery has already added 8 addresses  to iptables:

Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target     prot opt source                                destination
DROP       all  --         anywhere
DROP       all  --    anywhere
DROP       all  --        anywhere
DROP       all  --                        anywhere
DROP       all  --                      anywhere
DROP       all  --          anywhere
DROP       all  --  anywhere
DROP       all  --                         anywhere

Other functionality included in Artillery mirrors that of Tripwire, monitoring the contents of different directories (again, configurable) and generating alerts if the contents of the directories and files changes.

I really like the premise of Artillery, and Dave in his usual fashion is coding like a madman adding fixes and new functionality (new version, 0.1.1 was released 24hrs after initial announcement). I’d be wary where you set this system up to test it though due to the automatic lockout; if Artillery is on a remote system, and you connect to a dummy port from your location to test you’ve just been locked out of your own server 😉

Looking forward to seeing Artillery mature, thanks Dave.

–Andrew Waite

Categories: Artillery, Honeypot

Kippo – Clearing pass.db

2011/06/26 Comments off

Very quick post to highlight a process for clearing all entries from your pass.db file. I had thought that this would take a bit of quick scripting utilising the list and remove modes from the utility script. Turns out it’s even easier; simply pass a non-existent file to passdb.pyass.db parameter and it’ll create a fresh database file, no questions asked.

For example:

/opt/kippo/utils/ /opt/kippo/data/idontexistyet.db add testpassword

Will create a new database file with a single entry of ‘testpassword’ (this can be removed once you’ve established everything works). N.B. even with a blank pass.db, kippo will provide access to the password(s) configured in kippo.cfg.

Not sure yet if clearing the database will net any interesting results, only time will tell…..

–Andrew Waite

Categories: Honeypot, Kippo

Kippo – pass.db

After a few weeks running my daily Kippo review script I’ve noticed that whilst I’m still mostly receiving several logins per day, it’s rare for a connection to actually interact with my emulated system. (For those new here, Kippo is a medium interaction honeypot emulating an SSH daemon, get started here). So I started trying to investigate what was causing the trend.

One of Kippo’s features is the password database. Basically once an intruder gains access to the shell if they try to change the password or add a different account the system adds the password to the list of allowed. This then allows connections to log into the shell with the new password. Kippo ships with a small utility script to interact with the password database:

@kippo01:/opt/kippo-svn/utils$ ./
Usage: <pass.db> <add|remove|list> [password]

My pass.db file contains 26 entries added by malicious ‘users’; I’m still analysing the contents in detail, but it looks like the Bad Guys(tm) are paying attention to user education 101 and using long, complex passwords.

Using the password used to log into the system, I’ve had a new (to me) way to link disparate logins. For example the query below linked connections spanning two months, originating from multiple source IP address, across three different continents (according to WHOIS records).

Source IPs for same user (based on pass)

SELECT AS Session, sessions.ip AS Source, auth.password AS Password, auth.timestamp AS Time
FROM sessions, auth
WHERE = auth.session
AND auth.success = 1
AND auth.password = 'mariusbogdan';

Similarly I looked for a connection between multiple successful logins from the same source IP address. The query below provided a list of report offenders:

Successful logins from same source

SELECT COUNT(sessions.ip) AS Num, sessions.ip AS Source
FROM sessions, auth
auth.success = 1
AND auth.session =
GROUP BY sessions.ip
ORDER BY COUNT(sessions.ip) desc

My summary from this is that Kippo is receiving a lower level of ‘interesting’ connections the longer the system is operational, as attackers login to check if they’ve maintained access to an ‘0wned’ resource, without utilising the resource. I’m intending to clear my pass.db to remove existing access; hopefully this will return to more interesting connections and I’m also curious to see if any of my current tenants return from either the same source location(s) and/or re-using passwords (and proving me wrong with previous comment about user education).

–Andrew Waite

Categories: Honeypot, InfoSec, Kippo

Reviewing Kippo Logs

When I first started running Kippo almost a year ago I had no difficulty getting motivated to log into the honeypot, check for new connections and generally get a feel for what my victims visitors have been up to. As time went by, sessions started to follow familiar patterns and some days would get no hits. Slowly I’d check the logs less frequently, and when I did I’d get an ever increasing backlog to review, decreasing my motivation further.

Recently I got annoyed with myself, my system was ticking along in the background but I was gaining no benefit from it. So in a moment of madness I dusted off my bash and built a quick script to provide a daily review of activity on my system. Essentially this does two things, lists session interaction and files downloaded within the last 24hours.

I’ve had the routine running daily for around a week; for days there was minmal activity on my system, either no logins at all, or logins with immediate disconnects. Today was different, and marked the first success of the script. Delivered to my morning inbox, along with the rest of my regular quick tasks and RSS feed as an interesting session. Malicious user connects, downloads a scanner (archive contents looks like gosh), an irc bot (looks like EnergyMech derivative); and when attempts to run toolkit fail, downloads and runs three (yes, three, paranoia is strong with this one) log cleaners.

Example (snipped) output:

:~$ /opt/kippo-svn/
www-dev:~# w
 22:00:38 up 14 days,  3:53,  1 user,  load average: 0.08, 0.02, 0.01
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
root     pts/0     22:00    0.00s  0.00s  0.00s w
/opt/kippo-svn/dl/20110519220445_http___eduteam_home_ro_mech_gz: gzip compressed data, from Unix, last modified: Sun Oct  4 17:46:52 2009

The script can be downloaded here, as usual it’s released under the Beerware License

–Andrew Waite

Categories: Honeypot, Kippo