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Attack Of The Dreamcasts

Hemos posted about 12 years ago | from the swirly-logos-coming-at-you dept.

Security 451

kevin_conaway writes "A pair of coders are now suggesting that it is possible, with a modified dreamcast system running Linux to sneek into an office building and stick it on a network drop and leave. The dreamcast will then probe for ways to connect to the outside world. They say they have created similar software for iPAQs and a special bootable cdroms for print servers and similar boxes. Just a reminder that are networks need to be as secure on the inside as they should be on the outside. Get the story here."

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REPENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992962)

FP

Heathens!

how is this any different (5, Insightful)

Dopefish_1 (217994) | about 12 years ago | (#3992964)

from sneaking in and connecting a laptop to the network? I mean, wouldn't a Dreamcast plugged into the company network be a bit more suspicious than a computer?

Re:how is this any different (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992985)

You mean "sneeking", not sneaking :)

Re:how is this any different (3)

MADCOWbeserk (515545) | about 12 years ago | (#3993014)

How is this different?
Because it is completely automated and it is small and easy to hide.

IHMO.. Very very cool, nice job guys

Re:how is this any different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993017)

wouldn't a Dreamcast plugged into the company network be a bit more suspicious than a computer?

Not if the company develops games for the Dreamcast.

Re:how is this any different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993047)

Oh yeah, there are so many companies that do that now days.

Re:how is this any different (1, Informative)

bowronch (56911) | about 12 years ago | (#3993018)

From the article:
They chose the Dreamcast for its small size, availability of an Ethernet adapter, and affordability -- the console was discontinued last year, and now sells used for under $100 on eBay. Loaded with custom Linux-based software and covertly plugged into a spare network port under a desk or above a ceiling, the harmless-looking toy becomes the enemy within, probing the company firewall for a way out to Internet.

Re:how is this any different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993090)

You forgot the under God part. Communist.

Re:how is this any different (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993036)

Look around any office(s) and the office building itself and ask yourself how many places could a small computer be put that no one would notice for quite a while.

Any raised floor computer room under the floor tiles, it could be put in most drop down ceilings, there are just a huge number of places you could
place a box to do the job that would not very likely to be noticed for several months or years. Almost all of the places in question would have fairly simple access to network and power.

Because of the footprint and cost... (3, Insightful)

digitalamish (449285) | about 12 years ago | (#3993077)

Sure you could plug a laptop in, but who wants to drop $300-400 for a cheap laptop that will probably get confiscated. For the same price you could by 4-5 Dreamcasts. You could scatter them around to a few drops as backup. In addition, the footprint of the box is small, and you don't need a standard PC case. Who wants to buy a BookPC or a Cappucino (sp) only to lose it.

Other way to look at this would be for a handy ligitimate network tool. It would be nice to plug a machine into a network, have it snoop around, and then come back the next day and get a report on bottlenecks, machine usage, etc.
--
"That's Homer Simpson sir. One of your drones from sector 7G"

Re:Because of the footprint and cost... (3, Informative)

topham (32406) | about 12 years ago | (#3993178)

4-5 dreamcasts, without broadband adapters. And, currently a broadband adapter is going for anywhere from $60-130US there are cheaper things I could aquire to do this...

Hell, I have such a device sitting behind me. Ethernet (10baseT) and small enough to hide almost anywhere. (About the size of a dimm.)

Re:how is this any different (5, Informative)

greg_barton (5551) | about 12 years ago | (#3993119)

Heck, just use an EPIA [viavpsd.com] based system. Cheaper than a Dreamcast. Boot from a CF card. Fanless. Silent.

Re:how is this any different (1)

moonboy (2512) | about 12 years ago | (#3993125)


How about (at least) $1000 difference?

no, it wouldn't (4, Insightful)

BlueboyX (322884) | about 12 years ago | (#3993149)

The point is it is toy-like. People may think a laptop can hack their systems, but a dreamcast? "That is a little game thing my son plays with."

I laughed out loud when I read this. :>

Why is this specifically a problem for dreamcasts? (4, Insightful)

fo0bar (261207) | about 12 years ago | (#3992967)

They should replace "dreamcast" with "any machine with an IP stack". Physical security on a network is important in any case, whether it be small like a dreamcast or big like an e10k ;)

Re:Why is this specifically a problem for dreamcas (3, Funny)

sys$manager (25156) | about 12 years ago | (#3993139)

I'd like to see you hide an E10k in the ceiling.

Re:Why is this specifically a problem for dreamcas (2)

Real World Stuff (561780) | about 12 years ago | (#3993140)

The article states that this is a "disposable solution. Their intent is a drop and go process. This is less appealing with a thousand dollar laptop or other devices with aforementioned IP stack. More dreamcast mod info here [fh-koeln.de]

Re:Why is this specifically a problem for dreamcas (1)

Seekerofknowledge (134616) | about 12 years ago | (#3993173)

Exactly. This could be serious FUD or just in general bad publicity for Linux as you could just as easily leave a Win2k box or iMac or something else that big corporations love in there to do the exact same thing. But no, they make the assertion that it is Linux and Linux can be very dangerous. If "slips" like this keep happening people really will be afraid of Linux and then it's all over for us.

With so many hacks/mods... (1)

L-Wave (515413) | about 12 years ago | (#3992968)

Its surprising that the dreamcast got discontinued so fast...=/

FP for the chunky chicks! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992969)

This goes out to all the chixx0rs with real boobies and booties and chunky happy bodies!

NO SKINNY CHICKS!

Re:FP for the chunky chicks! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993009)

you missed the FP, but i still agree with this post.

What's got you so jumpy?
Why can't you sit still, yeah?
Like gasoline you wanna pump me
And leave me when you get your fill, yeah

Every time I touch you honey you get hot
I want to make love you never stop
Come up for air you push me to the floor
What's been going on in that head of yours

Chorus:
Unskinny bop
Just blows me away
Unskinny bop, bop
All night and day
Unskinny bop, bop, bop, bop
She just loves to play
Unskinny bop nothin' more to say

You look at me so funny
Love bite got you acting oh so strange
You got too many bees in your honey
Am I just another word in your page, yeah, yeah

Every time I touch you honey you get hot
I want to make love you never stop
Come up for air you push me to the floor
What's been going on in that head of yours

Chorus

You're sayin' my love won't do ya
But that ain't love written on your face
Well honey I can see right through ya
We'll see whose ridin' who at the end of the race

Solo

What's right
What's wrong
What's left
What the hell is going on

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992973)

First :)

just goes to show... (0, Redundant)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 12 years ago | (#3992974)

... that inside physical security is just as important as network/software level security - if not more so.

Even scarier (4, Interesting)

crumbz (41803) | about 12 years ago | (#3992975)

Is when someone hacks an iPod to do this. You could hide it in a wall and have an IEEE-1394 to 10base-T adapter with a cat-5 cable right into a patch panel in the wiring closet labeled D-103...

LAST POST EVER BY A HETEROSEXUAL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992976)

:-P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992978)

First post!

so the proctologist says... (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | about 12 years ago | (#3992983)

Trolling Stones' lyrics quiz!
See if you can get them all without using a search engine
You must provide the artist and song title for full credit.

1) the amusement park rises
cold and stark kids are
hovered on the beach in the mist

2) im glad i wore something kind of loose
like to hitch your engine to my caboose
if that thong was tighter youd pop a string
strutting down the beach you go miss thing
with a bulge up front making me go schwing
like youre smuggling a burrito

3) dr dolittle whats your secret
give it to me doctor
dont keep it
listen to the thumping heart in my chest

4) she had dumps like a truck truck truck
guys like what what what
baby move your butt butt butt

5) check it and see
i got a fever of a hundred and three
come on baby do you do more than

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle eat a juzam djinn's schlong, you jay-z listening, peanut butter smearing, goatse stretching, hog tied jackie chan look alike.

typo (1)

dotgod (567913) | about 12 years ago | (#3992986)

This seems to have slipped past the editors. Just a reminder that are networks need to be as secure on the inside as they should be on the outside.

Re:typo (1)

hendridm (302246) | about 12 years ago | (#3993045)

> Just a reminder that are networks need to be as secure on the inside as they should be on the outside.

Your so write, dude. So is he asking a question or making a statement?

Re:typo (1)

Steve Franklin (142698) | about 12 years ago | (#3993117)

And here I thought ARE (Advanced Relay Entry? Automated Read-only Extensive?) networks were some arcane kind of network that only the most advanced geeks would know about, and just kept on reading....

Re:typo (1)

BitHive (578094) | about 12 years ago | (#3993174)

Hey, I love nitpicking too! While we're at it, here's one-- "sneek" should be spelled "sneak". I do so love slashdot, its a haven for obsessive-compulsive nitpicker's like myself. Wait, that should be it's. And nitpickers. Oh shit, I started a sentence with "and".

CONNECTION LOST

Linux on Dreamcast (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3992989)

Here [sourceforge.net] is the place to get Linux for your Dreamcast.

i would like to .. (1)

minus_273 (174041) | about 12 years ago | (#3992993)

see some one "sneek" into my office building.. or did you mean "sneAk"?

Re:i would like to .. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993141)

sorry, typo, we meant "5n33k". W3 4r3 50rry ph0r 4ny c0nphusi0n w3 m4y h4v3 c4u5ed.

How is that going to work? (5, Funny)

Kith_Me (257285) | about 12 years ago | (#3992994)

Someone strolls into the office, notices a dreambox in the corner... and they say "Hmmm, that is normal, I'll just ignore that"... hehe

More likely that they would say "Cool, lets see what game is in it!"

Any computer (2, Insightful)

SpelledBackwards (587772) | about 12 years ago | (#3992995)

But couldn't any computer capable of running Linux and sending/receiving network traffic be able to do this as well? I'd be suspicious of a Dreamcast box sitting in a cube connected to the network. I'm guessing that the only real reason they're focusing on Dreamcasts and not normal PC's are that they're very cheap to obtain and reconfigure.

Re:Any computer (3, Informative)

eikonoklastes (530797) | about 12 years ago | (#3993029)

Yes, it could. The nice thing about the dreamcast is that it is small and cheap. Less than $100 gets you a decent processor and a built in Ethernet adapter. If you're going to risk losing your box when it's discovered, I'd rather it was just a cheap dreamcast than a pricey laptop.

Re:Any computer (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about 12 years ago | (#3993158)

Once you factor in the cost of the scarce DC ethernet adaptor it's not so cheap.

What kind of penetration are we talking here? (0, Funny)

erik1474 (566010) | about 12 years ago | (#3993000)

<quote>
Higbee and Davis perform penetration tests, and developed their game box cum attack tool
</quote>

Did I read that right?

Yes, but it doesn't mean what you think it does... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | about 12 years ago | (#3993061)

While it's a slang term for something sexual, it's also latin for "with". It's being misused in this context.

Re:Yes, but it doesn't mean what you think it does (1)

ergo98 (9391) | about 12 years ago | (#3993118)

Is it being misused? While the dictionary definition is "together with" (which would make the posting correct as it is a game machine together with an attack tool piece of software), the popular usage is sortof a "transformed into".

i.e.

Simple nerd cum spider shooting superhero

Lowly PC cum corporate server

blah blah.

Re:What kind of penetration are we talking here? (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 12 years ago | (#3993068)

i read that aswell....
hhmmmmmm,
a joke maybe??
hell, 'penetration tests'?

ahem (1, Informative)

_anomaly_ (127254) | about 12 years ago | (#3993004)


"our" not "are"

:-)

That was from Pirate School!!! (4, Funny)

cnelzie (451984) | about 12 years ago | (#3993080)


Been to Pirate Training School?

Replacing 'our' with 'are' is a very common pirate thing to do. Of course, even that was slightly misspelled since 'arr' is the most correct usage, matey...

-.-

Umm....duh!!!! (3, Insightful)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | about 12 years ago | (#3993006)

"but said that ultimately, there may be little an organization can do to prevent an attacker with physical access from setting up a covert channel home. " But if you can get physical access, why not just use one of the computers so thoughtfully preinstalled by the network administrator? Heck, they were probably even left logged in overnight by the lusers. This doesn't seem all that revolutionary..."If I can get into your building, I can do bad stuff". No? Really? Wow...noone's had that idea since...ummm...the invention of the house.

Re:Umm....duh!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993156)

just out of curiousity, when do you think the house was invented?

Re:Umm....duh!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993181)

Early 15th century.

Of course if people would stick to Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993007)

this would not be a problem, but you won't get this bit of analysis from /., which is so biased towards Linux that it's not even funny. This is being characterized as a "cool hack" because it involves Linux. How much do you want to bet that if it involved putting Windows on a Dreamcast and sneaking it into corporate networks, the /. crew would be in full MS-Bashing Mode? "Gee, look at how dangerous Windows is!"

This is sick, but it's pretty much what I've come to expect. You reap what you sow.

I imagine that it would be the same thing if.... (2)

cnelzie (451984) | about 12 years ago | (#3993111)

...this was done with Windows. Although, I have to say that it would be harder, if not impossible, to perform with Windows. The reason is that you simply do not have the source-code to muck about with.

With the source code you can a variety of things, like getting the OS to run on platforms not originally intended to run that type of OS. Is it even marginally possible to get Windows to boot on anything other than a x86 or Itanium based system these days? (Note: I am only talking about modern releases of Windows, not NT4.0 and its Alpha support. This is not counting XP Embedded or WinCE/PocketPC releases, which again are limited to one maybe two processor types.)

-.-

Better late than never? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993015)

It's amazing to see all these stories show up on slashdot after reading about them on The Register. Is this now common practice for slashdot?

Slashdot.
News for Nerds that was previously read elsewhere.

Re:Better late than never? (1)

hendridm (302246) | about 12 years ago | (#3993120)

Slashdot collects headlines from other news sites, attempts to filter out the uninteresting, and posts the goodies here for all to see.

There you go, Mr. DuMass.

That wouldn't last one (1)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | about 12 years ago | (#3993019)

If I walked into an office and I saw someone left their dreamcast there, YOINK! Free Video game system for me.

Keep it hidden! (3, Funny)

phraktyl (92649) | about 12 years ago | (#3993022)

I'm pretty sure that someone would notice a dreamcast system sitting on their server rack. However, if you hide it [slashdot.org] behind a wall, it could sit there for years!

Wyatt

Re:Keep it hidden! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993145)

Exactly. I've thought more than once about sticking a pc104-based system attached to a spare network connection under the liftable floor in the server room. Something the size of a paperback book, running off a 128MB compact flash card as the hard drive using the cf/ide adapter from tapr.org. It really would have gone unnoticed for years. Occasionally run ettercap with the banshee module activated, just to keep things interesting :)

What relevance does the Dreamcast have? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | about 12 years ago | (#3993025)

What is the specific relevance of the "Dreamcast" application? I think we all get that consoles are "computers", and with an operating system like Linux there is little to differentiate them from a PC, so why would someone be more likely to drop a rather out-of-place looking dreamcast in a corporation for inside attacks? It just seems really silly to proclaim that there's some additional risk because "theoretically" a dreamcast can be used.

Having said that, many large corporations now enable/disable network drops in a very controlled fashion, and many do MAC filtering on each switch port, the former limits "free" ports sitting for the waiting, and latter ensures that if someone put a hub on one of the active ports that they couldn't communicate on it without a small amount of work (i.e. listening for MAC addresses and then dealing with the conflicts if it tried to duplicate the other devices MAC address). I'm sure there are a lot of companies still getting by with 10Mbps hubs, but I'd like to think that they're the exception rather than the rule now a days? Of course, many companies still have an absurd notion that security is had by simply putting up a firewall, and then all is great, ignoring the massive risk that comes from trojans that get inside the gates. I actually got in an argument with an associate in the business recently when I stipulated that their system needs to presume that there is no firewall, and the system is completely accessible to the outside world. His reply was "Well, we don't worry much about hackers anyways, because there's no way to stop the good ones so why bother?". I was flabbergasted.

Re:What relevance does the Dreamcast have? (2)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 12 years ago | (#3993064)

Why dreamcast? So they can get free press on /. of course.

internal security (1)

dollargonzo (519030) | about 12 years ago | (#3993027)

what do they mean "security inside?" the whole point of a network / firewall setup is that people can't get to you from the outside INTO your inside.

a posting on my local lug group mailing list suggested that firewalls are bad because it relaxed internal network security. that is like saying that you should remove the side rails on the highway, because that way people will be more aware of the dangers.

security on internal machines is always going to be inferior to that of the company firewall. what you should do is try to prevent people from sneaking in in the first place.if they are already in, there really is no limit to what they can do, because they have essentially hacked the network. (albeit physically)

QED

cum attack? (1)

Salden (571264) | about 12 years ago | (#3993028)

Higbee and Davis perform penetration tests, and developed their game box cum attack tool after finding themselves more than once with physical access to a client's facilities They can't print that!

802.11 anyone? (2)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 12 years ago | (#3993031)

A recent story about 802.11 described the weakness as "Someone walks into your office with a laptop and asks for a network drop." The point of the anology was that the scenario is absurd, but leaving unsecured WAP access points is equally absurd.

Silly me, I hadn't realized the uber-absurd case -- someone walks into your office with a game console and asks for a network drop.

Enigmatically enough, I first read this tagline as "Attack of the Democrats"

Re:802.11 anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993079)

That is because the Democratic party has declared war on traditional values and allied themelves with Old Scratch and the forces of socialism. It is only natural that your mind would have conjured "Democrats" from "Dreamcasts."

Wondering again (2, Insightful)

Flaming Foobar (597181) | about 12 years ago | (#3993033)

Almost all companies I have visited have had the opposite 'problem'. To get an Internet connection up n' running, you need to phone a sysadmin to patch the ethernet socket to the switch (most often, the spares aren't connected at all) and then give them a MAC address so the dhcp will give the box a legitimate IP address in the correct space. (Also, Dreamcast?? Suspicious, no?!)

- FF

Sure no one will notice... (2)

Chagatai (524580) | about 12 years ago | (#3993035)

And then the network guys will start wondering why Ulala from Space Channel 5 has appeared dancing across the network.

a reason to use plan 9 (4, Insightful)

rpeppe (198035) | about 12 years ago | (#3993040)

where i work, we use plan 9 [bell-labs.com] as a development environment - no NAT necessary. to get through to the outside world, you import the network interface from a gateway machine and use that. however, if an intruder wishes to do that, they must first break the strong authentication used by the import protocol...

so much of today's lax security is due to legacy design, not inherent difficulty. this is worth remembering.

wireless (2)

akb (39826) | about 12 years ago | (#3993041)

A machine with wireless networking capabilities would be even more interesting, particularly for networks not attached to the 'net. 802.11 would probably not be best due to its limited range and higher security consciousness around it. Better would be say a pair of old ricochet modems that have range of up to a mile.

Isn't it standard practice...? (3, Insightful)

Kraegar (565221) | about 12 years ago | (#3993044)

To only have connectivity on actively used network drops, and keep all switches in secure closets? To plug in an unknown machine in our office you would have to unplug a known one, and someone's gonna at least notice their computer stopped working. Wouldn't take long after that to discover the switch had taken place. That could easily be circumvented with a machine acting like a silent proxy, but still makes it a tad more difficult. Don't other companies practice similar procedures?

Re:Isn't it standard practice...? (1)

hendridm (302246) | about 12 years ago | (#3993099)

How about a cheap hub and an obviously active drop, provided you could still find a place to hide it. Who says it needs to be the only computer on the port?

Re:Isn't it standard practice...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993126)

You would be amazed how many people have master keys for those closets. Janitors do, and there is very very little background checking at all done there. And for the most part most closets aren't secured that well.

And so long as the person doing the job brings a small switch or hub with them, no one is likely to notice their machine is not connected just the same way it was yesterday. So then it is just a matter of finding someplace to hide something close to the outlet, and it most offices there are a number of places even within a person's office that could go unnoticed for quite a while.

I wouldn't complain... (3, Funny)

Derek (1525) | about 12 years ago | (#3993049)

...if someone came into my house and dropped off a dreamcast! :-)

-Derek

Still A PS2? (2)

BMIComp (87596) | about 12 years ago | (#3993056)

Although the article doesn't mention this, I'm guessing that since they have a custom linux installation, that the modded dreamcast won't be able to run its normal dreamcast functions. What would make this seem even more inncuous would be to allow it play games too.

Re:Still A PS2? (-1)

getter_85 (464748) | about 12 years ago | (#3993147)

Interesting...

Well, the same can be done with a laptop and Dope Wars 2.2 (running with wine, of course ;)

DreamCast == Cheap (1)

code addict (312283) | about 12 years ago | (#3993058)

Other people keep asking why a DreamCast, why not a laptop... I'm assuming they're using DreamCasts because they are cheap, and they don't mind throwing them away to accomplish their task.

Ok. Reality check folks. (5, Insightful)

carlcmc (322350) | about 12 years ago | (#3993065)

IF ... someone can get in undetected and hook up a dreamcast in a few minutes, your security has already been breached. If your company has something it doesn't want people to access without authorization on the computer, they should have at least the same security focus for the building.

With that in mind, when was the last time you walked into your company in non-work clothes, you knew where you were going, and walked confidently there and no one stopped and questioned you? I wear a name tag and go there every day, but in my shorts and tshirt with no name tag, I'm never stopped. I think thats the way it is in many places.

Been there, done that (-1)

getter_85 (464748) | about 12 years ago | (#3993072)

All you need to do this is an SBC, slim cdrom, and a (modified) red hat 7 install cdrom to do this. It's actually a good "security evaluation" tool of mine.

This reminds me of my university (2)

galaga79 (307346) | about 12 years ago | (#3993081)

This reminds me of my university where people connect their laptops to the network when they aren't supposed to do so. It isn't to tricky either, you just need to find a desktop someone isn't using, find out it's IP, unplug it, set your machine to it's IP address and connect it up. Now I imagine this would present quite similiar security problems to a rogue Dreamcast or iPaq connected to the network.

Perhaps the only way to overcome this problems is give IP addresses to trusted MAC addresses only. In the context of a university this could mean the student could apply for an IP address, but could you trust the student? That's the real question

Re:This reminds me of my university (1)

minus_273 (174041) | about 12 years ago | (#3993097)

that is what we do at our IT office here in my university, we allow cetain mac addresses only on certain ports

Re:This reminds me of my university (1, Troll)

glwtta (532858) | about 12 years ago | (#3993113)

but could you trust the student? That's the real question

um, in short: no.

Sniffing (1)

lsoth (446686) | about 12 years ago | (#3993083)

I don't know who makes the NIC cards in the Dreamcast, but if it was a non-standard NIC (like 3Com or Linksys etc...)wouldn't anyone doing any sniffing at all notice a wierd MAC address (meaning the first few bytes which indicate the manufacturer) on their network?

Re:Sniffing (2)

topham (32406) | about 12 years ago | (#3993155)

Unless you have an unusual network where 99% of it is from the same manufacturer your unlikely to notice unless you start looking. I don't have the broadband adapter for the dreamcast, but I understand it uses a Realtek chipset. So, I expect it uses a similar MAC address range as the more generic cards out there. Not sure what the manufacturers id would be.

With a network of a few hundred machines and random equipment I doubt it would be noticed. Add to the fact that you won't have a mac address for antyhing except what is on your own segment...

You aren't likely to notice it unless you are already checking for non-approved equipment.

What about WAPs? (2, Interesting)

Kakarat (595386) | about 12 years ago | (#3993086)

The same thing could be done with wireless access points. In fact, it would be easier since with little or no experience, someone could walk in, find an open drop, plug in the WAP, and leave. Granted that the range is not worldwide, but you can get the same results. In some situations you don't even have to enter the building to set one up. Just leave that up to some ignorant employee.

Re:What about WAPs? (1)

hyperstation (185147) | about 12 years ago | (#3993109)

...and continuing on this note, what about installations with unsecured WAP's (many)? it's possible that someone could just hide a small system with a wireless iface in some inconspicuous place. all it needs is the juice.

Yeah, right. (5, Informative)

autechre (121980) | about 12 years ago | (#3993093)


"availability of an Ethernet adaptor"?

You almost have to kill someone to get a network adaptor for the Dreamcast. I'm not even sure they're being manufactured anymore (I wouldn't think so), but there are a few on eBay; the cheapest one is $60.

Besides, as other posters have mentioned, a Dreamcast doesn't exactly look inconspicuous to me, especially if some person I don't recognise is carrying one around in my building.

Re:Yeah, right. (3, Informative)

JBMcB (73720) | about 12 years ago | (#3993175)

The Sega Broadband (Ethernet) adapter is, like most of the rest of the Dreamcast, an off the shelf ethernet chip on a PCI-to-Dreamcast bus adapter. In fact, a genius/loony in Japan made a whole Dreamcast->ISA adapter, as witnessed here.

http://www.ma.nma.ne.jp/~ikehara/dc/dcne.html

Nothing New (2)

chill (34294) | about 12 years ago | (#3993094)

I remember building what looked like a serial port gender changer with a wire hanging out of it, but was really an AM transmitter. Plug it into a serial port, and it acted as a radio modem sending out everything that went over the serial port.

This was back in the days of 1200/2400 baud modems. Plans for the device were in 2600 magazine. It had a range of about 500 meters, and broadcast on about 560 KHz. You needed a companion device on the other end. You could record the audio signals then decode them on your PC later. ...

On a side note. Even better would be a handheld with TWO expansion ports -- one ethernet to sniff and one 802.11b to sneak it out. Just park across the street with a laptop and another 802.11b card. Instant backdoor to the network.

useful (1, Troll)

(trb001) (224998) | about 12 years ago | (#3993101)

This is, by far, the most useful use for a Dreamcast I've heard of.

--trb

Wireless (4, Insightful)

AlgUSF (238240) | about 12 years ago | (#3993105)

Why not just stick a wireless access point on the network. Put it on the floor near a window or something, and you should be in business... This would even work on the most secure networks.

Real Risk (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 12 years ago | (#3993106)

for those of you w/real reasons to be concerned- would be that if these guys have thought of this - who else already has something much better in a nice small, concealable package.

And then think about how many businesses don't even come close to providing physical security to all the ports that connect to their network. Sure the computer room is locked- but how many cleaning people are in the offices at night? Usually if you worry about them at all- it would be that they steal, not leave something behind.

I had to do some work once at a call center for a client of ours. A large credit card company.

I pulled up to their building but it was this big glass box and I wasn't sure where the entrance was. I just walked around until I found a door. It was open and their were people standing around smoking. So I walked in. I was in the back by the break room.

I wandered around in there for 10 minutes or so until I found the front desk. When I walked into the lobby from inside the building and asked for the guy I was supposed to meet she was pretty freaked out. They brought up security people and asked how I got in, etc.

I hope my credit card company isn't that easy to get into. But I'd be surprised if its much more secure. I wouldn't be surprised it it is less secure.

Something to think about.

.

This happened to me... (4, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#3993110)

... so I just popped in NFL2K2 and showed the hacker who was boss!!

So the commercials were right... (5, Funny)

Cutriss (262920) | about 12 years ago | (#3993115)

All those girl ninjas running around stealthily tucking Dreamcasts under their arms - They weren't trying to steal them. They were trying to deploy them!

Now I understand the tagline... It's thinking...

Dreamcast = Bad idea, Pal - good idea (0)

xchino (591175) | about 12 years ago | (#3993122)

I agree that a dreamcast is a stupid idea. It's bulky and relatively expensive, plus it needs to be modded. I did something similar to this to prove to a company I do work for that their network is easy to hack from the inside. I used my Palm m505 with ethernet adapter, running linux with a packet sniffer hat constantly logged traffic over 1 specific cat 5 cable. The great thing aout it was I was able to hide it within a vent. So no one stole my palm to give to their kids.

Dreamcasts are VERY LOUD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993132)

It sounds like a small jet engine running and can overheat easily with the dinky little fan. How you hide that?!

More ways - AUI transceivers (3, Informative)

ultima (3696) | about 12 years ago | (#3993135)

A Sun IPX (or any lunchbox style) system with an AUI port and a modified transceiver is much better. I use one of these as a secure syslog; in particular because you can modify the transceiver so that while it is capable of receiving data, it is incapable of sending at a hardware level. There is no way, short of physical access, to detect the machine. It's great for packet sniffing and logging -- syslog using UDP is connectionless, and works well with read-only network connections. This is also better than modifying the ethernet cable, because these modified cables do not actually work properly (the transceiver with tx pins removed will keep a valid *empty* tx signal, whereas a modified cable usually just pumps the rx'd signal back to tx, confusing the equipment into maintaining a link).

And if you can sneak in once, why not twice? Or better, equip the computer with a cell modem or amateur radio equipment (How many "wartalkers" look for that, eh?) , and dial in. No need for probes which may set off IDS systems, or outgoing packets (like ARP or DNS requests) that alert crackers to a computer's presence.

I think you cut pins 3 and 10 (on the connector to the computer on the transceiver) but that's not certain.

simple solution - distributed firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993137)

http://www.research.att.com/~smb/papers/distfw.htm l

Did it. (5, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | about 12 years ago | (#3993142)

Back when I was in high school (1994 or '95), we put together a small 386 -- no case, no nothin' -- with a NIC and stashed it above the library computer lab. This was pretty much just to see if we could, which as I think about it seems like the reasoning behind most of what I did in high school. Well, at least the things I did in high school that didn't involve girls.

We used it to run a dump of all the packets on the network and get pretty much all the passwords used by anyone. We printed out a copy and sent it to the bozo they had in charge of IT, and he called in a mess of expensive consultants to reload everything on the network.

Of course, they didn't fix the basic problem or find our little friend. For all I know it's still running up above the 'ol drop ceiling -- we were to chicken to try and retrieve it. Of course, this was a private school, so the real joke was on us (the clue -- consultants were being paid for by our own stupid selves).

Does anyone see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993143)

the irony that it is called a Dreamcast in this context?

ethernet adaptor for Dreamcast -- where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3993148)

I tried a while back to buy an ethernet adaptor. I was not successful. If anyone knows where to get an ethernet adaptor for Dreamcast, please post the info.

That's nothing compared to... (3, Funny)

Kirby-meister (574952) | about 12 years ago | (#3993153)

...hacking a company with the Playstation 2 - it can scan 75 million ports a second, 20 million with effects.

Cache of the Article (1, Funny)

RicochetRita (581914) | about 12 years ago | (#3993154)

When Dreamcasts Attack White hat hackers use game consoles, handheld PCs to crack networks from the inside out. By Kevin Poulsen, Jul 31 2002 5:26PM LAS VEGAS--Cyberpunks will be toting cheap game consoles on their utility belts this fall if they follow the lead of a pair of white hat hackers who demonstrated Wednesday how to turn the defunct Sega Dreamcast into a disposable attack box designed to be dropped like a bug on corporate networks during covert black bag jobs. The "phone home" technique presented by Aaron Higbee of Foundstone and Chris Davis from RedSiren Technologies at the Black Hat Briefings here takes advantage of the fact that firewalls effective in blocking entry into a private network, are generally permissive in allowing connections the other way around. Higbee and Davis perform penetration tests, and developed their game box cum attack tool after finding themselves more than once with physical access to a client's facilities -- posing as an employee in once case, crawling through a drop ceiling in another -- but without a way to leverage that access into remote control of the company's network. "It's not that hard to get into an organization for one or two minutes," said Higbee. They chose the Dreamcast for its small size, availability of an Ethernet adapter, and affordability -- the console was discontinued last year, and now sells used for under $100 on eBay. Loaded with custom Linux-based software and covertly plugged into a spare network port under a desk or above a ceiling, the harmless-looking toy becomes the enemy within, probing the company firewall for a way out to Internet. The box cycles through the ports used for common services like SSH, Web surfing, and e-mail, which tend to be permitted by firewall configurations. Failing that, it tries getting "ping" packets out to the Internet, and finally looks for proxy servers bridging the network to the outside world. Whatever it finds, it uses to establish a tunnel through the firewall to the intruder's home machine. "Most organizations focus on the perimeter," said Davis. "Once you get through the outside, there's a soft chewy center." The pair suggested some techniques for mitigating the risk of dropped-in hardware -- restricting the LAN to pre-assigned MAC addresses, for one -- but said that ultimately, there may be little an organization can do to prevent an attacker with physical access from setting up a covert channel home. The pair plan to release their Dreamcast software on their website next month, along with similar code they developed for the handheld Compaq iPAQ, and a bootable CD ROM designed to be slipped into print servers and other kiosk PCs. While useful, they note that the other platforms lack at least one of the Dreamcast's virtues. "It's innocuous. It looks like a toy," said Davis. "If you bring it into a company, they're going to go, 'Wow, look at the toy!'" What? You mean it isn't Slashdotted yet? How'm I supposta Karma-whore, now?!

Inside security is a waste of time... (1)

jsonmez (544764) | about 12 years ago | (#3993166)

Inside security is a waste of time past the doors. If I can come in and drop a dreamcast into your company, then I can just as easily, dismantle your system and take out the hard drive. Or start smashing every PC in the server room. If someone is in your doors they can do anything they want.

Cheap? (3, Informative)

zsazsa (141679) | about 12 years ago | (#3993182)

From the article: Cyberpunks will be toting cheap game consoles on their utility belts this fall

Yeah, the Dreamcast is dirt cheap. The "broadband adapter" needed to hook it up to an ethernet network? Quite pricey [ebay.com] .

I'm sure a few people mentioned it, but... (5, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | about 12 years ago | (#3993183)

yeah, if you have random people entering your building unsupervised and plugging things into the network, you just might have a security problem, Dreamcast or no Dreamcast.

I would think much in the same way, a Dreamcast running linux can be used to seriously injure a person, but sneaking up on them and hitting them over the head with it, repeatedly. Of course that's not newsworthy, unless it's a Dreamcast running linux.

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