HeelToe asks: "Two nights ago, I sat down to do a few chores with finance websites and check my mail. To check my mail, I use an ssh connection and read it via mutt. I had already hit Slashdot for my semi-hourly dose of content, but then noticed my ssh client complaining about a difference between its cached copy of the server key and the server key presented, so I started investigation. After figuring out what was going on, I contacted the tech support line for my service provider (Charter Communications) to no avail, as well as the FBI and NIPC, again, both to no avail. There are all these laws and all this hype about enforcing these computer crime laws - what must an end user do to get some enforcement done? Read on for more, much more..." Update: 06/21 19:13 GMT by C :As it turns out, the issue wasn't a hack at Charter but a particularly nasty form of Spyware. Stll, the question is valid, and some of the suggestions already given, have been real informative. Keep 'em coming!
"So I determined that I was connecting to xxx.p5115.tdko.com instead of xxx. I started looking at dns settings. Of course, under Windows, the default is to accept the default dns domain specified by a DHCP server for the PC's ethernet connection. There are settings to disable this, but I hadn't thought about it until now. It turns out, Charter Communications' DHCP servers were infiltrated and were providing p5115.tdko.com as the 'Connection-specific DNS suffix', causing all non-hardened Windows (whatever that means in a Windows context) machines to get lookups from a hijacked subdomain DNS server which simply responded to every query with a set of 3 addresses (126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206).
On these IPs were some phantom services. There were proxying web servers (presumably collecting cookies and username/password combos), as well as an ssh server where the perpetrators were most likely hoping people would simply say 'yes' to the key differences and enter in their username/password.
Has anyone else seen this type of attack before? Pretty sneaky. I bet it would slip by most people that don't use anything but a web browser. This makes me want to step up my plans to put an OpenBSD firewall in place and allow it as little trust of the outside world as possible, providing more trusted DNS/DHCP services to the hosts on my network. It would be nicer to be able to boot the thing self-contained-and-configured off read-only media and have no writable access to anything from the operating system to totally prevent break-in/tampering.
With respect to the law enforcement issues. I first called Charter, and after 10 minutes on hold was told to submit a report to their abuse account. I asked the tech support rep if they really wanted me submitting the incident report through a hijacked proxying web server. I hadn't yet reconfigured my Windows systems because I wanted to collect as much information as possible while the attack was still live. The long and short from the tech support rep was they'd look at it, but couldn't do anything with respect to responding to me about it unless I submitted that report.
I moved on to calling the FBI. The after hours person had no idea what evidence collection procedures I should follow, nor if their office would even be interested in investigation. I was told to call back during business hours. I did a little searching and found the National Infrastructure Protection Center. I gave them a ring and was asked to fill out an incident report. I was told it would be reviewed in the NOC quickly and a decision made about further investigation. The rep answering the phone said to collect any and all information I could think of regarding the attack. I got a response later this morning that their NOC personnel had evaluated the report and decided not to investigate further.
I called the FBI back this morning, only to be told they generally didn't investigate these types of crimes for individuals, but usually only for companies that had lost at least a couple thousand dollars. To inflate my ego a bit, I asked if I could count my time cleaning up/investigating as a loss of this magnitude and was told no, that it would have to be a financial loss like is associated with internet credit card fraud. Given how Kevin Mitnick was convicted and sentenced on 'evidence' that included employee time for investigation and cleanup, why is this any different for me?
With respect to getting some action on any future attacks - what should I do? Who should I call? I'm not a h/\x0r, and I have reasonable investigation skills, but aren't there professionals doing this to uphold the law? What's the point of all those federal laws anyway? Monitoring of third party communications, without the consent of either party; unauthorized access to Charter's systems - the list can go on a lot further depending on the activity happening at those proxying servers. Are these laws just tools to oppress unpopular computer criminals but just plain not enforced most of the time?
I found this situation and particular method of attack interesting... hopefully this was fun to read. If you have suggestions for what I should do in the future to handle attacks, I'd love to hear about it!"