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Ethics of producing Non-malicious Malware

buchner.johannes (1139593) writes | more than 4 years ago

2

buchner.johannes (1139593) writes "I was fed up with the general consent that Linux is oh-so-secure and has no malware. After a week of work, I finished a package of malware for Unix/Linux. Its whole purpose is to help whitehat hackers point out that the system can be turned into a botnet client, by simply downloading BOINC and attaching it to my user account, helping scientific projects. It does not exploit any security holes, but loose security configurations and mindless execution of unverified downloads: I tested it to be injected by a PHP script (even circumventing safemode), so that the web server runs it, hell I even got a proxy server that injects it into shell scripts and Makefiles in tarballs on the fly, and adds onto windows executable for execution in wine (Z: is /). If executed by the user, it can persist itself in cron, bashrc and other files. The aim of the exercise was to provide a payload so security people can 'pwn' systems to show security holes, without doing harm (such as deleting files or disrupting normal operation).
But now I have a problem: I am unsure of whether it is ethically ok to release this toolkit, which, by ripping out the BOINC payload and putting in something really evil, can be turned into proper Linux malware. On the one hand, the way it persists itself in autostart is really nasty, and that is not really a security hole that can be fixed. On the other hand, such a script can be written by anyone else too, and it would be useful to show people why you need SELinux on a server, and why verifying the source of downloads (checksums through trusted channels) is necessary.
Technically, it is a nice piece, but should I release it? I don't want to turn the Linux desktop into Windows, hence I'm slightly leaning towards not releasing it. What does your ethics say about releasing such grayware?"

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I don't believe you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30277572)

Sorry, but I don't believe any system would be vulnerable to your "malware".

Please release it (with a link on /.) so that we may mock you.

Re:I don't believe you (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#30277686)

Not to worry, most of the attack vectors are described (theoretically) elsewhere on the net. I already said it is not self-spreading. The question about the ethics remains.

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