Proactive techniques to stop & squish a botnets: technically feasible but legal too?

Proactive Botnet Countermeasures An Offensive Approach

Abstract. Botnets, consisting of thousands of interconnected, remote-controlled computers, pose a big threat against the Internet. We have witnessed the involvement of such malicious infrastructures in politically motivated attacks more than once in recent years. Classical countermeasures are mostly reactive and conducted as part of incident response actions. This is often not sufficient. We argue that proactive measures are necessary to mitigate the botnet threat and demonstrate techniques based on a formalized view of botnet infrastructures. However, while being technically feasible, such actions raise legal and ethical questions.

A botnet is an alliance of interconnected computers infected with malicious software (a bot). Bots are commanded by an operator and can typically be advised to send Spam mails, harvest information such as license keys or banking data on compromised machines, or launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against arbitrary targets. What’s more, they often interfere with regular operation rendering infected machines unstable or unusable. Thousands of such botnets exists, with each containing thousands to millions of infected systems. The result are major direct and indirect consequences for economy as well as for the political life [2].

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Patches Released for BIND Denial-of-service Vulnerability

Patches Released for BIND Denial-of-service Vulnerability

There’s a new vulnerability in the popular BIND name server software that is causing various versions of the application to crash unexpectedly after logging a certain kind of error. The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), an organization that maintains several software products critical for Internet infrastructure, has released a patch for an actively exploited denial-of-service vulnerability in the widely used BIND DNS server.
The internet Systems Consortium (ISC) have described the problem as follows:
An as-yet unidentified network event caused BIND 9 resolvers to cache an invalid record, subsequent queries for which could crash the resolvers with an assertion failure…
Affected servers crashed after logging an error in query.c with the following message: “INSIST(! dns_rdataset_isassociated(sigrdataset))
More details are available in their advisory.
As of this posting, ISC had not revealed the underlying problem, but said the patches would prevent the servers from crashing. The flaw affects BIND 9.4-ESV, 9.6-ESV, 9.7.x, and 9.8.x. The patch basically ensures that the cache doesn’t return the anomalous data and prevents the server from crashing. ISC officials had not responded to media inquiries as of this posting, and it was unclear whether the flaw was just wreaking mayhem on the servers, or if an actual exploit was causing it.
Security intelligence firm Rapid7 said the first attack was discovered at The National Weather Service, with the following 89 discoveries of the attack on US universities.”Bind 9 is the most widely used DNS server on the internet today… Gone unchecked, this attack could potentially affect nearly the entire internet,” said Matt Barrett, senior solutions architect at Rapid7. A temporary patch has already been released.