Hunting a Rat

I have a rat problem at home. It has been eating my bread and most recently, it has eaten its way through a door. I hate rats. I wish that hunting rats was as easy as hunting hackers. I was brought in on an incident at work today. Seems like one of our servers had recently been compromised. Any organisation with a sufficiently large server infrastructure needs to be ever vigilant of attacks.

So, I got my grubby hands on the KVM terminal of the server and started nosing around. Very quickly, I found that it was making two network connections, one to an IRC server and another attack on a remote web server. This is interesting because it is a classic bot-net scenario where the bot sits in the background and connects to an IRC server in order to receive commands from its masters.

Then, I had to hunt down the offending background bot programme. That took a little snooping around the proc filesystem of the server to track down the application. I loved the filenames that the hacker used for its scripts. Some of those names were really creative to say the least. The final step was to track down how the hack was initiated. This was definitely something planted ages ago before being turned-on recently.

At one point, I commented to a colleague that it felt fun playing CSI on the server. As usual, the ultimate flaw in the security lay in the system admin. While nosing around in the system, I got a feel for the competency of that particular server’s sysadmin. There were several things done, that should not be done. So, let’s just hope that they take our advice to heart and fix the flaws.

As for the rat at home. I think that I’ll need to try to track down its entry point into the house. Then, I can plug it and kiss it goodbye.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

8 thoughts on “Hunting a Rat”

  1. dude, there’s an age old invention called the ‘rat poison’ – totally different strategy from hunting down a hacker. It turns hungry rats into carcasses, no need to go through all the trouble of tracking it down πŸ˜‰

  2. You can get the rat poison that makes them sterile, so they can’t have any babies. That would mean that the problem dies out in a month or so rather than immediately… And of course, if you have new invaders coming all the time it wouldn’t help.
    By the way, if you use normal rat poison you’re likely to get dead rats in your walls and under the floor, which will become rather pungent in a couple of weeks.

  3. What about a rat cage trap? Before you sleep, toast a piece of bread and hang it inside the cage. The smell will attract the rat and when it nibbles the bread, the trap door will close. You can then let the rat loose somewhere far from home..?

  4. Haha your non-computer problem has been attracting lots of suggestions from non-computer people who’ve been waiting for an opportunity to advice you in an area outside any of your expertise.

    Anyway, I have a solution, a brilliant solution whose effectiveness is inverse to the amount of money you spend maintaining it…

    Have you considered getting A CAT???

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