The Chief Information Officer (CIO) receives an anonymous threatening message that says “beware of the 1st of the year”. The CIO suspects the message may be from a former disgruntled employee planning an attack. Which of the following should the CIO be concerned with?
A. Smurf Attack
C. Logic bomb
Correct Answer: C
Section: Threats and Vulnerabilities
A logic bomb is a piece of code intentionally inserted into a software system that will set off a malicious function when specified conditions are met. For example, a programmer may hide a piece of code that starts deleting files should they ever be terminated from the company. Software that is inherently malicious, such as viruses and worms, often contain logic bombs that execute a certain payload at a pre-defined time or when some other condition is met. This technique can be used by a virus or worm to gain momentum and spread before being noticed. Some viruses attack their host systems on specific dates, such as Friday the 13th or April Fool’s Day. Trojans that activate on certain dates are often called “time bombs”. To be considered a logic bomb, the payload should be unwanted and unknown to the user of the software. As an example, trial programs with code that disables certain functionality after a set time are not normally regarded as logic bombs.
A: A smurf attack is a type of network security breach in which a network connected to the Internet is swamped with replies to ICMP echo (PING) requests. A smurf attacker sends PING requests to an Internet broadcast address. These are special addresses that broadcast all received messages to the hosts connected to the subnet. Each broadcast address can support up to 255 hosts, so a single PING request can be multiplied 255 times. The return address of the request itself is spoofed to be the address of the attacker’s victim. All the hosts receiving the PING request reply to this victim’s address instead of the real sender’s address. A single attacker sending hundreds or thousands of these PING messages per second can fill the victim’s T-1 (or even T-3) line with ping replies, bring the entire Internet service to its knees. Smurfing falls under the general category of Denial of Service attacks — security attacks that don’t try to steal information, but instead attempt to disable a computer or network. A smurf attack is not what is described in this question.
B: In computers, a Trojan horse is a program in which malicious or harmful code is contained inside apparently harmless programming or data in such a way that it can get control and do its chosen form of damage, such as ruining the file allocation table on your hard disk. In one celebrated case, a Trojan horse was a program that was supposed to find and destroy computer viruses. A Trojan horse may be widely redistributed as part of a computer virus. A Trojan is not what is being described in this question. The term comes from Greek mythology about the Trojan War, as told in the Aeneid by Virgil and mentioned in the Odyssey by Homer. According to legend, the Greeks presented the citizens of Troy with a large wooden horse in which they had secretly hidden their warriors. During the night, the warriors emerged from the wooden horse and overran the city. A Trojan is not what is described in this question.
D: A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are man-made. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems. Some people distinguish between general viruses and worms. A worm is a special type of virus that can replicate itself and use memory, but cannot attach itself to other programs. A computer virus is not what is described in this question.