How about a Better & Cheaper MacBook Air!

Those were the days when I used to be a Apple fan.
aah.. the harsh reality that they produce nothing more than crippled products at sky-high prices.

Moreover, Apple isn’t just about cut-throat business. It’s also about making people feel bad about themselves.
Don’t trust me?
See here yourself.

AdSense exploited by malware (Trojan.Qhost.WU)

1. Life & Code


(The title of this section is taken from Johnny’s blog of the same name, Life and Code. Although my implementation of the phrase isn’t in terms with Johnny’s, yet I could resist using it. 🙂 )

Life: Three days ago I found that there are some strange entries in my local Apache web server logs. Something like: - - [18/Dec/2007:19:39:26 +0530] "GET /iview/msnnkhac001160x600Xdig1600000185msn/direct;wi.160;hi.600/01 HTTP/1.1" 404 352 - - [18/Dec/2007:19:42:19 +0530] "GET /pagead/show_ads.js HTTP/1.1" 404 320

Code: Bitdefender informs of a malware, termed as Trojan.Qhost.WU, is redirecting all the requests made to the Google’s ad server ( by the victims browser to a rougue ad server.

2. Impact of the issue:

Reportedly, a big part of Google’s earnings comes from it’s Ad services. Thus this trojan is not only depriving Google of it’s earning’s, but also the publishers who work hard and hope to make some quick buck for their evening coffee.

3. The enigmatic “hosts” file:

You all know that every system connected directly to the internet is assigned a unique IP address. The domain name (viz. is nothing but a unique name assigned to a unique IP (although more than one domain name can be mapped to an ip address, that is not our concern right now). This mapping is stored in DNS servers. Each time the browser tries to open up a site, a nearby DNS server is queried to find the ip address.
However, before all this, the DNS server of your local system, hosts file, is queried. (Don’t mistake me, this DNS server is just a metaphor 🙂 ). The hosts file stores a domain name to ip address mapping for domains that don’t need a query to DNS server. e.g., localhost is mapped to, the loopback ip, i.e. the ip of local system.
On your windows 2000/NT onwards system, it’s located at %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts and on your *nix systems at /etc/hosts. More info on location can be found here.

Now coming back to my problem; unable to find any satisfactory answer, I posted it on Slackers. (Giorgio) Maone, better known as author of the awesome NoScript plugin for Fx, immediately responded, and asked me to check my hosts file.
I had added a number of entries of ad serving sites to point to the local ip in my hosts file and forgotten. I did this to prevent ads from being loaded. Hence, each time any of these sites were called, the hosts file redirected the requests to my local server.
So pretty obviously, I was/am not infected.
“Why do you post the junk about your issue then?”, you ask.
“Because it was a strange coincidence, and because I can, honey :P”

4. How the exploit works?

It’s fairly simple, the malware modifies your hosts file and adds an entry for to prevent DNS lookups and direct all the requests to the malicious server.

5. How do I protect myself?

1. Locate your hosts file and remove any entry for Alternately, you can even modify the entry to point to your local ip, in case you don’t wish to see those ads.
2. Let your Antivirus/AntiSpyware do it for you.

6. Conclusion

What! Dump M$ Windows for Linux. 😛
Seriously, “Linux ain’t easy to use” is a myth. Moreover, if you are into flashy looks, try compiz-beryl package. It IS Awesome… (and consumes amazingly less resources than…uh Vista.)

7. Bonus Tip

In case you wish to prevent your kids, partner, (or even parents) from visiting some sites; or do not wish to see those crappy ads from being loaded, you might consider editing your hosts file. For more information or even sample hosts files, use Yahoo! search.

Drive-by Download: Where Network Security Meets WebAppSec


This post was due since the Bank of India hack incident, and was fueled by PDP’s Drive-by Java post, which is a very simple, yet a well thought of extension (sort of) to the Drive-by Download attack. This post is aimed to provide a clearer understanding of the Drive-by Download attack (via a demo).

Citing Wikipedia, Any download that happens without knowledge of the user can be referred to as Drive-by Download (DBD). Pretty obviously, an attacker downloads (or uploads, depending on the perspective) malwares, viruses etc., especially in case of a zero-day. Now, I should also specify that by the sub-title “network security meets web application security”, I simply wish to point that viruses, malwares, worms are not really a concern of WebAppSec. Please note that these exclude the Javascript payloads.

Here is the video of Bank of India Hack, showing DBD in action.

Here is my demo of DBD in action.
All files downloaded to your system are 0 (zero) KB and are completely harmless. You’ve my word. 🙂

"COLUKABKI – AOL – MSN – YAHOO – RED CROSS"….. aaah Comm’n Gimme a break.

It’s really interesting that even enginieering students, who are supposed to have a very ANALYTIC are least bothered in verifying anything before believing it…… and that too when they have access to GOOGLE.

This blog of mine is in response to the hundreds and thousands of mails that are forwarded so that somewhere, somebody’s LIFE COULD BE SAVED BY FORWARDING THE BLOODY MAIL.
AOL, Yahoo, Red Cross, MSN etc. etc .etc. donated certain amount of money FOR EACH TIME THE MAIL IS FORWARDED (generally 1 cent).
Isn’t that interesting???? I mean what these sites could do generously (if they wished to), do it when some BIG HEARTED person forwards the mail.
And guess what??? They do it without attaching any kind of tracker in the mail… Not to mention that doing any thing even near to attaching a tracker would be a threat to an individuals privacy… 🙂

I cannot stop myself from sharing one other similar interesting mail. The mail said that an INDIAN BOY HAS CHALLENGED BILL GATES BY DEVELOPING AN O/S CALLED “O! YES”, which very Robust, Secure, blah blah blah… And HP has proposed to purchase it.
Now, the first thing… making such an O/S is no joke. This has nothing to do with the crappy nature of WINDOWS (hehehhe), it’s just means that it’s very difficult for a young child to do so.
Secondly, if someone succeeds in doing so, this news would be the hottest one around…. not one which has to be informed via email. 😛 And the most interesting part….. This mail has been doing rounds since 5 years (at least) :))

These mails are generally used for two reasons:

  1. For fun…. or to make mockery of someone.
  2. For stealing your mail id for spamming……. I know this is strange, but it’s true. If you have any such mail in your mail box, just try to count the number of email ids in it…. and then imagine what would you do with them if you were a spammer. These mails are infact sent by spammers so that they can have a reasonably beautiful number of such mail ids.

JUNTA, please don’t feel bad if you have been forwarding such mails.
Obviously, nobody knows everything… but you can be a little careful when you recieve such mails.

  1. Ignore such mails.
  2. If you really feel that the mail is genuine and need to be forwarded, GOOGLE some keywords contained in the mail,
  3. or forward it after removing all the previous email addresses.