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Feb. 24, 1999
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Opening Comments
Reader Submissions
Perl Corner
Editor's Comments

Opening Comments

I've gotten a lot of email asking me to address certain issues in
the digest...see the article on cookies below.  I approached the
solution for the article on cookies the way I did, b/c I wanted to
show the readers how easy it is to find information on their own.
If you haven't noticed, that's my goal, pretty much, for the 
Windows edition of the HHD.

I've noticed a couple of trends recently in the emails I have
received, and I'd like to address them individually:

1.  Please don't ask me how you can break into a machine.  I've
said time and again, that's not the purpose of the HHD.

2.  Many readers start by saying something like "I've been 
reading the digest for some time now..." and then they ask a 
question that was answered in a recent digest.  I still haven't
figured that one out yet.

3.  Folks like Carolyn and I, and others involved with the HHD, 
all have day jobs.  The HHD is a voluntary effort on our parts...
so please don't ask us to do your web surfing for you.

4.  If you have a question, I am more than happy to help, if I 
can.  However, many readers make it very difficult to help...they
don't provide enough information, or they write their emails using
'h4x0r skript'...which I instantly delete.



Some free tools from the NT Resource Kit  (URL wraps...)

For readers of The Perl Journal, here are the programs that
accompany the best Perl magazine yet!

Some good reading for anyone interested in security. 
**I highly recommend the InfoSec Year in Review papers, as well
as Ira Winkler's 'Assignment Espionage'...just b/c it's 'way

Excellent magazine...subscribe for free!
**Great links to articles on Perl by Randall Schwartz!

Great link from <rjohns@otenet.gr>

Want to use internal commands in your Perl scripts and batch
files on 95/98?

Do you want to see what other people are typing into 
search engines?


Cookies...what are they?  More importantly, what do they mean to
the security of my computer?  Well, I started by doing a search
on Yahoo -> Computers and Internet -> Internet, and boy, did I find
a LOT of information!!

One of the best sites that was returned was:

There is an interesting FAQ with other links at:

Okay, given that, just what the heck is a cookie?!  A cookie is an
HTTP header that is entered into the memory of your browser by the
server, so that state information can be maintained.  Things such
as last access date, etc, are stored in cookies and then read by
the server the next time that you go back to the site.  So there 
does seem to be some legitimate use for the cookies...to prevent
the user from having to remember data entered at a site 6 months
ago, or having to type a TON of information into a form time and 
time again.

But what about security issues?  Well, I checked the FAQ at 
CookieCentral (see the above URL) and the response there was:

"2.4 Are Cookies Dangerous to My Computer? 

NO. A cookie is a simple piece of text. It is not a program, 
or a plug-in. It cannot be used as a virus, and it cannot access 
your hard drive. Your browser (not a programmer) can save cookie
values to your hard disk if it needs to, but that is the limit of 
the effect on your system."

For more info, and the answers to many of your questions, check
the FAQ out at:


Here are some other URLs of interest:

Web Review article on cookies

ICSA white paper on cookies (dtd '96, but still useful)

More on cookies from ICSA

[Editor:  I found SO MUCH information with regards to cookies, 
I thought it best to present some of the best links so that 
readers can browse the information on their own.  Wow...you'd
be amazed at some of the info you can find out there!!  The 
FAQ at CookieCentral also addresses creating and retrieving
cookies, using JavaScript, VBScript, and Perl!!] 


Not too long ago, I received an email from "Balduin Butterkeks"
<meierk@weiden.de> or <butterkeks7@yahoo.com>, in which he 
attempted to review the product known as Tiramisu!  Well, largely
due to the language barrier...our friend Balduin is German...I
didn't think it wise to post the review 'as is' in the Digest, 
but I want to thank him for pointing the product out and bringing
it to my attention.  So, all credit, recognition, and kudos for 
this entry in the digest go to Balduin!

This tool is used in an area of computer security called 'digital
forensics'.  In digital forensics, you use tools and knowledge
to determine what happened in a security incident.  This basically
involves either determining how a security compromise was 
accomplished (ie, how someone 'rooted' a box) or gathering data
from systems (hard drives) as part of an investigation.  As you
probably guessed, this is something that a lot of law 
enforcement people (FBI, Secret Service, etc) do.  But just b/c
the police do it, doesn't mean that you can't learn about it!
Let's take a look at Tiramisu!...

Tiramisu! can be found at http://www.recovery.de

Tiramisu! is a data recovery tool that allows you to access 
information on your hard drive that you didn't think you could.
The product information page is pretty comprehensive, and you
can download a demo of the product, but only after you register.
I think it's definitely worth a shot, even just to try out for
a trial period.

OnTrak Software has some other products in addition to the data
recovery software, so take a look at some of them.

Tools like Tiramisu! work by reading the unused blocks on your
hard drive.  Here's how it works:  your hard drive is broken up
into many smaller sections, sometimes as small as 4k.  The 
programs and data on your hard drive are stored in these blocks.
The end of the first block contains a pointer to the next 
sequential block in your program or data:

    -------------                    -------------
    | 0x00c123   |         --------> | 0x00c134   |
    -------------         |          -------------
    |            |        |          |            |
    |            |        |          |            |
    |  <data>    |        |          |  <data>    |
    |            |        |          |            |
    |            |        |          |            |
    |            |        |          |            |
    |            |        |          |            |
    -------------         |          -------------
    | 0x00c134   |   -----           | 0x00c147   |
    -------------                    -------------

This goes on until your program or data is ends.  Now, when you
delete the data, the first block is marked as unused...which
makes all sequential blocks unused, as well.  But the data
remains...and this data can be read by tools like Tiramisu!

Now, this was a very simple, very general description of what
happens, with regards to digital forensics and deleted files.  
To find out more detail regarding how a particular operating 
system handles blocks and deleting data, you need to read up 
on the particular file system in question.

Along the lines of data recovery and computer forensics, here is 
another interesting site:


This site has a lot of great information regarding computer 

What about deleting files from your hard drive so that they 
can't be recovered by tools like Tiramisu!?  One such app I 
ran across is WipeClean, from JCL Software:

There are other such tools available...and I'm not going to 
list them all here.  If someone has one or two links, please
don't send them in.  If you have many links, to apps and info
on the subject at hand, put that all on a web page, and send 
me _that_ URL.  Thanks!


I got a call the other day from someone regarding the CIH virus 
affecting Win95 and 98 systems.  Well, I hadn't heard too much 
about it, so I decided to look into it.  I started with a quick
search for 'cih' on DejaNews, and I paid particular attention to
any posts to the alt.comp.virus newsgroup.  Well, I found some
really interesting links!  No, I'm not going to go into how viruses
are written...I won't make it that easy for you!  But I will 
provide the links I found, b/c they make some very interesting 

First, check out the DataFellows site.  Reading this site is like
a cross between a zoo and a medical research lab...have you 
ever heard someone describe a computer virus as being "in the 

The DataFellows site should be part of your library, if you are
at all interested in computer security...

Also, for anti-viral solutions, check out:
E-Safe:  http://esafe.com

Command Central:  http://www.avp.com/

F-Prot:  http://www.complex.is/

With the proliferation of viruses on the Net, you need to be
very careful.  Some viruses are annoying, but harmless.  Others
are very destructive.  From my experience, military and government
sites are not only the biggest targets, but the biggest offenders
when it comes to keeping anti-virus software up to date.  If you
must swap disks and CD-ROMs and programs with outside sources, and
you absolutely cannot afford to loose any data, I would highly 
suggest that you have at least two anti-virus packages, one of them
being F-Prot.  And keep them up to date!!

Who am I talking to?  Lawyers.  Anyone who is a military 
reservist (I have friends who have yet to return from a drill w/o
a virus!!).  Anyone who does a lot of outside work or trading
of documents, especially anything from Microsoft Office, via
diskette...or any other means.  

What about IRC?  Yes!  ICQ?  Yes!  Do you need to be paranoid
and run out and buy the latest thing?  No.  But play it smart.
Many home users don't make backups...but even some small 
businesses do.  By the time you discover a virus, you have no idea
how far back your backups are infected.

I know with all this talk about viruses, someone is going to want
me to mention NetBus again...even though it's NOT a virus.  I 
have a URL for you (NOTE: URL wraps...):

(Also check out this ISS X-Force Alert Summary:

So be careful out there.  Practice safe surfing.


I've received several emails from readers asking about packet
sniffers.  Just to make sure we are on the same sheet of music, a
'packet sniffer' is a tool that makes your ethernet adapter listen
for and copy ALL of the frames that go by on the wire, not just the
ones destined for that machine...or, more technically, put the 
NIC in 'promiscuous mode'.  

Now, I don't do surfing for lazy readers, but this topic got me
curious, so I started with a search on DejaNews (notice a pattern
here?  That's how I started when looking for info on the CIH 
virus, too).  I found an interesting app at:


but I haven't tried it out.  I'm not going to beta test this
one out.  I have experience using the full version of NetXRay
from Cinco Networks (which was bought by Network Associates),
and I found the current page for NetXRay at (URL wraps...):


The interesting thing about NetXRay is that it's supposed to 
support PPP frames as well as ethernet frames...which means you 
could run NetXRay on your machine when dialed into the Internet.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the subject, when you 
dial into the Internet via DUN, you are using PPP as your framing
protocol to send and receive IP packets.  When you are on a LAN,
you generally use ethernet (though some dinosaurs might use token
ring).  Like I said, NetXRay is supposed to support PPP, but I
haven't tried it yet.

Then I thought, hey, wait a minute.  NetXRay is a demo, and you
have to buy the full version from NAI.  What about freeware or 
shareware sniffers?  Well, there aren't many for NT...though there
are some for DOS (which may run on 95...).  Then I remembered the
BO plug-in, BUTTSniffer, from Dildog... 


The page for 'sniffer says that one of the future additions to 
the app will be to support PPP frames.  Cool!  

Now, supporting PPP frames doesn't mean you can sniff traffic over
your ISPs connection.  But you can use it to troubleshoot your Perl
or Java network apps, or see how DNS works, etc.

If anyone has a web page up that discusses and evaluates various
sniffers for 95/98 and NT, I'd appreciate a URL!!

Perl Corner

In this edition of the Perl Corner, I decided to present a very
simple web server benchmark utility.  Recently at work, one of the
engineers couldn't get a freeware benchmarking package compiled on
Linux, so he 'rolled his own' in C.  I figured that I could do the
same in Perl, and that's what became webbench.pl.

Now, I've only provided a very simple benchmarking script.  
Basically, a socket is created and connected to port 80 of the 
server, and the HTTP GET request is sent.  The request and the 
time to download the page (into an array) are timed, with no
checking of file size.  

How is this a benchmarking utility?  Well, with simple additions
and modifications to the script, you can add the 'sleep n' command,
where 'n' is the number of seconds to pause, and you can access
the same page every 'n' seconds.  By using the time command as well,
and saving the output to a file, you can then run this script all
day, and pull the data into a graphing program, such as gnuplot or
MS Excel.  This will show you the latency of request throughout the
day...or how long it takes the server to respond.  The response time
will be affected by such things as overall network traffic, server
load, etc.

Also, notice that no checking is done in the script to see if the
proper page is returned...the server could be returning '404 Not
Found'.  But does that matter?  I made the assumption that it 
doesn't...the server still has to process the request and return

-----  begin webbench.pl  -----
#! c:\perl\bin\perl.exe

# webbench.pl
# Benchmarking utility for a web server
# Uses IO::Socket instead of LWP
# Returns # of secs required to GET the requested page
# copyright 1999 Keydet89

use IO::Socket;

print "Webbench.pl, by keydet89\n";
print "copyright 1999 keydet89\n\n";
print "usage:  [perl] webbench.pl [host] [page]\n";
print "\t[perl]\toptional call to interpreter\n";
print "\t[host]\tname of web server (default = Microsoft)\n";
print "\t[page]\tpage to GET (default = /)\n\n";

# Set defaults if nothing entered at the command
# line
$server = shift || 'www.microsoft.com';
$page = shift || '/';

# Simple error checking...make sure that the 
# page begins with a /
if (!($page =~ m/^\//)) {
  $page = "/" . $page;
$port = 80;

print "[host]:\t$server\n";
print "[page]:\t$page\n\n";

# Set up the socket
$remote = IO::Socket::INET -> new (
          Proto => "tcp",
          PeerAddr => $server,
          PeerPort => $port) || 
    die "Could not open socket: $!\n";

# Start our timer
$start = time; 

# Send HTTP query...asking for default page
print $remote "GET $page HTTP/1.0 \n\n";

# Read file into array
@lines = <$remote>;

# End our timer
$end = time;

# Close the connection

# $start and $end hold the number of seconds 
# since Jan 1, 1970
$total = $end - $start;
print "End time:\t$end\n";
print "Start time:\t$start\n";
print "Total time:\t$total sec\n";
-----  end webbench.pl  -----

That's it!  The script itself is pretty well commented, but if
you have any questions, consult the Perl documentation (that you
downloaded with ActivePerl if you're on 95/98/NT) or email
me with your question.

Editor's Comments:

Okay, another one out the door!  Just to reiterate...don't ask me
about breaking into a system, don't ask me to do your web surfing
for you, and if you have a question, be clear.  I get a TON of email
and anything with 'h4x0r skript' gets deleted!




This is a list devoted to *legal* hacking! If you plan to use any
information in this Digest or at our Web site to commit crime, go away!
Foo on you! Don't email us bragging about any crimes you may have committed.
We mean it. 

For Windows questions, email keydet89@yahoo.com or editor@cmeinel.com
For Unix questions, contact unixeditor@cmeinel.com.
For Macs, email Strider <s.corinth@iname.com> 

Happy Hacker staff: Unix editor, <unixeditor@cmeinel.com>;
Windows editor, Keydet89 <editor@cmeinel.com>; postmasters Jonathan D.
Zerulik and William Lewis <>; Hacker Wargame Director,
Mark Schmitz <wizard@rt66.com>; Wargame Sysadmin, Satori <Satori@rt66.com>;
Grand Pooh-bah: Carolyn Meinel <>

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