Computer security in higher education
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Computer Security in Higher Education. David Brumley [email protected] Things To Come. Need for policies and procedures Proper staffing and funding Clear, consistent, and followed plans. Stanford Infrastructure. 55,000 registered nodes 58,000 active principles

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Computer security in higher education

Computer Security inHigher Education

David [email protected]

Things to come

Things To Come

  • Need for policies and procedures

  • Proper staffing and funding

  • Clear, consistent, and followed plans

Stanford infrastructure

Stanford Infrastructure

  • 55,000 registered nodes

  • 58,000 active principles

  • 800 MB/day web data alone

  • 3.5 million/day email messages

  • 200 to 700 mb/s bandwidth

Why security

Why Security?

  • Do your users have any expectation of privacy?

  • Do you have assets that need protecting?

  • Have you considered the cost of system compromises vs. protection?

Attacks happen

Attacks Happen

Incident type comparison



Incident Type Comparison

Worried about privacy

Worried about Privacy?

  • School Records

    • Directories (FERPA)

    • Email

    • Homework

  • Hospital/Medical Records

    • HIPPA

Computer security is

Computer Security Is...

Primarily risk management by ensuring:

  • Confidentiality

  • Integrity

  • Availability

System confidentiality

System Confidentiality

[[email protected] cctest]# pwd


[[email protected] cctest]# strings customer.MYD

david brumley

351 Monroe Palo Alto

Anton Ushakov

590 Escondido Mall

Russ Alberry

101 Great America Parkway

[[email protected] cctest]# strings orders.MYD

9 piece knife set



Sickle and Hammer



3 towels



  • Many believe there is nothing valuable on their system, but:

  • System can serve to launch attacks

  • There may be unexpected information on the host

Network confidentiality

Network Confidentiality


Hacker listening regardless of MAC





Network sniffers

Network Sniffers

psych-Wylie-NT.Stanford.EDU => pobox3.Stanford.EDU [110]

USER sleeples

PASS password




----- [FIN]

psych-3354-dreamscape.Stanford.EDU => daydream.Stanford.EDU [23]








----- [Timed Out]

voodoo.Stanford.EDU => lucas.Stanford.EDU [21]

(#USER menon

PASS password3


PORT 171,65,60,163,5,104


CWD /home/pub/gary

CWD /home/pub/

CWD /home/

----- [Timed Out]

psych-3367-macG3.Stanford.EDU => elaine18.Stanford.EDU [23]


& #'$&&Y`&&VT100&

wl\cfCCSDK) >aWHW^H


`&$$ vQa;j:T8%H>VzL d>7s_

----- [Timed Out]

University of washington sniffer

University Of Washington Sniffer

Summer 2000:

  • NT IIS Web Server compromise

  • Password sniffer installed

  • Exposed 5000 medical records

Ensuring confidentiality

Ensuring Confidentiality

  • Strong Authentication

    • No clear text logins

      • Kerberos

      • SSH

  • Strong Authorization

    • AFS

    • Directory ACL’s



Populating the kdc

Populating the KDC

Compromises of integrity

Compromises of Integrity

  • ls (dir) - doesn’t show intruders files

  • ps (task manager) - doesn’t show intruders processes

  • ifconfig - doesn’t show interface in promisc mode

  • zap - cleans log files

  • fix - fixes timestamp and checksum info

  • chfn - gives root shell with proper arg

  • login - gives root shell w/ proper password

  • inetd (runs network services like “telnet”) - gives full access on a particular port

Integrity compromise example

Integrity Compromise Example

Normal System:

sunset:security> telnet elaine


Connected to

Escape character is '^]'.

UNIX(r) System V Release 4.0 (elaine21.Stanford.EDU)

elaine21.Stanford.EDU login:

Hacked System:

sunset:security> telnet jimi-hendrix 1524


Connected to jimi-hendrix.Stanford.EDU (

Escape character is '^]'.

# ls -altr /;

total 1618

-r-xr-xr-x 1 root root 1541 Oct 14 1998 .cshrc

drwx------ 2 root root 8192 Apr 14 1999 lost+found

drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 9 Apr 14 1999 bin

drwxrwxr-x 2 root sys 512 Apr 14 1999 mnt

Ensuring integrity axioms

Ensuring Integrity - Axioms

  • All programs are buggy

    • The larger the program, the more bugs it will have

  • If a program isn’t ran, it doesn’t matter if it’s buggy

    • Hosts should run as few services as possible

Building integrity

Building Integrity

  • Create easy to use resources for system security:

    • Templates

    • Distributions

    • Best use documents

  • Defense in Depth is the goal

Threats to availability

Threats to Availability

  • System intrusion

  • Denial of Service Attack

  • Domain Name Hijack/Modifications

Rsa com s availability

RSA.COM’s Availability

The master plan

The Master Plan

  • Asses situation

  • Create policies, procedures, and implementation plan

  • Create infrastructure

  • Maintain infrastructure

  • Lather, rinse, repeat.

Getting started

Getting Started

  • Assessing where you are at:

    • What policies exist?

    • What staff is already in place?

    • What services are offered?

    • What services will be offered?

Policy key points

Policy Key Points

  • What are you protecting?

  • Who has authority?

  • What are the resources for?

  • What organizational units are there?

The key

The Key

The policy must be approved at the highest levels in order to deal with irate:

  • Nobel prize laureates

  • Crafty Students

  • Other political entities

Security office plan

Security Office Plan

  • Plan base authentication, authorization, and integrity mechanisms

  • Work with infrastructure groups to utilize security resources

  • Educated the community

Creating infrastructure

Creating Infrastructure

Major points in an assessment:

  • Create scalable architectures

  • Create robust architectures

  • Create low-risk architectures

Ex integrating kerberos

Ex: Integrating Kerberos

Allocating resources

Allocating Resources

  • Staff and budget are needed, but security gets easier and cheaper as time goes on.

  • Fundamental knowledge for computer security staff is knowledge of operating systems and programming

  • Leverage off existing infrastructure to minimize long-term cost

The benefits

The Benefits

  • Guaranteed and quick response

  • Guaranteed responsibility

  • Protection

  • Be a good net-citizen

Quick response

Quick Response

From: [email protected]

Sent: Saturday, May 29, 1999 5:46 AM


As we'll know how fxxxxx Stanford housing situation is, still our

hypocrit spic-and-nigger loving administration has done nothing but

keep accepting more and more of these motherxxxxx black jelly


These dirty cheating son of xxxxx



Firstname Lastname

Engineering-Economic Systems & Operations Research


Stanford University

Stanford CA 94305

Quick response1

Quick Response

  • August 8, 1999

    • 46 Solaris machines compromised

    • trin00 installed

    • 24 hours for cleanup

  • Quite possibly avoided large scale internet attack



  • SULinux

  • Best use documents

  • Policy enforcement

Public service

Public Service

  • Feb 1999 - ShadowKnight compromises Stanford hosts

  • Feb 1999 - Aug 1999 Stanford monitors hacker

  • Nov 2000 - Jason Diekman, aka ShadowKnight, convicted



  • Assess critical infrastructure security

  • Legal point of contact for problems

  • Advise and help deploy security infrastructure

  • Help keep network available for academic use



  • Need policies and procedures

  • Need staff

  • Need Plan

    It really is that easy!



  • Slides available at

  • See handout for additional resources

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