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From Red-Tail Books <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Strange access.log entry...
Date Fri, 08 Jul 2016 22:51:27 GMT
Wow Ken, Thanks for the thorough research. I just did a whois and 
figured it wasn't an attack.

But being a complete rookie (no experience with linux or servers prior 
to creating a droplet on DO 2 weeks ago)
I was curious to not see any request prefix (GET|POST|CONNECT...etc...) 
and then I saw that the request was successful (status 200) instead of a 
404. And what 11k of data did my server send in response...

In 13 days of logs this IP has only hit my server once and this is the 
only time I've seen such a request... So no issue with their legitimate 

Thanks for tracking this down and please keep me in the loop if you hear 
back from them again.

On 7/8/2016 2:41 PM, Spork Schivago wrote:
> Okay Red-Tail Books, I got more information for you!   This is the 
> latest response I got:
> "The malware is installed via a range of vulnerabilities including
> social engineering.  This scan is really testing for the malware's
> rendezvous protocol for command and control.  As a rule, we have been
> informing law enforcement about infected machines and they have been
> doing victim notification and thus if your correspondent is infected
> they will be contacted. However, I believe that this particular
> malware works exclusively with IIS and thus an Apache user is unlikely
> ot have much to worry about.  Unfortunately, I don't know the precise
> meaning of the string or what it elicits and Paul (cc'd) who is the
> grad student lead on this project is currently away on his honeymoon,
> but I'm sure we can respond more succinctly once he returns"
> So, it seems that you're in the clear and have nothing to worry about, 
> mainly because you're running Apache and not IIS.   I wish I could 
> answer what the actual hex string means and what Apache responded 
> with.   Perhaps when Paul gets back from his honeymoon, we'll receive 
> an answer.
> Best of luck.
> Ken.
> On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 5:32 PM, Spork Schivago 
> < <>> wrote:
>     I contacted one of the people involved with CESR and I have
>     received a response.   This is what they say:
>     "Yes, this is a scan from our group. It is not in fact looking for
>     a vulnerability, but for a very specific infection.  The scan is
>     harmless, but there is a very rare and stealthy piece of malware for
>     which this scan will elicit a response (indicating that the server is
>     compromised and is awaiting instructions).  The scan is part of a
>     survey looking at how this particular threat actor has been targeting
>     different organizations. If the scan is causing a problem for
>     someone, please have them contact me and I can ask that their site be
>     removed from the scan."
>     I am waiting to hear back from him to see if there's away to tell
>     if you're actually vulnerable to this malware or not. The good
>     news is your site isn't under attack or anything. Once I hear back
>     from him, I'll let you know what he says.
>     Thanks!
>     On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:56 PM, Spork Schivago
>     < <>> wrote:
>         I think I can shed a little light on this.   I believe it has
>         something to do with exploits / vulnerabilities.   I'm not
>         sure what the hex values are, but I'm guessing that's part of
>         the exploit.   I've tried searching for it but couldn't find
>         anything.   Maybe the query is confusing the search engines?
>         Anyway, the ip address....if you research that IP address, you
>         see that it resolves to:
>         <>
>         If you go there, you see the message:
>         Hello,
>         This is a research scanning machine from the University of
>         California at Berkeley. This machine regularly conducts scans
>         of the entire Internet so you may have been scanned as part of
>         an ongoing research project.
>         If you have been or are currently being scanned and would like
>         to opt out, please email
>         <> with the IP
>         ranges you would like to exclude in CIDR format and we will
>         respond immediately.
>         If you search google for the IP address, you see a lot of
>         people saying this IP address tried hacking into their site or
>         scanned it or something along those lines.   If I were to take
>         a guess, just a guess, I'd guess that maybe they're conducting
>         a large scan of the internet, trying to find servers that are
>         exploitable for research purposes.   You might be able to find
>         more information or someone more knowledgeable might be able
>         to provide better advice on what to do.
>         I've also googled cesr and found this:
>         Center for Evidence-based Security Research (CESR)
>         The Center for Evidence-based Security Research is an ongoing
>         collaboration with researchers at the University of
>         California, San Diego, seeking to understand modern Internet
>         threats and develop effective countermeasures using analysis
>         rooted in empirical observation.
>         I found that here:
>         To me, it seems like it's a valid research and they're not
>         actually trying to do bad stuff, they're just looking for
>         exploitable servers and making a list of the issues they
>         found.   I'd be more interested in knowing if they actually
>         got in.   If they found something, it's just a matter of time
>         before someone who really wants to do bad stuff finds the same
>         exploit and takes advantage of it.
>         I hope this helps.
>         Sincerely,
>         Ken
>         On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:32 PM, Red-Tail Books
>         < <>> wrote:
>             Saw this in my access.log this morning...
>    - - [08/Jul/2016:05:44:24 -0700]
>             "^\x05A\xea\xa1\xfa\xbe\x15" 200 11434 "-" "-"
>             Can someone more knowledgeable explain what the "request"
>             was and why it was successful? And what 11k of data did
>             apache serve?
>             Thanks
>             dave

Red-Tail Books
204 N Florence St
Casa Grande, Az

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