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Practical UNIX and Internet Security, 3rd Edition by Alan Schwartz, Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Discovering an Intruder

There are several ways you might discover a break-in:

  • Catching the perpetrator in the act. For example, you might see the superuser logged in from a cyber-café in Budapest when you are the only person who should know the superuser password.

  • Deducing that a break-in has taken place based on changes that have been made to the system. For example, you might receive an electronic mail message from an attacker taunting you about a security hole, you may discover new account entries in your /etc/passwd file, or your network connection may be running very slowly because the bandwidth is being used by people downloading copyrighted software from all over the world.

  • Receiving a message from a system administrator at another site indicating strange activity at his site that has originated from an account on your machine.

  • Strange activities on the system, such as system crashes, significant hard disk activity, unexplained reboots, minor accounting discrepancies,[323] or sluggish response when it is not expected (500 copies of the FTP daemon being used to download warez may be exhausting your system’s resources).

There are a variety of commands that you can use to discover a break-in, including lsof, top, ps, and netstat. There are also several packages that you can use, including Tripwire, that are described elsewhere in this book. Use these tools on a regular basis, but use them sporadically as well. This introduces an element of randomness that can keep perpetrators ...

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