I am sure ISS is still bitter over the Witty worm that revealed the installed ISS RealSecure and BlackIce userbase to be about 12,000 systems. The Witty worm spread via a single UDP packet with a fixed source port of 4000 UDP.
Let's consider the factors that lead me to believe that the Snort BO vulnerability will produce a worm.
- The new vulnerability can be exploited by a specially crafted UDP packet to or from any port other than port 31337. (Thanks to Jose Nazario for correcting me on this point.) This is similar to the UDP packet used by Witty. UDP is an ideal worm vector, as demonstrated by Slammer. There is no need for a TCP handshake, which means spoofing is much easier.
- Sensors need not be directly targeted. All a worm has to do is send exploit UDP traffic to a segment monitored by a vulnerable Snort sensor. The attacker need not know anything about the target's management IP address.
- Snort has been in the news recently as a result of its acquisition by Checkpoint. A worm coder can kill or embarrass two birds with one UDP stone.
- Snort is everywhere -- .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, etc. 0wning a .mil or .gov Snort sensor gives intruders the ultimate vantage point over a monitored network. I imagine sophisticated intruders have already compromised a slew of sensitive Snort sensors, but at some point a lower life form will decide to turn the exploit into a worm.
- Snort source code is available, so comparing 2.4.0-2.4.2 with 2.4.3 means the vulnerability can be quickly identified.
I can imagine a few factors that will reduce the likelihood of a worm.
- The vulnerability reportedly exists in Snort versions 2.4.0 through 2.4.2. That's a narrow set of versions, given Snort 2.4.0 was released in July. I have heard of users running Snort 1.8.x and 1.9.x; they complain about rules that don't work with their versions. Argh!
- Snort runs on a huge number of platforms. That is one of the beauties of the program. Will a worm target Snort on Linux? If so, what distro/kernel/version/etc.? How about Snort on Windows? That would make the most sense -- the OS would be fairly similar, and the user base would make for good targets. We'll see.
- Sophisticated intruders will keep any exploit to themselves. They may try to keep it out of the hands of the bottom feeders.
What do you think? Will we see a Snort worm? I'm keeping an eye on FrSIRT.
On a related note, be sure to upgrade to Ethereal 0.10.13 -- 0.10.12 has bugs too.