• Subject: Re: Fw: Rewarding challenge AS/400...
  • From: John Earl <johnearl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 22:03:00 -0700
  • Organization: The PowerTech Group

Pat Barber wrote:

> As I recall, one of the magazines a couple years back, actually had
> some folks try to hack a 400... It was broken down into a group
> of pc gurus, plus a group of 400 bubba's... Neither group made ANY
> headway.... The system was secured using normal methods... They had
> a local attached lan with a firewall... Most didn't even get through the
> firewall.. It's not impossible but I suspect, they would need a great
> deal of "insider" help to really get to the system.... You don't get
> that
> goverment security rating(I forget the level) by having a "hackable"
> OS.... Most of the hacking that we read about is "urban myth" with a
> little hand by the media... Now the "web" is somthing different
> altogether....

It was News/400 June 1998 .  The goal was to hack into an AS/400 on the web and
"steal" Lou Gerstner's credit card.

Even though one of the "rules" was that we couldn't crash the system with a
Denial of Service (DoS) attack, I believe that Mel Beckman was able to crash the
server.   Our team included a bunch of Russians from Ohio who were real smart
(and real scary) IP hacks.  Though they were accomplished at NT and TCP/IP, 
standard tricks (which mostly revolved around overloading buffers) were
ineffective agaisnt the  AS/400.  The IBM Security team had secured the box real
well.   I still would like to see IBM publish the security strategy that they
used so that everyone else could adopt the best parts of it.

One interesting note.  The IBM team had shut down the Mail, FTP, Telnet, etc.
servers.   We were supposed to start our hack at 2:00pm PST, and I got a call
midmorning from the Russians telling me that the FTP server had just been 
It turns out that the server had been open for less than a minute when I got the
call.   It seems the Russians had put a port scanner on the IP address in
question.  Within seconds of when an IBM'er opened the FTP port to transfer a
file from the internal LAN the Russians knew.

Ain't the internet fun?


John Earl                                           johnearl@powertechgroup.com
The PowerTech Group                        206-575-0711
PowerLock Network Security              www.400security.com
The 400 School                                www.400school.com

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