Do we have a Boinc virus?


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Message boards : Number crunching : Do we have a Boinc virus?

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1mp0£173
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Message 242573 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:36:10 UTC - in response to Message 242464.


I have a bad feeling about Carsten Giese, though. Can't be sure because of the lack of information.

We can't be sure because we don't know if Carsten is guilty of writing a trojan, or guilty of not being careful with his account keys.

It wouldn't be that much harder to write a trojan to collect account keys.

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Message 242578 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:41:40 UTC - in response to Message 242573.


I have a bad feeling about Carsten Giese, though. Can't be sure because of the lack of information.

We can't be sure because we don't know if Carsten is guilty of writing a trojan, or guilty of not being careful with his account keys.

It wouldn't be that much harder to write a trojan to collect account keys.


The part that is questionable to me would be; why would someone go to the trouble of writing a trojan that has a Seti payload and give credit to someone other than his/herself?

Of course Casrston knows what went on...and he may not have even wrote it, but he dang sure was in on it...





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Message 242582 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:46:02 UTC

think about following thought:

if i would like to increase my credits, am i willing to write a trojan or worm? No. But if i can, i also know that with a simple check everyone can find the account which is getting the results.....so it would be too easy to find me.

I do not think he is responsible for this worm as he would also know that someone will discover that the credits are going to a specific account.

It would be too apparent and every worm writer would like to keep his real identity confidental.
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Message 242589 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:50:13 UTC - in response to Message 242582.

think about following thought:

if i would like to increase my credits, am i willing to write a trojan or worm? No. But if i can, i also know that with a simple check everyone can find the account which is getting the results.....so it would be too easy to find me.

I do not think he is responsible for this worm as he would also know that someone will discover that the credits are going to a specific account.

It would be too apparent and every worm writer would like to keep his real identity confidental.


I tend to agree, a virus writer could of just done it to cause mayhem within SETI if that was the intention then it worked just look at this post.

Everyone has jumped to the conclusion it was written to increase credits when it could so easily of been something to start up a heated debate
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Message 242602 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:57:18 UTC - in response to Message 242578.

The part that is questionable to me would be; why would someone go to the trouble of writing a trojan that has a Seti payload and give credit to someone other than his/herself?


To make that person or team look like a cheater? Or perhaps a misguided attempt to do a favour? Or just to raise doubt and stir up controversy about the credit system in general, maybe picking high-ranking crunchers at random?

I don't claim any insight into the motivations of people who would do this kind of thing, but your question rests on the assumption that they would want or value cobblestones more than any other form of gratification the exploit may give them.


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Message 242604 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:57:23 UTC
Last modified: 4 Feb 2006, 22:58:55 UTC

Maybe he developed some sort of software, like to calculate your cat's correct weight and stuck something in the end user license agreement that you agree to run SETI for him.


Did anyone figure out for sure how he was doing it?

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Message 242606 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 22:59:31 UTC - in response to Message 242589.

think about following thought:

if i would like to increase my credits, am i willing to write a trojan or worm? No. But if i can, i also know that with a simple check everyone can find the account which is getting the results.....so it would be too easy to find me.

I do not think he is responsible for this worm as he would also know that someone will discover that the credits are going to a specific account.

It would be too apparent and every worm writer would like to keep his real identity confidental.


I tend to agree, a virus writer could of just done it to cause mayhem within SETI if that was the intention then it worked just look at this post.

Everyone has jumped to the conclusion it was written to increase credits when it could so easily of been something to start up a heated debate

Or maybe he's just interested in the Science, and doesn't care about credits.
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Message 242627 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 23:25:08 UTC

i am pretty sure that someone would like to discredit high RAC users.....that could be the intention to write such a worm. Every experienced user of BOINC would know that the increase in total credits and RAC would be too obvious.

Today it is CG, tomorrow it could be another distinguished user....so please be fair in forming an opinion about this case.....i believe, 99,999999 percent of the users of BOINC are trustworthy. The most apparent adjudgment could not be the correct one, i think.




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Message 242629 - Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 23:27:01 UTC

It could even be a simple case of someone willing to "reward" others for setting up systems to crunch for their account or team. And the "rewards" were enough to entice a virus writer.

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Message 242640 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 0:03:33 UTC

The smart thing about this whole sceme is having affected only those who where to ignorant to find out and finding there way to this forum. ;-) LOL
Exept for one ? No pun intended.

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Message 242735 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 2:23:42 UTC

My 2 here

I was also a victim of a SETI Classic trojan virus attack back in the classic days, was back before I ever knew about or joined SETI. Truth is when I realized what had happened I was needless to say angered at the fact that it had happened in the first place. I am sure there will be plenty of other people coming forth with the same fury I had at the time it had happened. Funny thing is I considered myself a pretty computer savvy user at the time and had no idea how it got there, was running a firewall and AV. I think personally it was a worm/trojan, self installation mechanism payload perhaps.

I would hope that people with high credits will start to bring more scrutiny in the future. Kudos to the SETI folks for coming out in the open and warning peeps about this new development. Also ( Dont know if this is on the to do list) would like to recommend the possibility of submitting the samples to various Anti-Virus authorities so they can update their signatures and prevent this in the future.

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Message 242765 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 3:37:10 UTC

One way to keep an eye on those that want to cheat or have their system taken over is for SETI to do away with the "Hide Computers" option. Making all computer available for viewing would allow problems to be seen before they get out of hand like this one. I've never understood why people want to hide their computers. No information other than the type of system, OS and WU's are available.

>Fred


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Message 242771 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 3:51:41 UTC - in response to Message 242765.

One way to keep an eye on those that want to cheat or have their system taken over is for SETI to do away with the "Hide Computers" option. Making all computer available for viewing would allow problems to be seen before they get out of hand like this one. I've never understood why people want to hide their computers. No information other than the type of system, OS and WU's are
I applaud this proposal. For the more paranoid, I'd allow hiding the OS version, but that's about all. There is indeed no reason to hide the hosts, unless you cheat in some way or install BOINC illegally on computers without permission.
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Message 242779 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 4:13:22 UTC - in response to Message 242771.

One way to keep an eye on those that want to cheat or have their system taken over is for SETI to do away with the "Hide Computers" option. Making all computer available for viewing would allow problems to be seen before they get out of hand like this one. I've never understood why people want to hide their computers. No information other than the type of system, OS and WU's are
I applaud this proposal. For the more paranoid, I'd allow hiding the OS version, but that's about all. There is indeed no reason to hide the hosts, unless you cheat in some way or install BOINC illegally on computers without permission.


I don't even think you need to hide the OS version. If I don't know the IP of your machine, knowing what OS you have is moot.

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Message 242784 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 4:17:03 UTC - in response to Message 242779.
Last modified: 5 Feb 2006, 4:17:57 UTC

I don't even think you need to hide the OS version. If I don't know the IP of your machine, knowing what OS you have is moot.
Sure, I do not argue that. I am telling it should be the maximum to be allowed to hide - some people may be for example ashamed to be using Windows although claiming to be Unix gurus never touching a Windows box ;)

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Message 242785 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 4:19:46 UTC - in response to Message 242784.
Last modified: 5 Feb 2006, 4:20:08 UTC

I don't even think you need to hide the OS version. If I don't know the IP of your machine, knowing what OS you have is moot.
Sure, I do not argue that. I am telling it should be the maximum to be allowed to hide - some people may be for example ashamed to be using Windows although claiming to be Unix gurus never touching a Windows box ;)


That's true. Although, my farm includes my wifes and sons computer...they run windows...my 3 machines are linux. I suspect alot of folks would do just what you say.



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Message 242789 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 4:44:14 UTC

How would un-hiding someone’s computers help in telling if they are up to something fishy? If Carsten’s machines were not hidden it would have only shown him adding more systems to his ID, correct? No real information available to show who the machines actually belonged to.

I do not hide my machines as there is no sensitive information shown to be worried about. Others choose to hide theirs for whatever reason they might have; it’s just a personal choice. Just because someone’s machines are not viewable to you does not mean they are up to no good.

Am I missing something here?

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Message 242792 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 4:55:25 UTC - in response to Message 242789.

How would un-hiding someone’s computers help in telling if they are up to something fishy? If Carsten’s machines were not hidden it would have only shown him adding more systems to his ID, correct? No real information available to show who the machines actually belonged to.

I do not hide my machines as there is no sensitive information shown to be worried about. Others choose to hide theirs for whatever reason they might have; it’s just a personal choice. Just because someone’s machines are not viewable to you does not mean they are up to no good.

Am I missing something here?


I think the point was used to better help identify someone who may not be doing things on the up and up.

If someone was running over say, 300,000 RAC, and we look and we see that user has 2000 machines, I would say that account would be suspect...duh?

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Message 242798 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 5:11:49 UTC

There may be another victim that may need to be looked at posted on the BOINC core client Board

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Message 242802 - Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 5:57:38 UTC - in response to Message 242771.

I applaud this proposal. For the more paranoid, I'd allow hiding the OS version, but that's about all. There is indeed no reason to hide the hosts, unless you cheat in some way or install BOINC illegally on computers without permission.


I am very disppointed to see this kind of remark. To make this kind of generalization is not very responsible.

If an issue or irregularity occurs w/a user's account, the staff @ Berkeley can easily review the account's hosts, OS, etc. It is not our responsibility to monitor user's accounts..(we are contributing to science, right?!?!)

The purpose of "hidden" hosts is meant for privacy. If a user wishes not to share this kind of information with the public, they should be entitled to this choice.

The issues in this thread have become clouded, and "hidden" computers has nothing to do with a potential Boinc trojan/worm.

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