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w2 Written Assignment

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Before doing this assignment, be sure you are familiar with the General Instructions for Written Assignments found in the Course Information module.

This week’s written assignment is about the cyberattack on HBGary Federal. Because this attack is so well documented, you can see many of the concepts you are learning about in this attack.

There are ten parts to this assignment, each one worth ½ point. To receive credit, you must explain your answers.

Question 1. (1 ½ points) This week’s extra reading on terminology describes three categories of vulnerabilities. The HBGary Federal attack included exploits of vulnerabilities from all three categories.

a. Identify one part of the attack that exploited a manufacturer vulnerability. (Hint: I believe there is only one exploit in the entire attack that fits this category, this will be the hardest one to find).

b. Identify one part of the attack that exploited a local vulnerability. This is the most common type of vulnerability exploited in the attack.

c. Identify one part of the attack that exploited a human vulnerability. Your answer should specifically be in the category of “social engineering”.

Question 2. (½ point) Is the HGBary Federal attack best categorized as a “targeted” or “opportunistic” attack, and most importantly, why

Question 3. (1 ½ points) On page 70, the textbook suggests characterizing attacks according to the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability) triad. The attack on HBGary Federal had elements of all three types of attacks.

a. What part of the attack on HBGary Federal can be considered as a Confidentiality attack, and why

b. What part of the attack on HBGary Federal can be considered as an Integrity attack, and why

c. What part of the attack on HBGary Federal can be considered as an Availability attack, and why

Question 4. (1 ½ points) Like most cyberattacks, the attack on HBGary Federal did not consist of one single act, but a series of actions linked together. Here’s a list of eight actions that were taken by Anonymous during the attack.

A. Anonymous defaces the HBGary Federal website

B. Anonymous deletes backups and research data

C. Anonymous gains administrator access to HBGary’s Google App’s email system

D. Anonymous gains root access to a Linux computer, support.hbgary.com

E. Anonymous retrieves usernames, email addresses and hashed passwords of administrators for the HBGary Federal webserver

F. Anonymous takes over Aaron Barr’s twitter account

G. Anonymous tricks an administrator into giving them root access to the rootkit.com webserver

H. Anonymous is able to use hashed passwords to find plaintext passwords belonging to Aaron Barr and Ted Vera

Some of these events are dependent upon earlier events, for instance, Anonymous could not take over Aaron Barr’s twitter account without having already found his plaintext password. The purpose of these next three questions is to identify other dependencies among these events.

a. Among these eight actions, there is one that opened up everything else for anonymous, one action that all of the others were dependent upon. Which action is this, and why

b. Actions C and G are closely related, and one of them had to have occurred before the other. Which one occurred first, and why

c. Actions B and D are closely related, and one of them had to have occurred before the other. Which one occurred first, and why

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