The sys admin's daily grind: Whowatch et al.
For no particular reason, Charly occasionally patrols his server farm and hunts down attackers. He has put together a neat toolbox for this job.
Every server with an IP address on the Internet will receive uninvited visits at some point. The usual scans and scripted carpet bombing simply bounce off my machines thanks to clever firewalling, port knocking , and additional tools like Fail2ban . To keep attackers from working around my defenses, I use two rootkit hunters: Rootkit Hunter  and Chkrootkit . The latter, unfortunately, accuses my DHCP server of packet sniffing:
eth0: PACKET SNIFFER(/usr/sbin/dhcpd)
This result is a known false positive, which I ignore. As an interim report, I can say that my varmint hunters have not seen any prey thus far.
Nevertheless, I occasionally go on patrol to see whether a server is behaving strangely. I like to use
whowatch  for this purpose. This tool launches in the terminal with a process list; the second column shows me the owner. In the third column, Whowatch tells me whether the user is local or logged on via SSH, Telnet, or in some other way. For remote users, this information is followed by the IP address, and for local users, just
I have two ways of navigating this information: I can use the arrow keys to select a line, press Enter, and see a tree view of the associated processes, as shown in Figure 1. Pressing O (owner) hides or displays the process owner; pressing D (details) creates a window with detailed information for the process.
My second option is to type T (tree view) to show all running processes. In this tree view, too, pressing D will display more information. Pressing L (list of signals) shows me the control signals that I can send to the process, such as
TERM, and in an emergency
KILL. I can display the overall system status, particularly in terms of memory management, by pressing S (sysinfo), which tells Whowatch to display the total load on the screen, in a style very much reminiscent of
top (Figure 2).
I have never found anything dangerous on my server patrols to date, but I do like that warm, safe, and cozy feeling.
Buy this article as PDF
MSBuild is now just another GitHub project as Redmond continues its path to the light.
Malware could pass data and commands between disconnected computers without leaving a trace on the network.
New rules emphasize collegiality in coding.
Upstart lands in the dust bin as a new era begins for Linux.
HP's annual Cyber Risk report offers a bleak look at the state of IT.
But what do the big numbers really mean?
.NET Core execution engine is the basis for cross-platform .NET implementations.
The Xnote trojan hides itself on the target system and will launch a variety of attacks on command.
Spammers go low-volume, and 90% of IE browsers are unpatched.
Adobe scrambles to release patches for vulnerable Flash Player.