North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Automated Network Abuse Reporting

  • From: Richard A Steenbergen
  • Date: Mon Dec 29 12:38:26 2003

On Mon, Dec 29, 2003 at 08:24:16AM -0800, Joel Jaeggli wrote:
> if you automate abuse reporting you can basically assume that the reciver 
> will automate abuse handling. since that has in fact happened as far as i 
> can tell the probably of you automated asbuse replaies ever reaching a 
> human who cares or can do something about it is effecetivly zero.

It's difficult to sort out legitimate complaints for port scanning.
Consider that the vast majority of such complaints a provider receieves,
particularly automated ones (groan), are just flat out wrong or stupid (or

For example: "Your web server is hacking my web browser on port 80", or
"Why are you probing me with UDP packets on port 53 from this host named
NS1...", but usually stated with far more capital letters, misspellings, 
profanity, and threats to sue or report your web server to the 
authorities because it dared to respond to their port 80 connection. :)

Things only seem to get worse when you actually try to have a halfass team
of people respond to these. Usually the victim is someone who gets a syn
flood from random sourced addresses, correctly responds with RSTs, and
ends up being accused of port scanning due to the backscatter hitting some
random military IP address. Anyone with a reasonable amount of experience 
should be able to look at any of the detailed packet logs and clearly see 
the very obvious patterns which indicate the differences between 
legitimate port scans, backscatter, or classic spoofed source syn floods. 
But they never do, even when they claim to be highly experienced and in 
positions of power. For many providers, getting a threatening e-mail from 
a government agency will result in someone being turned off, even if they 
have done nothing wrong.

Recently I saw someone running an online gaming service who experienced
this in the other direction. The attacker set his IP as the source, and
directly fired off millions of packets to random destinations. Not only
was their a direct DoS effect due to all the RST coming in, but over the
course of 48 hours he received THOUSANDS of angry calls, many complaints
to his provider, and even several death threats.

Richard A Steenbergen <[email protected]>
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)