[ISN] Forensics Expert Attempts To Link UBS Attack And Defendant

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Jun 23 15:39:48 EDT 2006


By Sharon Gaudin
June 22, 2006

Newark, N.J. - The government's forensics expert in the ongoing UBS
computer sabotage trial testified Thursday that he not only found the
malicious code that took down about 2,000 of UBS PaineWebber's servers
four years ago, but he also "directly linked" it back to the
defendant's home computer.

Keith Jones, director of computer forensics and incident response at
Mandiant, an information security company, testified that he found the
trigger mechanism for the logic bomb installed on machines across the
company's national network, and that he connected defendant Roger
Duronio's user name and home computer directly to its creation,
modification, distribution and execution.

Duronio, a former systems administrator for UBS, is facing four
federal, criminal charges in connection with the March 4, 2002 attack
that took the company's brokers offline for a day to three weeks. The
attack cost the company $3.1 million in cleanup costs alone.

Jones explained to the jury how he began hunting for the trigger code
and how it worked. Answering questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney
Mauro Wolfe, Jones said the government brought him in to work on the
case a little more than a year after the incident, and he immediately
started searching for files and pieces of code associated with the
logic bomb.

"I started with a clean slate," said Jones, who has 10 years of
computer forensics experience. "A lot of times a company doesn't know
what's going on. They're in a 'let's get things back up and running'
mode. I came in to find out what was happening in the system."

Early on in his testimony, Jones testified about conclusions that he
reached after his three-year investigation into the UBS incident. As
the government flashed accompanying slides on a screen for the jury,
the witness said he found the 25 lines of the bomb's timer on two of
Duronio's home computers, which the U.S. Secret Service had seized
from his house. He also said the hardcopy printout of the code that
federal agents found on Duronio's bedroom dresser was an exact match
for what was in the computers.

Next, Jones said the code caused the massive file deletion that took
down the network. The forensic exam, he added, also revealed that the
timer for the logic bomb, which Jones dubbed "the Duronio Trigger,"  
was distributed and intentionally installed on the company's main host
server, as well as on servers in approximately 370 branch offices.

Finally, Jones, who has written his own open-source forensics tools,
said he concluded that Duronio's user name and home computers were
"directly linked" to the building of the logic bomb and to its
presence on UBS's nationwide Unix-based network.

Jones had to explain, to a jury of technical laymen, the basics of
computer code and forensics, source code, binary code, and compilers.

Jones has 10 years experience as a forensics examiner, and has worked
on Unix since he was 16. He holds three college degrees, including a
bachelors in computer engineering and a masters in electrical
engineering. A former systems administrator himself, he also has
written three books, including Real Digital Forensics and The
Anti-Hacker Toolkit.

The defense maintains that the government focused its investigation on
the wrong man. Duronio's attorney has said UBS erred when hiring
@Stake, the first forensics team on the case, because the firm
employed well-known hackers. And Duronio's team also criticized the
Secret Service and how agents handled evidence and other interviews.

Recovery Costs

Earlier in the day, the prosecution put Nancy Bagli, an assistant vice
president with UBS, on the stand.

Bagli, who has been with UBS since 1997, worked in the company's
Contract and Sourcing department at the time of the 2002 attack. She
testified that she worked with group managers to figure out what they
needed for hardware and services to recover from the attack. She also
kept track of what UBS spent on the cleanup.

UBS spent $898,780 on hardware, including IBM and Sun Microsystems
servers; $260,473 on investigative services; and $1,987,036 on
technical consultants, who mainly were from IBM and went out to help
bring the branch offices back up. The company bought refurbished
equipment if they could get it faster than new, Bagli said

That adds up to a total of $3,146,289 spent on recovery costs alone.  
UBS has never reported the price of down business time.

The trial is nearing the end of its third week. Jones is the
prosecution's last witness and will take the stand again Friday
morning. The defense will present its own slate of witnesses starting
next week.

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