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The TAMU suite (from Texas A&M University, of course) is a collection of tools that will greatly enhance the security of a UNIX box. These tools were created in response to a very real problem. As explained in the summary that accompanies the distribution:

Texas A&M University UNIX computers recently came under extensive attack from a coordinated group of Internet crackers. This paper presents an overview of the problem and our responses, which included the development of policies, procedures, and sdoels to protect university computers. The tools developed include `drawbridge', an advanced Internet filter bridge, `tiger scripts', extremely powerful but easy to use programs for securing individual hosts, and `xvefc', (XView Etherfind Client), a powerful distributed network monitor.

Contained within the TAMU distribution is a package of tiger scripts, which form the basis of the distribution's digital signature authentication. As the above-mentioned summary explains:

The checking performed covers a wide range of items, including items identified in CERT announcements, and items observed in the recent intrusions. The scripts use Xerox's cryptographic checksum programs to check for both modified system binaries (possible trap doors/trojans), as well as for the presence of required security related patches.

Cross Reference: Xerox hash.2.5a can be found on the PARC ftp site ( This package is generally referred to as the Xerox Secure Hash Function, and the distribution is named after Snefru, a pharaoh of ancient Egypt. The distribution at the aforementioned site was released in 1990, and source is included. For those interested in hacking the Snefru distribution, the material here is invaluable. (Also, refer to a sister document about the distribution and a more comprehensive explanation: A Fast Software One Way Hash Function by Ralph C. Merkle (there is a full citation at the end of this chapter in the Resources section).

The TAMU distribution is comprehensive and can be used to solve several security problems, over and above searching for trojans. It includes a network monitor and packet filter.

Cross Reference: The TAMU distribution is available at

ATP (The Anti-Tampering Program)

ATP is a bit more obscure than TripWire and the TAMU distribution, but I am not certain why. Perhaps it is because it is not widely available. In fact, searches for it may lead you overseas (one good source for it is in Italy). At any rate, ATP works somewhat like TripWire. As reported by David Vincenzetti, DSI (University of Milan, Italy) in "ATP--Anti-Tampering Program":

ATP 'takes a snapshot' of the system, assuming that you are in a trusted configuration, and performs a number of checks to monitor changes that might have been made to files.

Cross Reference: "ATP--Anti-Tampering Program" can be found at

ATP then establishes a database of values for each file. One of these values (the signature) consists of two checksums. The first is a CRC32 checksum, the second an MD5 checksum. You might be wondering why this is so, especially when you know that CRC checksums are not entirely secure or reliable, as explained previously. The explanation is this: Because of its speed, the CRC32 checksum is used in checks performed on a regular (perhaps daily) basis. MD5, which is more comprehensive (and therefore more resource and time intensive), is intended for scheduled, periodic checks (perhaps once a week).

The database is reportedly encrypted using DES. Thus, ATP provides a flexible (but quite secure) method of monitoring your network and identifying possible trojans.

Cross Reference: ATP docs and distribution can be found at


The Hobgoblin tool is an interesting implementation of file- and system-integrity checking. It utilizes Ondishko Consistency checking. The authors of the definitive paper on Hobgoblin (Farmer and Spafford at Purdue) claim that the program is faster and more configurable than COPS and generally collects information in greater detail. What makes Hobgoblin most interesting, though, is that it is both a language and an interpreter. The programmers provided for their own unique descriptors and structural conventions.

The package seems easy to use, but there are some pitfalls. Although globbing conventions (from both csh and sh/bash) are permissible, the Hobgoblin interpreter reserves familiar and often-used metacharacters that have special meaning. Therefore, if you intend to deploy this powerful tool in a practical manner, you should set aside a few hours to familiarize yourself with these conventions.

In all, Hobgoblin is an extremely powerful tool for monitoring file systems. However, I should explain that the program was written specifically for systems located at the University of Rochester and, although it has been successfully compiled on a variety of platforms, your mileage may vary. This is especially so if you are not using a Sun3, Sun4, or VAX with Ultrix. In this instance, some hacking may be involved. Moreover, it has been observed that Hobgoblin is lacking some elements present in other file-integrity checkers, although I believe that third-party file-integrity checkers can be integrated with (and their calls and arguments nested within) Hobgoblin.

Cross Reference: Hobgoblin and its source are located at

On Other Platforms

You're probably wondering whether there are any such utilities for the Windows platform. It happens that there are, though they are perhaps not as powerful or reliable. Most of these tools use checksum integrity checkers and are, therefore, not as comprehensive as tools that employ MD5. Flatly stated, the majority for the Microsoft platform are intended for use as virus scanners.

For this reason, I have not listed these utilities here (a listing of them does appear in Chapter 14, "Destructive Devices"). However, I do want to address a few points: It is generally assumed that trojans are a security problem primarily for UNIX and that when that problem is a Windows problem, it usually involves a virus. There is some truth to this, and there are reasons for it.

Until recently, security on IBM compatibles running Microsoft products was slim. There was no need for complex trojans that could steal (or otherwise cull) information. Thus, the majority of trojans were viruses encased in otherwise useful (or purportedly useful) programs. That situation has changed.

It should be understood that a trojan can be just as easily written for a Microsoft platforms as for any other. Development tools for these platforms are powerful, user-friendly applications (even VC++ far surpasses C compiling utilities made by other firms). And, now that the Windows environment is being used as Internet server material, you can expect the emergence of trojans.

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