SYN flood to contend with, and yet again, it's
the same extortionists that took this company last year for quite a
bit of money (and I have to wonder—how do they note this in their
financials? “Unexpected hiring of Russian Security Consultants”?) that
“promised” protection for (I think) a year or so against such attacks.
One it was brought to their attention, the attack subsided.
But in the mean time, I was tasked to move several of the larger sites
still on the Boca Raton servers to the ones down in Miami. The intent of
the Miami servers is for each to act as a backup of the other (and the Boca
Raton servers will eventually act as a backup for the Miami servers) so in
the process of creating the accounts needed on the two servers I made a
slight mistake. Nothing bad, like an errant
rm -rf * or
attempting to restart the network remotely. Nope. Just a simple
/etc/passwd with the wrong file.
Nothing major. It just meant that no one could log into the
system. I didn't notice until I attempted to copy over some more files and
they failed. Or rather, I think
started asking for passwords when I explicitely set up a trust mechanism
between the two servers on their private network interfaces. I started
poking around on the server with the munged
and it came quite apparent what happened.
Fortunately, I still logged into the server with the munged
Unfortunately, I was not
root. Nor could I become
root. This was not good.
ssh since the authentication was blown. Which meant
scp wouldn't work either. I thought maybe
rsync would work, but then I realized I set up
rsync to use
ssh and since authentication didn't
work … (not that I realized until after trying
That's when I realized that a trip down to Miami might be required.
Several hours worth of driving for less than a minutes worth of work to
/etc/passwd. It was then I had a brainstorm …
why not hack my way back to root? Wasn't illegal—I was, after
all, the administrator for the system, and I had local
access, which would make it easier than a remote exploit.
One Google search later, and I'm perusing 0day-exploits. Downloaded a few, got the code to the borked server, compile, run and nothing. Download another one, get it on the server, compile, run, and nothing.
Damn you, Gentoo, I thought, and your custom compiliation installs! I can't even hack my way back into the system!
I supposed I could have kept at it, but at there comes a time of diminishing returns, which would be the time it would take me to drive to Miami, reboot the server into single user mode, restore the file, reboot and drive back home. The drive and reboot is the simpler solution in this case (if a bit tedious); had the server been on the other side of the country, then yes, maybe I would have stuck with the hacking attempt a bit longer …