[tor-relays] Quantum Insert detection for everyone

David Stainton dstainton415 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 18:41:07 UTC 2015


Did you all see this Wired article about Quantum Insert detection?


These TCP injection attacks are used by various entities around the
world (not just NSA!) to target individuals for surveillance or
perhaps to add their computers to a botnet for other purposes.

If you do not use a VPN or Tor you can run "Quantum Insert" detection
on your computer and detect when you receive an attack attempt.
However be advised that proper sandboxing is important here because
intrusion detection and protocol anylsis tools are notoriously
insecure and get pwned all the time.

If you are a Tor exit relay operator you have the options of running
detection software; However you should not publish the results
publicly without mixing in some noise or your published data might
make it possible for some adversaries to deanonymize Tor users. If
your country has strict telecommunications laws then it might only be
legal for you to perform this type of detection if you do not perform

For the past several months... in my free time I've been slowly
developing a very comprehensive TCP injection attack detection tool
called HoneyBadger:


Quantum Insert is a NSA codeword for "TCP injection attack", however
either of these terms are too vague. During my research I was able to
classify 4 different types of TCP injection attack. When I say that
HoneytBadger is comprehensive what I mean is that Honeybadger can
detect ALL of these types of TCP injection attack types... I describe
them briefly here:


Here's the Fox-IT blog post about their Quantum Insert detection software:

I am going to work on writing a much more comprehensive blog post; it
will be filled with gory technical details AND it will include
information on how to use HoneyBadger. HoneyBadger has optional (off
by default) full-take logging which could enable you to capture a
zero-day payload from a TCP attack; you should then responsibly
disclose to the software vendor or contact a malware analyst to help


David Stainton

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