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Abuse Desks

On 4/29/20 9:24 AM, Mukund Sivaraman wrote:
> If there's a lock on my door, and someone tries to pick it, you can call
> me at fault for having a lock on my door facing outside all you
> want. But the thief picking it has no business doing so, and will be
> guilty of a crime if caught.

This is a good start to an analogy.  Let's build on it, courtesy to 
YouTube's "Lock Picking Lawyer".  In a video, the host shows how to 
improve the security of a common easily-picked home lock: drill holes in 
the lock body, such that if someone picks the lock and tries to turn the 
keyway, the pins will fall into those carefully-placed holes and foil 
The Bad Guy(tm).

In the networking world, we use an Access Control List to limit access 
to the service.  Unlike the simple modification shown in LPL's video, 
the "lock" is still usable by users from authorized IP addresses.  Or, 
we require the use of certificates to validate access within the SSHD 
server itself.

Here's the deal:  just blocking access or requiring certificate-based 
access is intrusion prevention.  Having a log event when there are 
unsuccessful probes is intrusion [attempt] detection.  Sure, the 
ne'er-do-well is kept out in the prevention cycle, but a persistent 
cracker lives by the axiom "if at first you don't succeed, try something 
else."  You really want to stop an attacker from making a large number 
of attempts, such as with a Joe script.

I turn off root SSH access, pinhole 22/tcp to a limited number of IP 
addresses, and monitor failed SUDO attempts.  As I build up my new 
firewall, I'll turn off public SSH access completely, and instead use a 
robust VPN implementation.  (Which has its own issues.)