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"Internet scanning project" scans

Published: 2014-07-26
Last Updated: 2014-07-26 01:05:19 UTC
by Chris Mohan (Version: 1)
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A reader, Greg, wrote in with a query on another internet scanning project. He checked out the IP address and it lead to a web site, www[.]internetscanningproject.org, which states:


"Hello! You've reached the Internet Scanning Project.

We're computer security researchers performing periodic Internet-wide health assessments.

If you reached this site because of activity you observed on your network:

We apologize for any concern caused by our network activity. We are not specifically targeting your network.

We have not attempted to unlawfully access or abuse your network in any way. We are exclusively accessing publicly available servers, we respect all authentication barriers, and (as you can see) we have made no attempt to hide our activity.

This effort is part of a research project in which we are engaged in with view to possibly contributing to public Internet health datasets. We believe research of this sort is both legal and beneficial to the security of the Internet as a whole.

However, if you wish to be excluded from our scanning efforts after reading the clarifying information below, please email us with IP addresses or CIDR blocks to be added to our blacklist."

It does not provide any information or assurances that this is a legitimate research project and I wouldn't be want to sending information to unknown people via an unattributable web site. The normal low level open source searching doesn't reveal anything of use or attribution either. It does, however, bring up a fair number hits of people asking what are these scans and the best way to block them.

It appears this scanning has been running for a couple of weeks and has being using multiple IP addresses (see https://isc.sans.edu/topips.txt for some examples). A curious point, for a "legitimate" scan, is that they have started changed the User Agent frequently and in some cases to some very odd nonsensical strings. The core scans are against TCP ports 21, 22 and 443 and the 443 scans may trigger alerts for probing on the Heartbleed bug.

Chris Mohan --- Internet Storm Center Handler on Duty

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