Security first, "they" are watching

Posted: 2019-07-02 09:15:22 by Alasdair Keyes

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I recently registered a new .uk domain, and setup a basic website on behalf of a client. I checked the logs to see how long it took for it to be accessed without me having to advertise it's presence. The timeline is

The site uses a name-based virtualhost so the visitor had to specifically request the domain rather than just hitting port 80/443 on the server IP. Within ~6 hours of registration, the domain was already being scanned. What's of further interest is that at 17:09 at the same second two separate IPs both hit the index page for the first time, indicating it was likely a bot doing a coordinated scan of new sites.

As far as I know the domain hadn't been registered for a while (if ever) and as .uk domains don't release new registrations, the most likely way for bots/people to be aware of the new website was from the HTTPS Certificate Transparency logs. If you're unaware, every new secure certificate that's issued is published to a public log, these can be searched via a number of sites such as https://crt.sh/ (and you can see all certificates issued for akeyes.co.uk here https://crt.sh/?q=akeyes.co.uk).

The take-away from this is that you should be aware that nothing goes unnoticed on the web anymore, if you're setting up a new website, ensure that it is secure from the get-go. Make sure passwords are changed from defaults and are secure and ensure software is up-to-date as bots will be looking to exploit it, this is especially important for popular CMS apps like Wordpress.

As an aside, I found it interesting that Bing had crawled the domain within 24 hours, and Google has yet still to visit.


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