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The Spread of the Sapphire/Slammer SQL Worm

  • From: vern
  • Date: Fri Jan 31 20:15:14 2003

We have completed our preliminary analysis of the spread of the
Sapphire/Slammer SQL worm.  This worm required roughly 10 minutes to
spread worldwide making it by far the fastest worm to date.  In the
early stages the worm was doubling in size every 8.5 seconds.  At its
peak, achieved approximately 3 minutes after it was released, Sapphire
scanned the net at over 55 million IP addresses per second.  It
infected at least 75,000 victims and probably considerably more.

This remarkable speed, nearly two orders of magnitude faster than Code
Red, was the result of a bandwidth-limited scanner.  Since Sapphire
didn't need to wait for responses, each copy could scan at the maximum
rate that the processor and network bandwidth could support.

There were also two noteworthy bugs in the pseudo-random number
generator which complicated our analysis and limited our ability to
estimate the total infection but did not slow the spread of the worm.

The full analysis is available at
http://www.caida.org/analysis/security/sapphire/
http://www.silicondefense.com/sapphire/
http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~nweaver/sapphire/

David Moore, CAIDA & UCSD CSE
Vern Paxson, ICIR & LBNL
Stefan Savage, UCSD CSE
Colleen Shannon, CAIDA
Stuart Staniford, Silicon Defense
Nicholas Weaver, Silicon Defense and UC Berkeley EECS




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