My site is compromised by an FTP brute attack and the cracker modified / created some files in my home directory.

Let's say the date of the malicious creation / modification is 2011-4-5 21:38:09. How can I find other files in public_html that is modified / created around that time?

Tried to search via Google but nothing helpful found. Can you please give me some examples? Like ls or find? Thanks!

5 Answers 5


You can:

touch -m -t 201104052138.08 /tmp/timestamp

find /dir -newer /tmp/timestamp

The initial touch creates a file with an mtime of one second before your required timestamp, and the find then uses that to find files modified (in terms of content) after that time.

You will also want to check permissions and group ownership. You can't use the above technique to do that, since touch can only change the atime and the mtime. So, you're better off determining what the correct permissions are, and just resetting them. For example, if typically your web files are owned by root with group www-pub, and have permissions 0755 for directories and 0644 for files, you can use

find /dir \! -user root 

to find files and directories not owned by root and

find /dir \! -group www-pub 

to find files and directories not owned by www-pub

the -perm flag to find can be used to find files based on permissions, too, but you're better off just setting things to what they should be.

find /dir -exec chown root:www-pub {} \;
find /dir -type f -exec chmod 0644 {} \;
find /dir -type d -exec chmod 0755 {} \;

Use find

# find /home -ctime -2

That means "find files on /home that changed on last 48 hours". The 2 is multiplied by 24 hours so if you need 72 hours you use 3, and so on. If you need to find the files that changed at MORE than X days, use + instead of -.

You want to probably list the files so:

# find /home -ctime -2 -exec ls -l {} \;

Remember that ctime includes files created or changed in the last X hours.

  • Good point. I keep forgetting that ctime is always updated whenever the file is modified.
    – malcolmpdx
    Apr 7, 2011 at 14:29
  • Is that we always associate ctime with creation time, but it's change time, including the first change that is creation :)
    – coredump
    Apr 7, 2011 at 14:36
  • I've cured myself of thinking of ctime as "create time", but forget that it's set by the kernel on any file op other than read(). I keep thinking it's only for inode modification (which it is, but mtime is part of the inode, which means that modifications update the inode, and therefore the ctime). :) One of these days, that will sink in.
    – malcolmpdx
    Apr 7, 2011 at 14:38
  • @malcolm if it was easy it would be windows :P
    – coredump
    Apr 7, 2011 at 14:39
  • started on unix myself, so Windows continues to look like a snarled mess to me. Try programmatically determining the modification time of a hidden NTFS filestream without using third-party tools! :)
    – malcolmpdx
    Apr 7, 2011 at 14:44
find /dir -newerma "2011-xx-xx"

or you can look here


To find files on/around a specific date (as opposed to since a certain date) you will need to write a custom script. There are two options for this:

  • A script which finds the files
  • A script which tests a single file that you can embed into a find command

The first one is definitely more efficient. A very crude perl example would be:

use strict;
use warnings;

use POSIX();
use File::Find();

sub usage() { die "usage: finddate yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss marginsecs dirs..." }

my( $mindate, $maxdate );
sub checkdate()
    my @data = stat($_);
    foreach my $idx ( 9, 10 ) # mtime and ctime
        if( $data[$idx] >= $mindate && $data[$idx] <= $maxdate )
            print "$File::Find::name\n";

# Main Program
    my $dtxt = shift(@ARGV);
    my $margin = shift(@ARGV);
    my $date;
    if( $dtxt =~ /^(\d{4})-(\d\d)-(\d\d)T(\d\d):(\d\d):(\d\d)$/ )
        $date = POSIX::mktime( $6, $5, $4, $3, $2-1, $1-1900 );
    $mindate = $date - $margin;
    $maxdate = $date + $margin;
    File::Find::find( \&checkdate, @ARGV );

Sample usage:

finddate.pl 2011-03-02T01:40:00 600 .

The single file test pretty much the same thing except:

  • it takes a single file instead of a list of directory arguments
  • The checkdate function takes a filename parameter instead of using $_
  • The checkdate function will return 1 if the check passes or 0 otherwise
  • The last line is now exit( !checkdate(@ARGV) );

You can then use this in a normal find command like

find dir -exec finddate.pl 2011-03-02T01:40:00 600 {} \; -print

You can use the switch mtime to accomplish this task.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .