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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: botnet

Stantinko Botnet Now Targeting Linux Servers to Hide Behind Proxies

Stantinko Botnet Now Targeting Linux Servers to Hide Behind Proxies

November 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An adware and coin-miner botnet targeting Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan at least since 2012 has now set its sights on Linux servers to fly under the radar. According to a new analysis published by Intezer today and shared with The Hacker News, the trojan masquerades as  HTTPd , a commonly used program on Linux servers, and is a new version of the malware belonging to a threat actor tracked as  Stantinko . Back in 2017, ESET researchers detailed a  massive adware botnet  that works by tricking users looking for pirated software into downloading malicious executables disguised as torrents to install rogue browser extensions that perform ad injection and click fraud. The covert campaign, which controls a vast army of half a million bots, has since received a substantial upgrade in the form of a  crypto-mining module  with an aim to profit from computers under their control. Although Stantinko has been traditionally a Windows malware, the expansion in their toolset to tar
TrickBot Linux Variants Active in the Wild Despite Recent Takedown

TrickBot Linux Variants Active in the Wild Despite Recent Takedown

October 28, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Efforts to disrupt TrickBot may have  shut down  most of its critical infrastructure, but the operators behind the notorious malware aren't sitting idle. According to new findings shared by cybersecurity firm  Netscout , TrickBot's authors have moved portions of their code to Linux in an attempt to widen the scope of victims that could be targeted. TrickBot, a financial Trojan first detected in 2016, has been traditionally a Windows-based crimeware solution, employing different modules to perform a wide range of malicious activities on target networks, including credential theft and perpetrate ransomware attacks. But over the past few weeks, twin efforts led by the US Cyber Command and Microsoft have helped to  eliminate 94%  of TrickBot's command-and-control (C2) servers that were in use and the new infrastructure the criminals operating TrickBot attempted to bring online to replace the previously disabled servers. Despite the steps taken to impede TrickBot, Microsof
Microsoft and Other Tech Companies Take Down TrickBot Botnet

Microsoft and Other Tech Companies Take Down TrickBot Botnet

October 13, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Days after the US Government took steps to disrupt the notorious TrickBot botnet , a group of cybersecurity and tech companies has detailed a separate coordinated effort to take down the malware's back-end infrastructure. The joint collaboration, which involved Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit , Lumen's Black Lotus Labs , ESET , Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center ( FS-ISAC ), NTT , and Broadcom's Symantec , was undertaken after their request to halt TrickBot's operations was granted by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The development comes after the US Cyber Command mounted a campaign to thwart TrickBot's spread over concerns of ransomware attacks targeting voting systems ahead of the presidential elections next month. Attempts aimed at impeding the botnet were first reported by KrebsOnSecurity early this month. Microsoft and its partners analyzed over 186,000 TrickBot samples, using it to track down the m
ALERT! Hackers targeting IoT devices with a new P2P botnet malware

ALERT! Hackers targeting IoT devices with a new P2P botnet malware

October 07, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have taken the wraps off a new botnet hijacking Internet-connected smart devices in the wild to perform nefarious tasks, mostly DDoS attacks, and illicit cryptocurrency coin mining. Discovered by Qihoo 360's Netlab security team, the  HEH Botnet  — written in Go language and armed with a proprietary peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol, spreads via a brute-force attack of the Telnet service on ports 23/2323 and can execute arbitrary shell commands. The researchers said the HEH botnet samples discovered so far support a wide variety of CPU architectures, including x86(32/64), ARM(32/64), MIPS(MIPS32/MIPS-III), and PowerPC (PPC). The botnet, despite being in its early stages of development, comes with three functional modules: a propagation module, a local HTTP service module, and a P2P module. Initially downloaded and executed by a malicious Shell script named "wpqnbw.txt," the HEH sample then uses the Shell script to download rogue programs for all
A New Fileless P2P Botnet Malware Targeting SSH Servers Worldwide

A New Fileless P2P Botnet Malware Targeting SSH Servers Worldwide

August 19, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today took the wraps off a sophisticated, multi-functional peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet written in Golang that has been actively targeting SSH servers since January 2020. Called " FritzFrog ," the modular, multi-threaded and file-less botnet has breached more than 500 servers to date, infecting well-known universities in the US and Europe, and a railway company, according to a report released by Guardicore Labs today. "With its decentralized infrastructure, it distributes control among all its nodes," Guardicore 's Ophir Harpaz said. "In this network with no single point-of-failure, peers constantly communicate with each other to keep the network alive, resilient and up-to-date." In addition to implementing a proprietary P2P protocol that's been written from scratch, the communications are done over an encrypted channel, with the malware capable of creating a backdoor on victim systems that grants continued access fo
Researchers Exploited A Bug in Emotet to Stop the Spread of Malware

Researchers Exploited A Bug in Emotet to Stop the Spread of Malware

August 17, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Emotet, a notorious email-based malware behind several botnet-driven spam campaigns and ransomware attacks, contained a flaw that allowed cybersecurity researchers to activate a kill-switch and prevent the malware from infecting systems for six months. "Most of the vulnerabilities and exploits that you read about are good news for attackers and bad news for the rest of us," Binary Defense's James Quinn said. "However, it's important to keep in mind that malware is software that can also have flaws. Just as attackers can exploit flaws in legitimate software to cause harm, defenders can also reverse-engineer malware to discover its vulnerabilities and then exploit those to defeat the malware." The kill-switch was alive between February 6, 2020, to August 6, 2020, for 182 days, before the malware authors patched their malware and closed the vulnerability. Since its first identification in 2014, Emotet has evolved from its initial roots as a banking
QSnatch Data-Stealing Malware Infected Over 62,000 QNAP NAS Devices

QSnatch Data-Stealing Malware Infected Over 62,000 QNAP NAS Devices

July 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity agencies in the US and UK yesterday issued a joint advisory about a massive ongoing malware threat infecting Taiwanese company QNAP's network-attached storage (NAS) appliances. Called QSnatch (or Derek), the data-stealing malware is said to have compromised 62,000 devices since reports emerged last October, with a high degree of infection in Western Europe and North America. "All QNAP NAS devices are potentially vulnerable to QSnatch malware if not updated with the latest security fixes," the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said in the alert. "Further, once a device has been infected, attackers can prevent administrators from successfully running firmware updates." The mode of compromise, i.e., the infection vector, still remains unclear, but CISA and NCSC said the first campaign likely began in 2014 and continued till mid-2017 before intensifying over th
Chinese Researchers Disrupt Malware Attack That Infected Thousands of PCs

Chinese Researchers Disrupt Malware Attack That Infected Thousands of PCs

May 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab said it partnered with tech giant Baidu to disrupt a malware botnet infecting over hundreds of thousands of systems. The botnet was traced back to a group it calls ShuangQiang (also called Double Gun ), which has been behind several attacks since 2017 aimed at compromising Windows computers with MBR and VBR bootkits , and installing malicious drivers for financial gain and hijack web traffic to e-commerce sites. In addition to using images uploaded to Baidu Tieba to distribute configuration files and malware — a technique called steganography — the group has begun using Alibaba Cloud storage to host configuration files and Baidu's analytics platform Tongji to manage the activity of its infected hosts, the researchers said. The initial compromise relies on luring unsuspecting users to install game launching software from sketchy game portals that contain malicious code under the guise of a patch. Once the user downloads and inst
Malicious USB Drives Infect 35,000 Computers With Crypto-Mining Botnet

Malicious USB Drives Infect 35,000 Computers With Crypto-Mining Botnet

April 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers from ESET on Thursday said they took down a portion of a malware botnet comprising at least 35,000 compromised Windows systems that attackers were secretly using to mine Monero cryptocurrency. The botnet, named "VictoryGate," has been active since May 2019, with infections mainly reported in Latin America, particularly Peru accounting for 90% of the compromised devices. "The main activity of the botnet is mining Monero cryptocurrency," ESET said . "The victims include organizations in both public and private sectors, including financial institutions." ESET said it worked with dynamic DNS provider No-IP to take down the malicious command-and-control (C2) servers and that it set up fake domains (aka sinkholes) to monitor the botnet's activity. The sinkhole data shows that between 2,000 and 3,500 infected computers connected to the C2 servers on a daily basis during February and March this year. According to ESET res
Dark Nexus: A New Emerging IoT Botnet Malware Spotted in the Wild

Dark Nexus: A New Emerging IoT Botnet Malware Spotted in the Wild

April 08, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new emerging IoT botnet threat that leverages compromised smart devices to stage ' distributed denial-of-service ' attacks, potentially triggered on-demand through platforms offering DDoS-for-hire services. The botnet, named "dark_nexus" by Bitdefender researchers, works by employing credential stuffing attacks against a variety of devices, such as routers (from Dasan Zhone, Dlink, and ASUS), video recorders, and thermal cameras, to co-opt them into the botnet. So far, dark_nexus comprises at least 1,372 bots, acting as a reverse proxy, spanning across various locations in China, South Korea, Thailand, Brazil, and Russia. "While it might share some features with previously known IoT botnets, the way some of its modules have been developed makes it significantly more potent and robust," the researchers said . "For example, payloads are compiled for 12 different CPU architectures and dynamically deliver
Multiple DDoS Botnets Exploited 0-Day Flaws in LILIN DVR Surveillance Systems

Multiple DDoS Botnets Exploited 0-Day Flaws in LILIN DVR Surveillance Systems

March 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in digital video recorders (DVRs) for surveillance systems manufactured by Taiwan-based LILIN have been exploited by botnet operators to infect and co-opt vulnerable devices into a family of denial-of-service bots. The findings come from Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 's Netlab team, who say different attack groups have been using LILIN DVR zero-day vulnerabilities to spread Chalubo , FBot , and Moobot botnets at least since August 30, 2019. Netlab researchers said they reached out to LILIN on January 19, 2020, although it wasn't until a month later the vendor released a firmware update (2.0b60_20200207) addressing the vulnerabilities. The development comes as IoT devices are increasingly being used as an attack surface to launch DDoS attacks and as proxies to engage in various forms of cybercrime. What Are the LILIN Zero-Days About? The flaw in itself concerns a chain of vulnerabilities that make use of hard-coded login cred
Mukashi: A New Mirai IoT Botnet Variant Targeting Zyxel NAS Devices

Mukashi: A New Mirai IoT Botnet Variant Targeting Zyxel NAS Devices

March 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A new version of the infamous Mirai botnet is exploiting a recently uncovered critical vulnerability in network-attached storage (NAS) devices in an attempt to remotely infect and control vulnerable machines. Called " Mukashi ," the new variant of the malware employs brute-force attacks using different combinations of default credentials to log into Zyxel NAS, UTM, ATP, and VPN firewall products to take control of the devices and add them to a network of infected bots that can be used to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Multiple Zyxel NAS products running firmware versions up to 5.21 are vulnerable to the compromise, Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 global threat intelligence team said, adding they uncovered the first such exploitation of the flaw in the wild on March 12. Zyxel's Pre-Authentication Command Injection Flaw Mukashi hinges on a pre-authentication command injection vulnerability (tracked as CVE-2020-9054 ), for which a proof-
Microsoft Hijacks Necurs Botnet that Infected 9 Million PCs Worldwide

Microsoft Hijacks Necurs Botnet that Infected 9 Million PCs Worldwide

March 10, 2020Wang Wei
Microsoft today announced that it has successfully disrupted the botnet network of the Necurs malware, which has infected more than 9 million computers globally, and also hijacked the majority of its infrastructure. The latest botnet takedown was the result of a coordinated operation involving international police and private tech companies across 35 countries. The operation was conducted successfully after researchers successfully broke the domain generation algorithm (DGA) implemented by the Necurs malware, which helped it remain resilient for a long time. DGA is basically a technique to unpredictably generate new domain names at regular intervals, helping malware authors to continuously switch the location of C&C servers and maintain undisrupted digital communication with the infected machines. "We were then able to accurately predict over six million unique domains that would be created in the next 25 months. Microsoft reported these domains to their respective r
14 Ways to Evade Botnet Malware Attacks On Your Computers

14 Ways to Evade Botnet Malware Attacks On Your Computers

December 18, 2019Wang Wei
Cybercriminals are busy innovators, adapting their weapons and attack strategies, and ruthlessly roaming the web in search of their next big score. Every manner of sensitive information, such as confidential employee records, customers' financial data, protected medical documents, and government files, are all subject to their relentless threats to cybersecurity . Solutions span a broad spectrum, from training email users to ensuring a VPN kill switch is in place, to adding extensive advanced layers of network protection. To successfully guard against severe threats from hackers, worm viruses to malware, such as botnet attacks, network managers need to use all tools and methods that fit well into a comprehensive cyber defense strategy. Of all the menaces mentioned above to a website owner's peace of mind, botnets arguably present the most unsettling form of security risk. They're not the mere achievements of malicious amateur cybercriminals. They're state
Phorpiex Botnet Sending Out Millions of Sextortion Emails Using Hacked Computers

Phorpiex Botnet Sending Out Millions of Sextortion Emails Using Hacked Computers

October 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
A decade-old botnet malware that currently controls over 450,000 computers worldwide has recently shifted its operations from infecting machines with ransomware or crypto miners to abusing them for sending out sextortion emails to millions of innocent people. Extortion by email is growing significantly, with a large number of users recently complaining about receiving sextortion emails that attempt to extort money from individuals by blackmailing them into exposing their sexual content. Though until now, it wasn't clear how scammers were sending such massive amounts of emails without getting blacklisted by the email providers, security researchers from CheckPoint finally found the missing block in this puzzle. In its latest report shared with The Hacker News prior to the release, Tel Aviv-based security firm CheckPoint reveals that a botnet, called Phorpiex , has recently been updated to include a spam bot designed to use compromised computers as proxies to send out over 3
Smominru Botnet Indiscriminately Hacked Over 90,000 Computers Just Last Month

Smominru Botnet Indiscriminately Hacked Over 90,000 Computers Just Last Month

September 18, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Insecure Internet-connected devices have aided different types of cybercrime for years, most common being DDoS and spam campaigns. But cybercriminals have now shifted toward a profitable scheme where botnets do not just launch DDoS or spam—they mine cryptocurrencies as well. Smominru, an infamous cryptocurrency-mining and credential-stealing botnet, has become one of the rapidly spreading computer viruses that is now infecting over 90,000 machines each month around the world. Though the campaigns that are hacking computers with the Smominru botnet have not been designed to go after targets with any specific interest, the latest report from Guardicore Labs researchers shed light on the nature of the victims and the attack infrastructure. According to the researchers, just last month, more than 4,900 networks were infected by the worm without any discrimination, and many of these networks had dozens of internal machines infected. Infected networks include US-based higher-educ
French Police Remotely Removed RETADUP Malware from 850,000 Infected PCs

French Police Remotely Removed RETADUP Malware from 850,000 Infected PCs

August 28, 2019Mohit Kumar
The French law enforcement agency, National Gendarmerie, today announced the successful takedown of one of the largest wide-spread RETADUP botnet malware and how it remotely disinfected more than 850,000 computers worldwide with the help of researchers. Earlier this year, security researchers at Avast antivirus firm, who were actively monitoring the activities of RETADUP botnet, discovered a design flaw in the malware's C&C protocol that could have been exploited to remove the malware from victims' computer without executing any extra code. However, to do that, the plan required researchers to have control over the malware's C&C server, which was hosted with a hosting provider located in the Ile-de-France region in north-central France. Therefore, the researchers contacted the Cybercrime Fighting Center (C3N) of the French National Gendarmerie at the end of March this year, shared their findings, and proposed a secret plan to put an end to the RETADUP vir
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