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Friday, 24 August 2018 10:36

New wave of Mirai botnet surfaces, leveraging Linux to target IoT Featured

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A new wave of the Mirai botnet has been uncovered by Symantec, leveraging an open-source project that makes it more robust and compatible with multiple architectures and devices.

The Mirai botnet first surfaced in 2016, disrupting many of the world’s largest websites. Variants have been growing steadily, helped by an environment of poorly managed IoT devices, Symantec found, as well as by the release of the malware’s source code.

The new variants have been created by leveraging an open source project named Aboriginal Linux, with the effect of making the botnet more robust, and compatible with many diverse architectures and devices that range from routers, IP cameras, and other connected Internet of Things and Android-based devices.

Aboriginal Linux is no longer under active development, but had the goal of being the smallest Linux system capable of rebuilding itself under itself.

Malware must be able to run self-contained on a system, and when Symantec found the new variants they found the writers had exploited Aboriginal Linux’ cross-compilation facilities, making portability effortless. Aboriginal Linux, of course, has no involvement in malware and is an excellent open source project. It has simply been misappropriated by those with malicious intent.

Nevertheless, the end result is that a malicious person can be quite comfortable their botnet will execute and run on any targeted device, irrespective of its architecture.

Symantec has detailed the malware, which they label Linux.Mirai, and offers tips to protect your IoT devices from malware.

  • Research the capabilities and security features of your IoT devices.
  • Perform an audit of IoT devices on your network.
  • Change the default credentials on every device, using strong and unique passwords.
  • Use strong encryption for Wi-Fi.
  • Disable features and services which you do not require, including remote login.
  • Disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on routers unless you absolutely require it.
  • Regularly check for firmware updates. 

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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