Attacks/Breaches
12/10/2010
12:49 PM
50%
50%

WikiLeaks Supporters Download Botnet Toolkit 50,000 Times

Security experts warn those considering joining the pro-WikiLeaks army that it's very easy to trace those who participate in the illegal denial of service attacks.

As part of Operation Payback, volunteers have stepping forward to help target anti-WikiLeaks organizations with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks run via botnet. One related toolkit has already been downloaded 50,000 times.

Typically, botnets employ surreptitiously compromised PCs to launch attacks aimed at stealing people's personal financial information. But in this case, botnets are being used to trigger the PCs of volunteers into flooding designated sites with packets, en masse. While Amazon.com has repulsed related DDoS attacks against it, the Web sites of MasterCard and the Swedish Prosecutor's Service have suffered outages.

The attack code, known as Low Orbit Ion Cannon, comes in three flavors: manual, server-controlled, and a JavaScript version -- known as JavaLoic -- that requires no download. According to Vanja Svajcer, principal virus researcher at SophosLabs, the application includes a "Hive Mind" feature that connects to an IRC channel for coordinating the attack. Interestingly, the application itself is open source, was written in C#, and is hosted on major open source code repositories, including Sourceforge.

"The main purpose of the tool, allegedly, is to conduct stress tests of the Web applications, so that the developers can see how a Web application behaves under a heavier load," said Svajcer. "Of course, a stress application, which could be classified as a legitimate tool, can also be used in a DDoS attack."

Numerous people have downloaded -- and are apparently using -- the software. By Thursday, "for the server-controlled version, there have been already 33,000 downloads at a rate of more than 1,000 downloads per hour," said Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy at Imperva. By Friday, the manual version of the malware had been downloaded 50,000 times.

Thinking of enlisting? "Stay well away," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. He said that laws in the United Kingdom punish such attacks with up to 10 years in prison, while Sweden and the United States have similar laws on the books.

To that list, add the Netherlands. On Thursday, Dutch police officers arrested a teenager in The Hague. They said he admitted to participating in pro-WikiLeaks attacks against the MasterCard and Visa Web sites.

As that suggests, attacks can be traced back. "Many people believe that privacy on the Internet can be somewhat protected, but beware, the source IP addresses of attackers, which will inevitably end up in the target's Web site log files, can easily be matched with user's accounts if ISPs decide to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies," said SophosLabs' Svajcer.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: " I think Google Doodle is getting a little out of control"
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.