Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT/Embedded Security //

Botnet

2/4/2019
07:00 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Beware of 'TheMoon' – Evolving Botnets

CenturyLink's labs have been tracking a shape-shifting IoT botnet that is a security professional's worst nightmare.

It's difficult for security professionals to communicate just how relentless their work is, especially when resurgent threats emerge. If you aren’t dealing with the "whack-a-mole" nature of the security landscape which has threats emerging in new and different forms, it may be easy to think that once a threat is dealt it that it will stay dealt with.

CenturyLink belies that view with a new report that it issued last week. CenturyLink Threat Research Labs has been tracking an IoT botnet called "TheMoon," which was first observed in 2014.

This botnet exploits target broadband modems or routers that were developed by companies like Linksys, ASUS, MikroTik and D-Link. The most recent exploit (which was added in May 2018) targets GPON routers. Most of the exploits will target vulnerabilities in IoT web applications which are usually running on port 8080.

Initially, the botnet was a DDoS implementer, but has not shown up in this role for a while.

What CenturyLink has found is that TheMoon has pivoted itself to be a proxy botnet that has a completely different threat model associated with itself than it previously did.

It enabled this new behavior with specific architecture changes. CenturyLink found that the main binary uses three different ports for command and control communication. The first is for initial registration when the binary starts executing, one is for command and control communication and the last will download additional payloads to run.

These ports vary between binaries and architecture types. For example, MIPS binaries use port 5784 for registration, 5184 for command and control and 4584 for downloading payloads while ARM binaries use ports 5732, 5132 and 4532, respectively.

The separation of function implied by the differing ports is what allows TheMoon to be rented out by others. CenturyLink found that a new, previously undisclosed module running on TheMoon would turn the device into a SOCKS5 proxy for others to use.

The proxy port was found by CenturyLink to be a randomly chosen port above 10,000 and was observed by them to change multiple times per day.

Observing the botnet traffic over time let CenturyLink determine that the botnet was involved in serving out embedded YouTube videos for fraud purposes. This was possible because the operators that were renting the bot left an exposed port which gave CenturyLink the log data from the servers.

They did notice that the geolocation field of the profile for a device making requests did not correspond with the geolocation of the proxy IP that was supposedly making the request.

CenturyLink thinks that this won't be the last incarnation of this kind of threat. In the report they say that, "There is also a substantial market for proxy botnets targeting broadband networks to route traffic for attacks like credential brute forcing and ad fraud. The always-on nature of IoT devices and the ability to masquerade as normal home users make broadband networks prime targets for these types of attacks."

An old threat mutates into a new threat, driven by the economics of the situation. Such is the security process. It's never finished, and must always be aware of change.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Browsers to Enforce Shorter Certificate Life Spans: What Businesses Should Know
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-17366
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
An issue was discovered in NLnet Labs Routinator 0.1.0 through 0.7.1. It allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions or to cause a denial of service on dependent routing systems by strategically withholding RPKI Route Origin Authorisation ".roa" files or X509 Certificate...
CVE-2020-9036
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Jeedom through 4.0.38 allows XSS.
CVE-2020-15127
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Contour ( Ingress controller for Kubernetes) before version 1.7.0, a bad actor can shut down all instances of Envoy, essentially killing the entire ingress data plane. GET requests to /shutdown on port 8090 of the Envoy pod initiate Envoy's shutdown procedure. The shutdown procedure includes flip...
CVE-2020-15132
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Sulu before versions 1.6.35, 2.0.10, and 2.1.1, when the "Forget password" feature on the login screen is used, Sulu asks the user for a username or email address. If the given string is not found, a response with a `400` error code is returned, along with a error message saying that th...
CVE-2020-7298
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Unexpected behavior violation in McAfee Total Protection (MTP) prior to 16.0.R26 allows local users to turn off real time scanning via a specially crafted object making a specific function call.