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 //


08:05 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now

VPNFilter Malware Targets More Routers Than Originally Thought

In an update to its research into the VPNFilter botnet malware, Cisco Talos researchers increased the number of routers that were targeted.

The VPNFilter botnet malware, which security researchers discovered last month, targeted many more routers than originally thought, according to new analysis.

In a June 6 blog, researchers at Cisco Talos added several names to the list of home and small-business routers the malware targeted before being shut down by the FBI at the end of May. That list now includes devices from Asus, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, UPVEL and ZTE.

Originally, researchers and law enforcement found VPNFilter targeted different routers and other devices from Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link. Overall, about 500,000 devices in dozens of countries were suspected of being infected; that number is now likely to go much higher. (See FBI Knocks Out VPNFilter Malware That Infected 500K Routers.)

A full list of all the targeted routers and serial numbers for these devices can be found at the end of Talos' technical analysis of the VPNFilter malware.

A diagram of the VPNFilter botnet malware\r\n(Source: Cisco Talos)
A diagram of the VPNFilter botnet malware
\r\n(Source: Cisco Talos)

First discovered by the Secret Service of Ukraine, and then analyzed by Talos and Symantec, VPNFilter is a sophisticated piece of malware that attempted to create a malicious botnet network from routers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices used primarily by small businesses, as well as home consumers.

The malware is a three-stage attack and in order to dismantle it, FBI agents seized control of the domain that housed Stage 1 of the attack. Since then the agency, as well as the Justice Department, has urged anyone using one of the devices listed to reboot and restart their routers. (See FBI Urges Businesses & Consumers to Reboot Routers .)

The US government believes VPNFilter is the work of a Russian-backed group called Sofacy, also known as Fancy Bear or APT28.

In addition to the list of suspected routers, Talos offered some additional details about VPNFilter's structure.

Now entering its fifth year, the 2020 Vision Executive Summit is an exclusive meeting of global CSP executives focused on navigating the disruptive forces at work in telecom today. Join us in Lisbon on December 4-6 to meet with fellow experts as we define the future of next-gen communications and how to make it profitable.

Originally, researchers found a three-stage attack. The first stage reloads the malware after a reboot -- in a normal reboot, this would erase the infection -- making the malware particularly difficult to stop.

The second stage contains the main payload. Stage 3 consists of plugins that work with the second-stage payload. When the FBI seized the domains during its investigation, agents took control of the servers that were part of Stage 1, meaning the malware could not regenerate itself.

The new research found two additional plugins that are part of Stage 3.

The first, called "ssler," can inject malicious content into web traffic that passes through a network device, and then allows an attack to execute a man-in-the-middle attack. According to the blog post:

With this new finding, we can confirm that the threat goes beyond what the actor could do on the network device itself, and extends the threat into the networks that a compromised network device supports.

The second plugin is called "dstr." It offers a kill command that removes all traces of VPNFilter from a device, then renders that device unusable.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Concerns over supply chain vulnerabilities and attack visibility drove some significant changes in enterprise cybersecurity strategies over the past year. Dark Reading's 2021 Strategic Security Survey showed that many organizations are staying the course regarding the use of a mix of attack prevention and threat detection technologies and practices for dealing with cyber threats.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
Rasa X before 0.42.4 allows Directory Traversal during archive extraction. In the functionality that allows a user to load a trained model archive, an attacker has arbitrary write capability within specific directories via a crafted archive file.
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
SuiteCRM before 7.11.19 allows remote code execution via the system settings Log File Name setting. In certain circumstances involving admin account takeover, logger_file_name can refer to an attacker-controlled PHP file under the web root, because only the all-lowercase PHP file extensions were blo...
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
IBM Business Automation Workflow 18.0, 19.0, 20.0, and 21.0 is vulnerable to cross-site scripting. This vulnerability allows users to embed arbitrary JavaScript code in the Web UI thus altering the intended functionality potentially leading to credentials disclosure within a trusted session. IBM X...
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
eLabFTW is an open source electronic lab notebook manager for research teams. In versions of eLabFTW before 4.1.0, it allows attackers to bypass a brute-force protection mechanism by using many different forged PHPSESSID values in HTTP Cookie header. This issue has been addressed by implementing bru...
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-22
GJSON before 1.9.3 allows a ReDoS (regular expression denial of service) attack.