IoT

Wicked Mirai Brings New Exploits to IoT Botnets

The latest variant of the venerable Mirai botnet malware combines approaches and brings new exploits to the world of IoT security challenges.

It's hard to keep a bad bot down. That's just one of the lessons that comes with Wicked Mirai, the latest variation on the Mirai Internet of Things botnet software. In the newest version, multiple payloads are available for delivery in a package that includes at least three new exploits that demonstrate how its developers are continuing to expand its reach.

Researchers at Fortinet recently found this new variation, which they dubbed Wicked Mirai, named for a string within the code that seems to point back to the hacker responsible for the new variant. In looking at the code, they found malware that scans multiple ports on network devices, using open ports to download copies of different payloads depending on which ports are available.

The researchers note that the attack module shows evolution from the original Mirai code. The original relied on brute force attacks, using a theme and variation on "guessing" as a tactic, while the new version relies on a variety of port-related vulnerability exploits, some new and some very old, to gain access to a device.

Once on a system, Wicked Mirai contacts a C&C server from which it downloads a payload. The payload seems to include something from the Sora, Owari, and Omni Mirai variant families — the specific download appears to have shifted between the three during the time that the researchers have been monitoring the server.

"The Mirai botnet variants we have grown accustomed to seeing are typically used as a 'land and expand' exploit kit," says Dean Weber, CTO of Mocana, explaining that the code would hit a system and then pivot to infecting other devices on the network rather than immediately download malware payloads.

Wicked looks for specific vulnerabilities on a platform that the botnet can exploit. The reason for this tactical evolution is simple. "The bottom line is that this allows the botnet controllers to have a faster compromise time, which in the end, allows for the botnet to come online faster," Weber says.

Wicked has also added IoT persistence to its toolkit, making the malware part of the IoT devices it infects beyond the occasional reboot seen in IoT networks. "The ability to achieve this level of persistence, combined with the ease of infection in the first place, is another example of why DDoS attacks continue to be on the rise," says Sean Newman, director of product management at Fortinet.

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Crowdsourced vs. Traditional Pen Testing
Alex Haynes, Chief Information Security Officer, CDL,  3/19/2019
BEC Scammer Pleads Guilty
Dark Reading Staff 3/20/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Well, at least it isn't Mobby Dick!
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
Organizations are responding to new threats with new processes for detecting and mitigating them. Here's a look at how the discipline of incident response is evolving.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-20165
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in OpenText Portal 7.4.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the vgnextoid parameter to a menuitem URI.
CVE-2019-1716
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 7800 Series and Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition or execute arbitrary code. The vulnerability ...
CVE-2019-1763
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authorization, access critical services, and cause a denial of service (DoS) condition. The vulnerability exist...
CVE-2019-1764
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack. The vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protections for the ...
CVE-2019-1765
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Software for Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to write arbitrary files to the filesystem. The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation and file-level permis...