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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

2/16/2018
10:30 AM
Derek Manky
Derek Manky
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

Rise of the 'Hivenet': Botnets That Think for Themselves

These intelligent botnet clusters swarm compromised devices to identify and assault different attack vectors all at once.

Over the past few years, a new development has occurred: predictive software systems are being programmed using artificial intelligence techniques. The latest advances in these kinds of tools use swarm technology to leverage massive databases of expert knowledge comprised of billions of constantly updated bits of data in order to make accurate predictions.

Now the bad news: this technology has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals. Recent findings from Fortinet threat researchers reveal that intelligent botnets have repeatedly attacked the Apache Struts framework vulnerability responsible for the Equifax hack. Attackers use automation and intelligent decision trees to exploit proven vulnerabilities.

Worse, what bodes ill for the future is that botnets will evolve into hivenets, a type of attack that is able to leverage peer-based self-learning to target vulnerable systems with minimal supervision. Hivenets are intelligent clusters of compromised devices built around swarm technology to create more-effective attack vectors. Whereas traditional botnets wait for commands from the bot herder, hivenets are able to make decisions independently.

Hivenets will be able to use swarms of compromised devices to identify and assault different attack vectors all at once. As it identifies and compromises more devices, a hivenet would be able to grow exponentially, widening its ability to simultaneously attack multiple victims.

A Recurring Infection
Researchers have also discovered that many organizations experience the same botnet infection multiple times, though it is not entirely clear why this is the case; it could be either that the company did not thoroughly understand the scope of the breach and the botnet went dormant, only to return again after business operations went back to normal, or the company never found the root cause. This allows the botnet to return through the same vulnerability.

Security Best Practices
Organizations using cloud services for online transactions can reduce their risk of exposure to hivenets or botnets by following these basic practices:

  • Inventory authorized/unauthorized devices. This should include the cataloging of authorized and unauthorized assets within your environment, including consumer devices like cellphones and laptops. You have to know what you're protecting.
  • Limit user privileges: Not everyone needs administrator privileges.
  • Limit applications in your environment: Use only those with a business need, and keep those applications and systems up to date and fully patched. Using unnecessary applications expands the attack surface and increases the complexity of protecting the environment. Larger enterprises would do well to follow these recommendations, too.
  • Good cyber hygiene: In addition to remaining vigilant about new threats and vulnerabilities in the wild, make sure you don't lose sight of what's happening within your own environment. Network hygiene and device hygiene are perhaps the most neglected elements of security today. Continually removing unnecessary services, stamping out vulnerabilities, and maintaining good order isn't the most fun or sexy part of security, but it is a critically important part.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Asia returns to Singapore with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Derek Manky formulates security strategy with more than 15 years of cyber security experience behind him. His ultimate goal to make a positive impact in the global war on cybercrime. Manky provides thought leadership to industry, and has presented research and strategy ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-33033
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The Linux kernel before 5.11.14 has a use-after-free in cipso_v4_genopt in net/ipv4/cipso_ipv4.c because the CIPSO and CALIPSO refcounting for the DOI definitions is mishandled, aka CID-ad5d07f4a9cd. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2021-33034
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
In the Linux kernel before 5.12.4, net/bluetooth/hci_event.c has a use-after-free when destroying an hci_chan, aka CID-5c4c8c954409. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2019-25044
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The block subsystem in the Linux kernel before 5.2 has a use-after-free that can lead to arbitrary code execution in the kernel context and privilege escalation, aka CID-c3e2219216c9. This is related to blk_mq_free_rqs and blk_cleanup_queue.
CVE-2020-24119
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
A heap buffer overflow read was discovered in upx 4.0.0, because the check in p_lx_elf.cpp is not perfect.
CVE-2020-27833
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
A Zip Slip vulnerability was found in the oc binary in openshift-clients where an arbitrary file write is achieved by using a specially crafted raw container image (.tar file) which contains symbolic links. The vulnerability is limited to the command `oc image extract`. If a symbolic link is first c...