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Key Points:

  • A massive Botnet is forming to create a cyber-storm that could take down the internet.
  • An estimated million organizations have already been scanned with an unknown amount actually infected.
  • The Botnet is recruiting IoT devices such as IP Wireless Cameras to carry out the attack.

New cyber-storm clouds are gathering. Check Point Researchers have discovered a brand new Botnet, dubbed ‘IoTroop’, evolving and recruiting IoT devices at a far greater pace and with more potential damage than the Mirai botnet of 2016.

IoT Botnets are Internet connected smart devices which have been infected by the same malware and are controlled by a threat actor from a remote location. They have been behind some of the most damaging cyberattacks against organizations worldwide, including hospitals, national transport links, communication companies and political movements.

While some technical aspects lead us to suspect a possible connection to Mirai, this is an entirely new and far more sophisticated campaign that is rapidly spreading worldwide. It is too early to guess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but with previous Botnet DDoS attacks essentially taking down the Internet, it is vital that organizations make proper preparations and defense mechanisms are put in place before an attack strikes.

Ominous signs were first picked up via Check Point’s Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) in the last few days of September. An increasing number of attempts were being made by hackers to exploit a combination of vulnerabilities found in various IoT devices.

With each passing day the malware was evolving to exploit an increasing number of vulnerabilities in Wireless IP Camera devices such as GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, AVTECH, NETGEAR, MikroTik, Linksys, Synology and others. It soon became apparent that the attempted attacks were coming from many different sources and a variety of IoT devices, meaning the attack was being spread by the IoT devices themselves.IoT Botnet Trend of Attacking IP Addresses

So far we estimate over a million organizations have already been scanned worldwide, including the US, Australia and everywhere in between, and the number is only increasing.

Our research suggests we are now experiencing the calm before an even more powerful storm. The next cyber hurricane is about to come.

Research Background

Creating networks of infected devices is not a quick task for an attacker. In order to establish an effective Botnet, the attacker needs to be able to control a vast number of devices. As sending the malicious code to each device individually would be a large and time consuming task, it is much easier to have each infected device spreading the malicious code to other similar devices themselves. This method of attack is considered a propagation attack, and is essential in quickly creating a large network of controlled devices.

Our research began at the end of September ‘17 after noticing an increase in attempts to penetrate our IoT IPS protections. Following this suspicious activity, we soon realized we were witnessing the recruitment stages of a vast IoT Botnet.

Analyzing A Node In The Chain

With the Check Point Global Threat Map showing a large number of hits on our IoT IPS protections, our team started to look into some of the attack sources in order to get a better picture of what was going on. Below is an analysis of one of these devices.

GoAhead Map

From looking at this site, we can gather that this specific IP (blurred above) belongs to a GoAhead camera with an open Port 81 running over TCP. This is just one example of an infected device type. There are many others – e.g. D-Link, NETGEAR and TP-Link devices to name a few.

On further inspection, the System.ini file (shown below) of the device at this IP was accessed to check for compromise. On a normal machine, this file would contain the credentials of the user. What was found on this device, however, was an edited version with a ‘Netcat’ command which opened a reverse shell to the attack’s IP. This tells us that this machine was merely one link in the chain and that it was both infected and then also transmitting the infection. In this case the ‘CVE-2017-8225’ vulnerability was used to penetrate the GoAhead device and, after infecting a target machine, that same target started to look for other devices to infect.

Infected Targets

Upon further research, it was found that numerous devices were both being targeted and later sending out the infection. These attacks were coming from many different types of devices and many different countries, totaling approximately 60% of the corporate networks which are part of the ThreatCloud global network.

ThreatCloud Global Network

To conclude, in the last few days a new botnet has been evolving. While some technical aspects lead us to suspect a possible connection to the Mirai botnet, this is an entirely new campaign rapidly spreading throughout the globe. It is too early to assess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but it is vital to have the proper preparations and defense mechanisms in place before an attack strikes.

IPS Coverage

While this may be an emerging threat of millions of attacks being conducted, the methods of infection are already being prevented by Check Point IPS. The vulnerability listed has been covered, and devices are currently being monitored for new variants. The table below outlines the IoT protections released by IPS that are related and potentially related to this attack.

Vendor Protection Name Seen in the Context of the current Attack?
GoAhead Wireless IP Camera (P2P) WIFICAM Cameras Information Disclosure +
Wireless IP Camera (P2P) WIFICAM Cameras Remote Code Execution +
D-Link D-Link 850L Router Remote Code Execution +
D-Link DIR800 Series Router Remote Code Execution +
D-Link DIR800 Series Router Information Disclosure +
D-Link 850L Router Remote Unauthenticated Information Disclosure +
D-Link 850L Router Cookie Overflow Remote Code Execution +
Dlink IP Camera Video Stream Authentication Bypass – Ver2 +
Dlink IP Camera Luminance Information Disclosure – Ver2

D-Link DIR-600/300 Router Unauthenticated Remote Command Execution

+

+

Dlink IP Camera Authenticated Arbitrary Command Execution – Ver2
TP-Link TP-Link Wireless Lite N Access Point Directory Traversal
TP-LINK WR1043N Multiple Cross-Site Request Forgery
Netgear DGN Unauthenticated Command Execution

Netgear ReadyNAS Remote Command Execution

+

+

NETGEAR Netgear DGN2200 dnslookup.cgi Command Injection
Netgear ProSAFE NMS300 fileUpload.do Arbitrary File Upload
NETGEAR Routers Authentication Bypass
NETGEAR ReadyNAS np_handler Code Execution
Netgear R7000 and R6400 cgi-bin Command Injection
AVTECH AVTECH Devices Multiple Vulnerabilities +
MikroTik MikroTik RouterOS SNMP Security Bypass
MikroTik RouterOS Admin Password Change
Mikrotik Router Remote Denial Of Service
Linksys Belkin Linksys WRT110 Remote Command Execution – Ver2
Linksys WRH54G HTTP Management Interface DoS Code Execution – Ver2
Belkin Linksys WRT110 Remote Command Execution
Belkin Linksys Multiple Products Directory Traversal
Belkin Linksys E1500/E2500 Remote Command Execution +
Cisco Linksys PlayerPT ActiveX Control Buffer Overflow
Cisco Linksys PlayerPT ActiveX Control SetSource sURL Argument Buffer Overflow
Synology Synology DiskStation Manager SLICEUPLOAD Code Execution
Linux Linux System Files Information Disclosure +