A Linux botnet is launching crippling DDoS attacks at more than 150Gbps

The XOR DDoS botnet can generate attacks more powerful than most businesses can withstand

A Linux botnet has grown so powerful that it can generate crippling distributed denial-of-service attacks at over 150 Gbps, many times greater than a typical company's infrastructure can withstand.

The malware behind the botnet is known as XOR DDoS and was first identified in September last year. Attackers install it on Linux systems, including embedded devices such as WiFi routers and network-attached storage devices, by guessing SSH (Secure Shell) login credentials using brute-force attacks.

The credentials are used to log into the vulnerable systems and execute shell commands that download and install the malicious program. To hide its presence, the malware also uses common rootkit techniques.

The security response team from Akamai Technologies has observed multiple recent attacks originating from the XOR DDoS botnet, ranging from a few gigabits per second to over 150.

The botnet is being used to attack over 20 targets a day, 90 percent of which are located in Asia. The most frequent targets have been companies from the online gaming sector, followed by educational institutions, the Akamai team said in an advisory that contains an analysis of the malware, indicators of compromise and detection rules.

XOR DDoS is one of several malware programs that target Linux systems, and reflects a wider trend of hijacking poorly configured Linux-based systems for use in DDoS attacks. Old and unmaintained routers are especially vulnerable to such attacks, as several incidents have shown over the past two years.

"A decade ago, Linux was seen as the more secure alternative to Windows environments, which suffered the lion’s share of attacks at the time, and companies increasingly adopted Linux as part of their security-hardening efforts," the Akamai team said. "As the number of Linux environments has grown, the potential opportunity and rewards for criminals has also grown. Attackers will continue to evolve their tactics and tools and security professionals should continue to harden their Linux based systems accordingly."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?