Over 100 DDoS botnets built using Linux malware for embedded devices

Default and hard-coded credentials have led to the compromise of thousands of Internet-of-Things devices

LizardStresser, the DDoS malware for Linux systems written by the infamous Lizard Squad attacker group, was used over the past year to create over 100 botnets, some built almost exclusively from compromised Internet-of-Things devices.

LizardStresser has two components: A client that runs on hacked Linux-based machines and a server used by attackers to control the clients. It can launch several types of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, execute shell commands and propagate to other systems over the telnet protocol by trying default or hard-coded credentials.

The code for LizardStresser was published online in early 2015, giving less-skilled attackers an easy way to build new DDoS botnets of their own. The number of unique LizardStresser command-and-control servers has steadily increased since then, especially this year, reaching over 100 by June, according to researchers from DDoS mitigation provider Arbor Networks.

The DDoS bot is very versatile, with versions for the x86 CPU architecture as well as ARM and MIPS, which are commonly used on embedded device.

IoT devices are perfect for DDoS bots, because they run some familiar variant of Linux, have limited resources so they don't have malware detection or advanced security features and, when they're connected directly to the Internet, they're typically not subjected to bandwidth limitations or firewall filtering.

The reuse of software and hardware components is very common in the IoT world as it simplifies and lowers the cost of development. Because of this, default credentials that were used to initially manage one device may later make their way into entirely different classes of devices, the Arbor Networks researchers said in a blog post.

IoT botnets can be very powerful. Arbor Networks investigated two of them that were used to launch attacks against banks, telecommunications companies and government organizations from Brazil, as well as three gaming companies from the U.S.

One of the attacks peaked at over 400Gbps and 90 percent of the hosts from which  the malicious traffic originated responded over HTTP with a Web-based interface called NETSurveillance WEB.

"Doing some more research, the NETSurveillance WEB interface appears to be generic code used by a variety of Internet-accessible webcams," the Arbor Networks researchers said. "A default password for the root user is available online, and telnet is enabled by default."

This is not the first time that IoT botnets have been used to launch DDoS attacks. Researchers from Web security firm Sucuri just recently reported DDoS attacks launched from a botnet of over 25,000 CCTV cameras and digital video recorders.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?