The notorious IoT(Internet of Things) botnet Mirai has seen a rapid rise in it’s global infection rate, malware researchers report. When the botnet first came out, nobody believed it will become this widespread, however after the hacker(s) creating it found no use of the botnet, they have dumped the malware online.
One particular hacker had the following message on deep web forums about this malware:
“When I first go in DDoS industry, I wasn’t planning on staying in it long. I made my money; there’re lots of eyes looking at IOT now, so it’s time to GTFO. So today, I have an amazing release for you. With Mirai, I usually pull max 380k bots from telnet alone. However, after the Kreb DDoS, ISPs been slowly shutting down and cleaning up their act. Today, max pull is about 300k bots, and dropping.”
Researchers at Intel MalwareTech (@malwaretechblog) have launched 400 sensors that constantly scan for Mirai real time infections and uploaded the live feed of it publicly. We have decided to let the host run for 5 minutes, and the results were shocking:
Mirai has managed to gather up to 100 infections in even less than five minutes. Since it’s open source code was released, this infection rate may only rise in the future. But this is not the biggest issue. The issue is that the Mirai virus’s purpose is to cause DDoS attacks and this is no joke. We have already seen a new rapid increase in the scale of DDoS attacks (up to 1TBps) oriented towards organizations. This is both a very lucrative opportunity for cyber-criminals and a very big issue for organizations who do not have relevant DDoS protection.
However, the release of Mirai may not be bad news after all. According to reports by Bryan (@Bry_Campbel) a malware researcher, Mirai targets weak credentials:
Such weak credentials can later be used to see what is the strength of passwords the virus tries to hack and react properly by using much stronger passwords. And this may not only help ISPs to “clean up their act” but it may also assist organization administrators to change crucial credentials and apply relevant DDoS protection against Mirai for the moment.
What This Means About The Future of IoT
The appearing and success of the Mirai botnet is a strong argument supporting the theory that IoT cyber-attacks are increasingly becoming a very real threat and the latest trend in malware infections. If one open-source botnet that is available to anyone can cause so many infections, we must think about the security of IoT if it is to be massively implemented in the future. Because there will soon be other IoT devices that will be released for the masses and there is other malware for IoT devices, besides DDoS botnets as well.