New variants of Mirai botnet detected, targeting more IoT devices

By Sean Gallagher

New variants of Mirai botnet detected, targeting more IoT devices

Enlarge (credit: BeeBright/Getty Images)

Mirai, the “botnet” malware that was responsible for a string of massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2016—including one against the website of security reporter Brian Krebs—has gotten a number of recent updates. Now, developers using the widely distributed “open” source code of the original have added a raft of new devices to their potential bot armies by compiling the code for four more microprocessors commonly used in embedded systems.

Researchers at Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 security research unit have published details of new samples of the Mirai botnet discovered in late February. The new versions of the botnet malware targeted Altera Nios II, OpenRISC, Tensilica Xtensa, and Xilinx MicroBlaze processors. These processors are used on a wide range of embedded systems, including routers, networked sensors, base band radios for cellular communications and digital signal processors.

The new variants also include a modified encryption algorithm for botnet communications and a new version of the original Mirai TCP SYN denial-of-service attack. Based on the signature of the new attack option, Unit 42 researchers were able to trace activity of the variants back as far as November 2018.

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Posted on: April 9, 2019

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