Hacked DVRs Surge To 400,000

By: Brian Karas, Published on Oct 19, 2016

The global internet is under attack from record breaking botnets. And it is getting worse, Mirai doubled in size in the last month.

Shamefully, the video surveillance industry is mostly to blame.

New Mirai Research

New research from Level 3 provides deeper insight into Mirai:

Prior to the Mirai source code release, we identified approximately 213,000 bots using this method. Since the code release, multiple new Mirai botnets have accumulated an additional 280,000 bots, bringing the count of Mirai bots to 493,000. The true number of actual bots may be higher based on an incomplete view of the infrastructure.

This would be bad enough, but the security industry, at the center of this growth, gets a black eye:

The majority of these bots are DVRs (>80percent)

And if you think these bots are outside of the US, in some country with unskilled installers leaving ports open you are wrong:

The highest fraction of devices used are located in the United States (29 percent)

Level 3 Overview

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Level 3 is a global network communications company, connecting the core of the internet, which also gives them an ability to observe and analyze internet traffic patterns. When botnets erupt, Level 3 inadvertently becomes becomes a pawn in their game, but they also get an ability to deconstruct how the botnet is propagating and being controlled.

The Problem Will Not Go Away On Its Own

Attackers have recognized that IoT devices, particularly DVRs, NVRs, security cameras, and related devices make ideal targets, in some cases the same device is exploited by multiple malware variants:

Of the hosts we are confident have been assimilated by the Mirai botnet, 24 percent of them overlap with bots known to be used in gafgyt attacks. Such a high overlap indicates that multiple malware families are targeting the same pool of vulnerable IoT devices.

Gafgyt is an earlier botnet that Mirai is suspected to be based on.

As long as these devices remain insecure and exploitable, there is every reason to believe they will continue to be taken over by botnet malware, and that the complexity of the malware will evolve, possibly to scan local networks for other exploitable devices that do not have inbound ports open, but can communicate outbound as attackers.

Botnet Scanners Do Not Discriminate

The Mirai botnet relies heavily on Dahua and XiongMai, but a similar botnet could be built on exploitable Axis cameras, or ADI/Tri-Ed cameras that have not been upgraded.

Test Your Network

An Nmap scan of your network can help identify open ports like telnet (port 23) or SSH (port 22) that typically are used by botnets for infection, and generally are not required for standard camera/recorder access. Our Nmap tutorial shows how to use Nmap and interpret the results.

Security Integrators Need To Take Action

Although security integrators may be able to justify ignoring Mirai, they are the best chance for stopping it from doubling in size yet again. Manufacturers are shipping exploitable products, and customers (especially those without dedicated IT departments) do not always understand the risks of connecting camera and recorders to the internet. This leaves the integrator stuck in the middle, as they often are, as the best resource to solve this problem and help save the reputation of the industry.

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