Feeds

Slapper Worm brought to heel

As variants appear

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Two fresh variants of the Slapper worm, which spreads through Linux machines by exploiting a well-known flaw in OpenSSL libraries, have been sighted this week.

Slapper.B (or Cinik) differs from the original worm in using port 1978, instead of port 2002, to control infect machines. The filename of the worm has been changed to "cinik.c".

The worm also has 'backup functionality', of sorts. If the worm is removed from the host, then it tries and download a copy of the worm from a page on a Romanian web site. Although this virus page has now been deleted, this hasn't spotted the worm spreading, modestly, across infected Linux servers.

Another variant of Slapper, Slapper.C (or Unlock), uses port 4156 instead of port 2002 in its infection routine. The filename used in this variant is "unlock.c".

Both variants, like the original, take advantage of the same vulnerability in Open SSL libraries, which dates back to last month, to infect Linux machines running Apache web server with OpenSSL enabled. This is a particular concern given the widespread use of this configuration in numerous ecommerce operations.

In addition, the worm contains code to create a peer-to-peer attack network, where infected machines can remotely be instructed to launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

Most potential targets have now been patched to prevent infection, as a result of which the damaging worm has now been brought under control. Linux admins who haven't done already are strongly advised to update to OpenSSL version 0.96d or older to guard their Apache servers against potential infection.

Infections due to Slapper thankfully ran at far lower rates to that caused by worms that infected Windows machines, such as Nimda, recorded last year.

In related news, reports that a 21-year old Ukrainian was arrested on suspicion of authoring the Slapper worm earlier this week have been discounted. ISS has retreated from its earlier reported assertions that an arrest had been made while AV experts gathered in New Orleans for this week's Virus Bulletin Conference are unable to confirm the arrest. ®

External Links

CERT advisory
OpenSSL security advisory

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.