Feeds

DDoS bot infests food processing firms

Miscreants make mincemeat

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A new family of malware agents is attacking the websites of firms involved in the industrial food processing industry.

Variants of the Darkshell botnet agent, circulating in China, turn infected Windows machines into attack drones. Infected machines regularly phone in to command and control nodes for instructions, periodically receiving instructions on sites to inundate with junk traffic.

Arbor Networks, which has been tracking the activities of the cybercrime networks for the last three months, reports that Darkshell botnets have launched DDoS attacks against 97 unique victims, mostly in China (65) and the United States (23).

Victims have included online merchants of baby products and jewellery as well as video game related sites. However, a big percentage of targets narrowly focused on the websites of small manufacturers of industrial food processing equipment and machinery.

"We have logged attacks against at least 16 such victims emanating from the Darkshell botnets, comprising approximately 40 per cent of the victims that we sampled," Arbor security analyst Jeff Edwards reports.

"One can only speculate on the reasons for this aggressive focus on such a relatively tiny niche within the online landscape. Several such attacks have been sustained for over 60 hours at a time, and most of these equipment vendors have suffered multiple repeat attacks during this interval of time."

Even more curiously, the attacks seem to focus on three or four URLs on a targeted website that refer to specific products. "We have also observed instances in which multiple Darkshell botnets engaged in coordinated attacks against a single victim (again, vendors of industrial food processing equipment)," said Arbor.

Darkshell is not technically sophisticated, but it stands out from the rogue's gallery of botnet agents because of its particular (unusual) focus in attacking websites of industrial food processing firms, a sign of the increased diversification and specialisation of the underground economy.

Arbor doesn't speculate in its detailed write-up of the malware, but the most obvious explanation is that the dodgy sorts behind Darkshell are running a DDoS for hire operation for business rivals of the targeted firms. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.