Feeds

Weird PHP-poking Linux worm slithers into home routers, Internet of Things

Targets x86 but ARM, MIPS, PPC mutants lurking, we're told

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Symantec has stumbled across a worm that exploits various vulnerabilities in PHP to infect Intel x86-powered Linux devices. The security biz says the malware threatens to compromise home broadband routers and similar equipment.

However, home internet kit with x86 chips are few and far between – most network-connected embedded devices are powered by ARM or MIPS processors – so the threat seems almost non-existent.

But the security company claims that ARM and MIPS flavours of the Linux worm may be available, which could compromise broadband routers, TV set-top boxes, and similar gadgets now referred to as the "Internet of Things".

The software nasty attempts to use username and password pairs commonly used to log into home internet gear while compromising a device.

Specifically, the software nasty Linux.Darlloz takes advantage of web servers running PHP that can't grok query strings safely, allowing an attacker to execute arbitrary commands.

Once a system is infected, the worm scans the network for other systems running a web server and PHP. It then tries to compromise those devices by exploiting PHP to download and run an ELF x86 binary – if necessary, logging in with trivial username-password pairs such as admin-admin, as found in poorly secured broadband routers and similar kit. Once running on the newly infiltrated gadget, the worm kills off access to any telnet services running.

The malware does not appear to perform any malicious activity other than silently spreading itself and wiping a load of system files. Again, this software is built for x86 processors, which aren't really used widely in embedded kit, but ARM, PPC and MIPS versions may be available to download that will be more effective at targeting equipment present in millions of homes.

"Many users may not be aware that they are using vulnerable devices in their homes or offices," Symantec's Kaoru Hayashi wrote in a report about the malicious code.

"Another issue we could face is that even if users notice vulnerable devices, no updates have been provided to some products by the vendor, because of outdated technology or hardware limitations, such as not having enough memory or a CPU that is too slow to support new versions of the software."

To protect devices from attack, the company recommends users and administrators put basic security protections in place, such as changing device passwords from default settings, updating software and firmware on their devices, and monitoring network connections and architecture.

You can find more technical details here on Symantec's blog. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.