Feeds

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

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

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that even if users notice vulnerable devices, no updates have been provided to some products by the vendor, because of outdated technology or hardware limitations, such as not having enough memory or a CPU that is too slow to support new versions of the software."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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
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?