Mirai botnet malware offspring graduates from uni, puts on a suit, slips into your enterprise

A descendant of the notorious Mirai Internet-of-Things botnet has apparently cast a wider net than its predecessors, potentially infecting systems normally found within enterprises.

Earlier this month, researchers at Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 discovered and documented a fresh strain of Echobot, a botnet malware based on the leaked Mirai source code, that targets flaws in business tools.

Specifically, this Echobot nastyware build tries to exploit, in addition to previously targeted vulnerabilities, CVE-2019-2725 in Oracle WebLogic Server and CVE-2018-6961 in VMware NSX SD-WAN to pressgang more machines into its web.

The Palo Alto team said the expanding exploit arsenal is indicative of an effort by crooks to commandeer more than just the usual home routers and webcams and digital video recorders, and so on. While the original Mirai famously preyed on default credentials in consumer gear, Echobot and similar variants are creeping into the enterprise space.

While hardly unexpected, the expansion of targets increases the threat posed by an IoT malware family. And Unit 42 is not alone in its findings, either. Akamai security ace Larry Cashdollar noted on Thursday that in addition to expanding outward in its range of targets, Echobot is also looking further back in time to dig up long-forgotten security flaws.

Cashdollar found that, beyond the Oracle and VMware exploits, several of the malware’s other “new” exploits are, in fact, for vulnerabilities that have been around for nearly a decade, but for one reason or another did not get addressed. These include vulnerabilities in well-known brands such as Linksys (CVE-2009-5157) and Ubiquiti (CVE-2010-5330).

“Some of the new exploits they’ve added are older and have remained unpatched by the vendor,” he explained. “It seems the updates to Echobot are targeting systems that have possibly remained in service, but whose vulnerabilities were forgotten.”

So basically, patch if you can, and if you can’t, remove that vulnerable device or installation from the internet or network before Echobot finds it. ®

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