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'InterPlanetary Storm' Botnet Now Targeting MAC and IoT Devices

First discovered in 2019, the InterPlanetary Storm malware has resurfaced with a new variant targeting Mac and Android along with Windows and Linux machines, as per the findings by researchers at IT security firm, Barracuda Networks.

The malware is known as ‘InterPlanetary Storm’ as it makes use of InterPlanetary File System (IFES) peer-to-peer (p2p) network - using a legitimate p2p network makes it difficult to identify the malicious traffic because it gets intermixed with legitimate traffic. The malware targets Windows machines and lets the attacker execute any arbitrary PowerShell code on the compromised systems.

“The malware detects the CPU architecture and running OS of its victims, and it can run on ARM-based machines, an architecture that is quite common with routers and other IoT devices,” the researchers noted.

The earlier versions of the Interplanetary Storm malware that surfaced in May 2019 compromised Windows-based devices, however, by June 2019; the botnet could also infect Linux machines. The new versions with add-on capabilities attempt to infect machines via a dictionary attack, it’s a form of brute force attack technique that involves breaking into a password-protected system by systematically guessing passwords. The most recent version detected in August is configured to infect Mac along with IoT devices like televisions running the Android OS, as per a report published on Thursday by Barracuda Networks.

In the report, Erez Turjeman, a researcher with Barracuda, says, "The malware detects the CPU architecture and running OS of its victims, and it can run on ARM-based machines, an architecture that is quite common with routers and other [internet of things] devices.” "The malware is called InterPlanetary Storm because it uses the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) p2p network and its underlying libp2p implementation," the report further notes.

"This allows infected nodes to communicate with each other directly or through other nodes (i.e., relays).”

The malware was found building a botnet that has infected approximately 13,000 devices in 84 different countries worldwide including the U.S., Brazil, Europe, and Canada. However, the majority of targets were based in Asia constituting a total of 64%. Infections found in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong amounted to a total of 59%. Russia and Ukraine constituted 8% to the total and United States and Canada did 5%. Rest, China and Sweden constituted 3% each.

Over 500 SSH Servers being Breached by FritzFrog P2P Botnet

Cyberspace has seen an unprecedented rise in modified versions of peer-to peer, also known as (P2P) threats, it might have appeared that these P2P services have been vanishing, but in reality, they have emerged even stronger in newer ways. BitTorrent and eMule are still known to be in use by attackers.

A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is an IT infrastructure in which two or more computers have agreed to share resources such as storage, bandwidth and processing power with one another. Besides file sharing, it also allows access to devices like printers without going through separate server software. A P2P network is not to be confused with client-server network that users have traditionally used in networking, here, the client does not contribute resources to the network.

Researchers at Guardicore have recently discovered a sophisticated peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet called as FritzFrog that has been actively operated since January 2020, breaching SSH servers; it’s a Golang-based modular malware that executes a worm malware written in Golang, it is multi-threaded, completely volatile, and fileless and leaves no trace on the infected system’s disk.

It has a decentralized infrastructure which distributes control among all its nodes. The network uses AES for symmetric encryption and the Diffie-Hellman protocol for key exchange in order to carry out P2P communication via an encrypted channel.

So far, more than 20 malware samples have been discovered by the researchers as FritzFrog attempted to brute force over 500 SSH servers belonging to educational institutions, governmental institutions, telecom organizations, banks, and medical centers worldwide. The campaign also targeted some well known high-education institutions in the United States and Europe, along with a railway firm.

Botnets are being leveraged by attackers for DDoS attacks and other malicious activities, as per the recent attack trend. Earlier in June this year, the Monzi malware was seen exploiting IoT devices, mainly DVRs and routers. Threat actors brought together various malware families namely Mirai, Gafgyt and IoT Reaper, to carry out a botnet capable of DDoS attacks, command or payload execution or data exfiltration.

“FritzFrog’s binary is an advanced piece of malware written in Golang. It operates completely in-memory; each node running the malware stores in its memory the whole database of targets and peers,” according to Guardicore’s report.

“FritzFrog takes advantage of the fact that many network security solutions enforce traffic only by the port and protocol. To overcome this stealth technique, process-based segmentation rules can easily prevent such threats.”

“Weak passwords are the immediate enabler of FritzFrog’s attacks. We recommend choosing strong passwords and using public key authentication, which is much safer. In addition, it is crucial to remove FritzFrog’s public key from the authorized_keys file, preventing the attackers from accessing the machine. Routers and IoT devices often expose SSH and are thus vulnerable to FritzFrog; consider changing their SSH port or completely disabling SSH access to them if the service is not in use.” The report further read.

THOR , New P2P Botnet in development and soon available for sale

 The development of new botnet THOR(a decentralized P2P botnet) is nearing completion and will soon be available for sale for $8000 on various underground hacking forums.  THOR is coded in C/C++ and developed by TheGrimReap3r.

THOR Works on Win 2000+, Win XP SP0/SP1/SP2/SP3, Win Vista SP0/SP1/SP2, Win 7 SP0/SP1  and Support x86 and x64 systems

"The botnet itself has no central command point, so it will be very difficult to shut down, also, very difficult to track where commands are coming from, because all the nodes pass them on. So there is no chance that it will be tracked down in the nearest future." Developer wrote in the HF.

THOS Uses DLL injection, IAT hooking, ring3 rootkit amongst other things to hide.It have it's own module system so you can write your own modules with our easy API system.  - Custom modules can be arranged on request for a fair price.

peer to peer communication uses 256-AES encryption with random key generation at each startup. 8192-bit RSA will be used for instruction signing(the NSA recommends 2048-bit).

The developer set the price as $8000 for the package without modules, module pricing have not been set yet due to that they are not completed. And the expected modules that you can buy will be, advanced botkiller, DDoS, formgrabber, keylogger/password stealer and mass mailer.