Menu
IoT botnet highlights the dangers of default passwords

IoT botnet highlights the dangers of default passwords

The Mirai botnet used IoT devices to launch a massive DDOS attack

A botnet responsible for a massive DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack was created thanks to weak default usernames and passwords found in internet-connected cameras and DVRs.

The Mirai botnet grabbed headlines last month for taking down the website of cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs with a huge DDOS attack. Unlike most botnets, which rely on infected PCs, this one used IoT devices to target its victims.

It turns out the botnet was specifically designed to scan the internet for poorly secured products like cameras and then access them through easily guessable passwords like "admin" or "12345." Last Friday, the botnet's maker released its source code, and security experts have noticed it's built to try a list of more than 60 combinations of user names and passwords.

Those combinations were enough to allow the botnet to spread to 380,000 devices, according to its maker, who posted the source code on HackForums.

Security experts are warning that more botnets like Mirai will appear unless the hardware industry can move away from default passwords.

"There has to be some kind of mandate to make these devices more secure or require a password change once installed", said Tim Matthews, a vice president at security firm Imperva.

Researchers have long been pointing out the problems with internet-connected appliances and how they're often built without security in mind. The Mirai botnet further highlights the problem, according to Matthews.

His company has been noticing an uptick in DDOS attacks coming from botnets that are powered by smart devices. These botnets work by infecting the products with malware and enslaving them under the hacker's control.     

"We've seen this trend building since mid last year," he said. A prime example of devices that are susceptible to infection is internet-connected security cameras, which are often installed by resellers but never updated.

"One mistake that the manufacturers make is that they allow remote access to these devices," he said. "In some cases, a single camera will have 15 different infections."

As for the Mirai botnet, it appears to have been relying on cameras from a Chinese company called Dahua and from DVRs from an unknown vendor, according to internet backbone provider Level 3 Communications, which has been monitoring the DDOS attacks. 

Dahua didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Krebs has posted a list of products possibly susceptible to the Mirai botnet, and it's quite long. He created the list by looking up the default usernames and passwords on Google and then matching them to products. 

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments