‫ 'Windigo' Linux bot hijacks servers to feast on PCs behind sysadmins' backs

ID: IRCNE2014032137
Date: 2013-03-19

According to "techworld", the curious ‘Cdorked’ Apache web server backdoor that alarmed admins a year ago was only one part of a larger 'Windigo' Linux-Unix botnet that has managed to hijack 26,000 Linux servers since 2011, security firm ESET has discovered.

The campaign analysed in some detail by ESET in conjunction with Sweden’s CERT-Bund and physics lab CERN is that of a compact but potentially very powerful botnet whose purposes include sending tens of millions of spam messages per day, stealing SSH credentials, serving drive-by malware and web redirection.

The number compromised Linux servers since it was discovered stood at 26,024, rising at a rate of 38 per day, with prominent victims including the Linux Foundation’s kernel.org site and a sizable number of hosting firms including cPanel. Although this sounds modest, because these are servers, every PC visiting them could be at risk, ESET said.

"Windigo has been gathering strength, largely unnoticed by the security community, for over two and a half years, and currently has 10,000 servers under its control," said ESET security researcher Marc-Étienne Léveillé.

"Over 35 million spam messages are being sent every day to innocent users' accounts, clogging up inboxes and putting computer systems at risk. Worse still, each day over half a million computers are put at risk of infection, as they visit websites that have been poisoned by web server malware planted by Operation Windigo redirecting to malicious exploit kits and advertisements."

Servers affected by Windigo included those running Apple OS X, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows (through Cygwin) and Linux, including Linux on the ARM architecture.

Anyone discovering an infection would have to wipe the affected system and re-install the OS. They should also consider using two-factor authentication in future.



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