‫ Criminals hack 300,000 home routers as part of mystery 'pharming' attack

ID: IRCNE2014032122
Date: 2013-03-08
 

According to "techworld", criminals have quietly compromised 300,000 consumer and small office routers as part of a newly-discovered global DNS redirection campaign, independent US research outfit Team Cymru has discovered.

Uncovered in January but dating back to at least December, the ‘pharming’ attack redirects DNS queries via new IP addresses, in effect setting up a silent man-in-the-middle that gives the criminals complete control over which sites the user can visit.

According to Team Cymru, a wide range of routers appear to be vulnerable (depending on the firmware used), including D-Link, TP-Link, Micronet and Tenda. The overwhelming majority of hijacked routers appear to be in Vietnam but smaller numbers were also detected in Italy, Thailand, Colombia, the Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

Given that routers did not appear to be using default passwords, how the attackers gained control is a worry. The routers in question all had documented security weaknesses, including authentication bypass and deadly Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) exploits.

Team Cymru noted the similarities in modus operandi to another recent router DNS redirection online bank hijack (publicised by the Polish Computer Emergency Response Team) last month. That was designed to attack online bank website sessions, probably the purpose of the new attack.

The latest revelation is more evidence that criminals are turning their attention to home and SME routers as a new soft target. Unlike attacks on PCs, they are considerably harder to detect and users would be unlikely to notice DNS redirection until it was too late.



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