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Mirai Malware Code Release Could Have Disastrous Consequences

On Sept. 22, 2016, an unprecedented event in the history of cyberattacks took place in one of the most unlikely, yet ironically appropriate venues – Krebs on Security.com. The event was a distributed denial-of-service attack, and one for the ages.

According to SC Magazine senior reporter Bradley Barth, the attack flaunted “a bandwidth between 620 and 665 Gbps – one of the largest such attacks in history.”

The good news is that Krebs was able to withstand the bombardment. The bad news, however, is that shortly after the failed attack, a web user known only as Anna senpai released the deadly Mirai malware source code that essentially acted as the blueprint for the assault.

A Terrifying Prospect Is at Hand

“The Mirai source code is a ticking time bomb.”

The Mirai source code is a ticking time bomb. Upon release of the Mirai source code, Brian Krebs relayed the information supplied by Anna senpai, noting that the mystery user has pulled as many as “380k bots from telnet alone.”

Specifically, Mirai malware makes it possible to enslave Internet of Things devices, and use them as ammunition for some of the most power DDoS attacks to date – and this is precisely what makes its release so extremely terrifying. According to SC Magazine contributor Robert Abel, experts argue that hackers, using the Mirai source code and its underlying methodologies, will more aggressively target IoT devices to create armies of botnets for tidal DDoS attacks.

To put this into perspective, Gartner estimated that the total number of active IoT devices in 2016 would exceed 6 billion. These devices, which include, but aren’t limited to, IP cameras, DVRs, home routers, baby monitors and smart TVs, will be used against their owners’ will to debilitate the bandwidth of a cybercriminal’s chosen DDoS target.

The Mirai source code puts connected household and business devices in peril.

How to Defend Against It

For starters, Krebs noted that device protection will play a huge role in preventing these types of attacks. Specifically, users can start simply by changing the default password on their devices. He also mentioned that all it takes is a system reboot to wipe away the Mirai malware; however, because of the malware’s constant scans, it can infect the rebooted device within minutes. Use a Reboot to Restore solution like Deep Freeze to protect your endpoints. Even if a malware infects the computer, you can erase it with a simple reboot. Protect your endpoints with an anti-virus solution like Faronics Antivirus so malware can be detected immediately upon reboot and prevent rapid infection of your networks. 

The release of the Mirai source code has the potential for devastating consequences, but it’s a problem that can more or less be permanently solved with better endpoint management.

Contact Faronics today to learn more.

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape changes our lives, and what we can expect in the future.