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Mirai Botnet knocks Liberia offline

Step right up and get your malware – no skill required, prices start at $20!

By Cameron Abbott and Colette Légeret

It seems that the “service industry” has expanded into cyber-crime without us knowing about it as the Fortinet research team recently discovered. They came across malware-as-a-service schemes available on several Dark Web forums, with one designed as an easy-to-use point of entry for beginner Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attackers.

The DDoS kit disguises itself as a legitimate “booter” or “stresser” service and as it is relatively easy to set-up, almost anyone can go into the “DDoS a website for a fee” business. Some of the offerings are incredibly customisable. The research team found one such service that went operational on 17 October 2018 called “Ox-booter” which uses the Bushido botnet for its attacks. Bushido itself is relatively new, having only been identified in September 2018.

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Mirai Botnet knocks Liberia offline

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

After launching attacks on security expert Brian Krebs and the servers at Dyn, it appears as though the Mirai botnet has knocked the entire country of Liberia offline. Yes the country.  Given the paucity of protections on the Internet of Things with even weaker controls on adequate passwords, Mirai has a powerful base to co-opt and launch from.  That said a country is no mean achievement, albeit only with a population of 4.5 million and fewer than 10% of its citizens having internet access, the target was a small one. However, it is possible this attack is only the beginning for a new display of Mirai botnet’s capabilities. The attack peaked at a 500Gbps, a relatively modest figure when compared with the Dyn and Brian Krebs attacks.

Judging from the quick succession of recent attacks, we won’t be waiting long before we see another target of this highly effective botnet. Forbes has covered this in more detail here.

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