Linux worm diversifies to mine cryptocurrencies

Symantec has found 31,000 devices with variants of the worm, called Darlloz

A Linux worm that targets routers and set-top boxes is now looking for full-fledged computers to use its new feature, a cryptocurrency mining function, according to Symantec.

Symantec spotted the worm, which it calls Darlloz, in November. It was preloaded with usernames and passwords for routers and set-top boxes that run Linux on Intel's x86 chip architecture and other embedded device architectures such as PPC, MIPS and MIPSEL.

The latest variant of Darlloz, found by Symantec in mid-January, looks for computers running Intel's architecture, wrote Kaoru Hayashi, a senior development manager and threat analyst with Symantec in Japan.

This version of the worm installs "cpuminer," which is an open-source mining program, he wrote. It then begins mining for Mincoins or Dogecoins, two spinoff cryptocurrencies from Bitcoin.

Bitcoins can't be mined efficiently any more by personal computers, but Mincoins and Dogecoins can.

"The reason for this is [that] Mincoin and Dogecoin use the scrypt algorithm, which can still mine successfully on home PCs, whereas Bitcoin requires custom ASIC chips to be profitable," Hayashi wrote.

The attacker using this latest variant of Darlloz mined 42,438 Dogecoins, worth US$46, and 282 Mincoins, worth about $150, by the end of last month.

"These amounts are relatively low for the average cybercrime activity, so we expect the attacker to continue to evolve their threat for increased monetization," Hayashi wrote.

The new Darlloz comes preloaded with 13 login credential combinations, including some for IP cameras, he wrote.

Last month, Symantec scanned the entire address space of the Internet and found 31,716 devices infected with Darlloz in 139 regions, Hayashi wrote. Half of the infections were in China, the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan and India.

More than a third of those infections were on so-called "Internet of things" devices, such as IP cameras, printers, routers and set-top boxes.

The attackers appeared to capitalize on a vulnerability known as a backdoor in several router types, which can be exploited to remotely gain control of the router. But that also posed a threat to Darlloz, as another attacker could boot Darlloz from the system and install another kind of malicious software.

The Darlloz attackers had a solution. "They implemented a feature to block the access to the back door port by creating a new firewall rule on infected devices to ensure that no other attackers can get in through the same back door," Hayashi wrote.

The software on devices such as routers and IP cameras is often not patched as rigorously as other software, such as operating systems, which may give the Darlloz hackers an advantage.

Hayashi wrote that such devices should be patched regularly, have up-to-date firmware and have any default passwords changed. Also, connections to port 23 or port 80 should be blocked if they're not required.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags symantecsecuritymalware

More about Australian Securities & Investment CommissionIntelLinuxSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts