Always-on CCTVs with no effective security harnessed into massive, unstoppable botnet

When security firm Sucuri investigated the source of a 50,000-request/second DDoS attack on a jewelry shop, they discovered to their surprise that the attacks originated on a botnet made of hacked 25,500+ CCTV cameras in 105 countries.

These Internet of Things cameras were typical of IoT devices in that they ran with next to no security and inadequate patching systems. What's more, since they were always on and designed to transmit data over the public internet, they were especially powerful members of the botnet.

Sucuri researchers queried a sampling of the boxes and found that all of them showed they were running what was called the "Cross Web Server" that had a default Web page titled "DVR Components." The researchers later found the malicious IPs contained the company logos of resellers of CCTV services and that all the devices were running BusyBox, a collection of Unix-based utility tools that run on embedded devices. To make it harder to block the attack, the malicious devices had been programmed to emulate normal browser behavior by displaying a variety of common user agents, such as those associated with the Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari browsers. The hacked devices also displayed "referrers" falsely showing they had most recently visited sites including Engadget, Google, and USA Today.

Large botnet of CCTV devices knock the snot out of jewelry website
[Dan Goodin/Ars Technica]

(Image: Different Types of Cctv Cameras, Tamasflex, CC-BY-SA)