Security researchers observed an attack campaign that is targeting Linux servers to install samples of SpeakUp, a new backdoor Trojan.

According to Check Point Research, the campaign is currently targeting servers in East Asia and Latin America. The attack begins with the exploitation of CVE-2018-20062, a reported vulnerability affecting ThinkPHP. The campaign then uses command injection techniques to upload a PHP shell, which is responsible for delivering and executing the SpeakUp Trojan as a Perl backdoor.

Upon execution, SpeakUp continuously communicates with its command and control (C&C) server to receive a variety of instructions. It can use the newtask command to execute arbitrary code or execute a file from a remote server, for example. This ability enables SpeakUp to deliver additional backdoors, each of which comes equipped with a Python script designed to scan and infect more Linux servers within its internal and external subnets.

Furthermore, the Trojan can leverage the newconfig command to update the configuration file for XMRig, a cryptocurrency miner that it serves to listening infected servers.

Linux Servers Under Attack

SpeakUp isn’t the only malware targeting Linux servers. On the contrary, these IT assets are under attack from a range of malicious software.

In December 2018, Slovakian security firm ESET identified 21 Linux malware families that serve as OpenSSH backdoors. Around the same time, Anomali Labs unveiled its discovery of Linux Rabbit and Rabbot, two malware families served by a campaign targeting Linux servers in Russia, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. that are both capable of installing crypto-miners.

Also in December, Bleeping Computer learned of a new campaign that had leveraged unsecured Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) cards to infect Linux servers with JungleSec ransomware.

How to Defend Against the SpeakUp Trojan

Security professionals can help defend against malware like SpeakUp by utilizing a unified endpoint management (UEM) tool to monitor assets such as Linux servers for malicious activity. Experts also recommend practicing timely patch management to defend endpoints against cryptocurrency miners, and investing in education and role-based training to help cultivate a security-aware workforce.

More from

The Evolution of Antivirus Software to Face Modern Threats

Over the years, endpoint security has evolved from primitive antivirus software to more sophisticated next-generation platforms employing advanced technology and better endpoint detection and response.  Because of the increased threat that modern cyberattacks pose, experts are exploring more elegant ways of keeping data safe from threats.Signature-Based Antivirus SoftwareSignature-based detection is the use of footprints to identify malware. All programs, applications, software and files have a digital footprint. Buried within their code, these digital footprints or signatures are unique to the respective…

How Do Threat Hunters Keep Organizations Safe?

Neil Wyler started his job amid an ongoing cyberattack. As a threat hunter, he helped his client discover that millions of records had been stolen over four months. Even though his client used sophisticated tools, its threat-hunting technology did not detect the attack because the transactions looked normal. But with Wyler’s expertise, he was able to realize that data was leaving the environment as well as entering the system. His efforts saved the company from suffering even more damage and…

The White House on Quantum Encryption and IoT Labels

A recent White House Fact Sheet outlined the current and future U.S. cybersecurity priorities. While most of the topics covered were in line with expectations, others drew more attention. The emphasis on critical infrastructure protection is clearly a top national priority. However, the plan is to create a labeling system for IoT devices, identifying the ones with the highest cybersecurity standards. Few expected that news. The topic of quantum-resistant encryption reveals that such concerns may become a reality sooner than…

Contain Breaches and Gain Visibility With Microsegmentation

Organizations must grapple with challenges from various market forces. Digital transformation, cloud adoption, hybrid work environments and geopolitical and economic challenges all have a part to play. These forces have especially manifested in more significant security threats to expanding IT attack surfaces. Breach containment is essential, and zero trust security principles can be applied to curtail attacks across IT environments, minimizing business disruption proactively. Microsegmentation has emerged as a viable solution through its continuous visualization of workload and device communications…