Both versions of the Godlua backdoor are capable of performing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, according to a recent report.

In late April 2019, the Network Security Research Lab at 360 discovered the backdoor after detecting a suspicious Executable and Linkable Format (ELF) file. Other security firms had previously flagged the file as a mining-related Trojan, but Netlab 360 noted that it could not confirm whether the threat contained a cryptocurrency-mining module. Even so, it did verify that the malware was capable of performing DDoS functionality.

The researchers named the file Godlua because the Lua byte-code file loaded by this sample came with the magic number of “God.” Digging a little deeper, they found that there were two versions of the backdoor in circulation. They obtained the first version by traversing Godlua’s download servers, at which point the researchers determined that there was no update available for the variant. Meanwhile, the second version was active and receiving updates on a regular basis.

At the time of discovery, Netlab 360 had not deciphered the whole picture as to how Godlua infects a system. But it did find that the threat had infected some Linux systems by exploiting CVE-2019-3396.

A Longstanding Trend of Threats Involving Lua

Other threats have incorporated the Lua programming language in recent years. In 2014, for instance, Doctor Web detected Mac.BackDoor.iWorm for the first time. A detailed analysis by the Russian IT security solutions provider revealed that the malware was written in C++ and Lua, used encryption extensively and targeted OS X users.

Two years later, Symantec linked the activities of a digital espionage group known as Strider with the Flamer group based on their shared use of Lua modules.

Mitigate the Threat of the Godlua Backdoor

To help defend their organizations against the Godlua backdoor, security professionals should invest in a vulnerability management solution that integrates with security information and event management (SIEM) and other security tools to prioritize fixes for CVE-2019-3396 and other known vulnerabilities. Companies should also employ next-generation firewalls, anomaly detection and other methods to mitigate the threat of a DDoS attack.

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