Security researchers observed Moobot and other botnets attempting to exploit a zero-day vulnerability in order to compromise fiber routers.

The Network Security Research Lab at 360 detected Moobot abusing the zero-day vulnerability beginning in late February 2020. The exploit involved two steps at the time of analysis. For it to work, digital attackers needed to leverage another vulnerability along with the zero-day flaw.

Not all threat actors who attempted to exploit the zero-day weakness realized the need for another security flaw. This fact became evident in mid-March when the Gafgyt malware tried using a Netlink GPON router remote command execution vulnerability PoC released by Exploit Database, which matched the vulnerability abused by Moobot a month earlier. Gafgyt conducted an internet-wide scan using the exploit, but because it did not leverage another vulnerability, the scan mostly failed.

The same thing happened when digital attackers attempted to spread the Fbot botnet using the flaw. Without the incorporation of another vulnerability, many of the exploit attempts failed.

A Look Back at Moobot’s Recent Activity

Security professionals with the Network Security Research Lab at 360 first came across Moobot back in September 2019. At that time, the team observed the malware using Mirai’s scanning technique to scour the internet for vulnerable devices. It was just a few months later when Network 360 reached out to the equipment manufacturer LILIN after observing multiple attack groups exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in its DVRs to spread Moobot and other botnets.

How to Defend Against Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Infosec personnel can help defend their organizations against zero-day vulnerabilities by checking for firmware updates that affect their routers. This process will likely involve registering their devices and signing up for email alerts. Companies should also consider deploying tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) for the purpose of detecting malicious behaviors, such as attempted exploitation of flaws that have yet to be publicly disclosed.

More from

Emotional Blowback: Dealing With Post-Incident Stress

Cyberattacks are on the rise as adversaries find new ways of creating chaos and increasing profits. Attacks evolve constantly and often involve real-world consequences. The growing criminal Software-as-a-Service enterprise puts ready-made tools in the hands of threat actors who can use them against the software supply chain and other critical systems. And then there's the threat of nation-state attacks, with major incidents reported every month and no sign of them slowing. Amidst these growing concerns, cybersecurity professionals continue to report…

RansomExx Upgrades to Rust

IBM Security X-Force Threat Researchers have discovered a new variant of the RansomExx ransomware that has been rewritten in the Rust programming language, joining a growing trend of ransomware developers switching to the language. Malware written in Rust often benefits from lower AV detection rates (compared to those written in more common languages) and this may have been the primary reason to use the language. For example, the sample analyzed in this report was not detected as malicious in the…

Why Operational Technology Security Cannot Be Avoided

Operational technology (OT) includes any hardware and software that directly monitors and controls industrial equipment and all its assets, processes and events to detect or initiate a change. Yet despite occupying a critical role in a large number of essential industries, OT security is also uniquely vulnerable to attack. From power grids to nuclear plants, attacks on OT systems have caused devastating work interruptions and physical damage in industries across the globe. In fact, cyberattacks with OT targets have substantially…

Resilient Companies Have a Disaster Recovery Plan

Historically, disaster recovery (DR) planning focused on protection against unlikely events such as fires, floods and natural disasters. Some companies mistakenly view DR as an insurance policy for which the likelihood of a claim is low. With the current financial and economic pressures, cutting or underfunding DR planning is a tempting prospect for many organizations. That impulse could be costly. Unfortunately, many companies have adopted newer technology delivery models without DR in mind, such as Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)…