A new threat called HiddenWasp is different from other Linux malware in that it’s focused solely on achieving targeted remote control of infected hosts.
In its analysis of recent samples of this new malware, Intezer found that HiddenWasp’s infrastructure generally consists of three parts:
- A script responsible for downloading the malware onto a clean machine or for updating existing versions of the threat on an already infected host.
- A rootkit that appeared to use code borrowed from Mirai to hook into several functions.
- A Trojan containing apparent code connections to the Elknot implant that worked with the rootkit to remain operational.
Using this mutually beneficial relationship, the Trojan searches for Linux systems in the targeted network for the purpose of achieving remote control.
A Different Type of Linux-Based Malware
Targeted remote control isn’t the usual objective of Linux-based malware. As noted by Intezer, these types of digital threats usually pursue one of two other objectives. One of these goals involves launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against targeted systems. For instance, a security researcher who goes by the name unixfreaxjp recently discovered new malware called Linux/DDoSMan, which, at the time of discovery, functioned as a DDoS botnet client installer.
The other common end is mining for cryptocurrency. Not long after unixfreaxjp’s research, for example, Trend Micro observed that new samples of Bashlite, a malware known for enlisting vulnerable internet of things (IoT) devices into DDoS botnets, had added both cryptomining and backdoor-related capabilities.
How to Defend Against Threats Like HiddenWasp
Security professionals can help their organizations defend against threats like HiddenWasp by using artificial intelligence to spot digital attacks that might succeed in evading rule-based security measures. Additionally, organizations should use a unified endpoint management (UEM) tool to monitor their endpoints for suspicious activity that could be indicative of malware.