The Outlaw threat group is using a botnet to distribute a Monero cryptocurrency miner and a Perl-based backdoor component.

Trend Micro detected threat activity indicative of the Outlaw group when one of its honeypots picked up a URL that was spreading a botnet bundled with a Monero miner and a Perl-based backdoor component.

The threat actors gave themselves two distinct advantages by deciding to distribute a Perl-based backdoor. First, they imbued their campaigns with flexibility in that the backdoor can execute on both Linux- and Windows-based systems. Second, they made their malware easier to sell, as potential buyers wouldn’t need to heavily modify the backdoor while tailoring their individual attack campaigns.

In the samples they analyzed, Trend Micro researchers observed that the Perl-based backdoor was capable of launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Outlaw can use this functionality to monetize its botnet by offering DDoS-for-hire services. Additionally, the security firm saw that the URL arrived with an executable Secure Shell (SSH) backdoor.

A Look at the Outlaw Group’s Threat Activity

The Outlaw group has been ramping up its threat activity over the past few months after Trend Micro first came across the actor back in November 2018. At that time, the group compromised a server at a Japanese art institution as well as a Bangladeshi government site. It then linked these servers together to host an IRC bouncer and, in turn, function as the command-and-control (C&C) server for an emerging botnet made up of compromised internet of things (IoT) devices.

In December 2018, SwiftSafe found that the botnet consisted of 180,000 compromised hosts and 20,000 newly compromised hosts, including IoT devices and cloud virtual private servers (VPS).

How to Defend Against a Backdoor-Bundled Botnet

To fend off backdoor-bundled botnets, security teams should start by leveraging a layered security approach that blends file-based detection with machine learning and sandboxing technology. This strategy will also help defend against sophisticated threats such as fileless malware attacks. Organizations should also constantly monitor all networks and assets, including cloud-native applications.

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…