Windows, Linux, BSD, Cisco
Phone : 678-292-3086
Email : mail at amieltech.com
pk (cell/tablet): 70adde25964610fd
pk (offline): FAB2AEDD5E7F3F71
Original release date: December 01, 2016 | Last revised: December 14, 2016
“Avalanche” refers to a large global network hosting infrastructure used by cyber criminals to conduct phishing and malware distribution campaigns and money mule schemes. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is releasing this Technical Alert to provide further information about Avalanche.
Cyber criminals utilized Avalanche botnet infrastructure to host and distribute a variety of malware variants to victims, including the targeting of over 40 major financial institutions. Victims may have had their sensitive personal information stolen (e.g., user account credentials). Victims’ compromised systems may also have been used to conduct other malicious activity, such as launching denial-of-service (DoS) attacks or distributing malware variants to other victims’ computers.
In addition, Avalanche infrastructure was used to run money mule schemes where criminals recruited people to commit fraud involving transporting and laundering stolen money or merchandise.
Avalanche used fast-flux DNS, a technique to hide the criminal servers, behind a constantly changing network of compromised systems acting as proxies.
The following malware families were hosted on the infrastructure:
- Windows-encryption Trojan horse (WVT) (aka Matsnu, Injector,Rannoh,Ransomlock.P)
- URLzone (aka Bebloh)
- VM-ZeuS (aka KINS)
- Bugat (aka Feodo, Geodo, Cridex, Dridex, Emotet)
- newGOZ (aka GameOverZeuS)
- Tinba (aka TinyBanker)
- Vawtrak (aka Neverquest)
- Smart App
- iBanking Trusteer App Trojan
Avalanche was also used as a fast flux botnet which provides communication infrastructure for other botnets, including the following:
- QakBot (aka Qbot, PinkSlip Bot)
A system infected with Avalanche-associated malware may be subject to malicious activity including the theft of user credentials and other sensitive data, such as banking and credit card information. Some of the malware had the capability to encrypt user files and demand a ransom be paid by the victim to regain access to those files. In addition, the malware may have allowed criminals unauthorized remote access to the infected computer. Infected systems could have been used to conduct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Users are advised to take the following actions to remediate malware infections associated with Avalanche:
- Use and maintain anti-virus software – Anti-virus software recognizes and protects your computer against most known viruses. Even though parts of Avalanche are designed to evade detection, security companies are continuously updating their software to counter these advanced threats. Therefore, it is important to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. If you suspect you may be a victim of an Avalanche malware, update your anti-virus software definitions and run a full-system scan. (See Understanding Anti-Virus Software for more information.)
- Avoid clicking links in email – Attackers have become very skilled at making phishing emails look legitimate. Users should ensure the link is legitimate by typing the link into a new browser (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information).
- Change your passwords – Your original passwords may have been compromised during the infection, so you should change them. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information.)
- Keep your operating system and application software up-to-date – Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. You should enable automatic updates of the operating system if this option is available. (See Understanding Patches for more information.)
- Use anti-malware tools – Using a legitimate program that identifies and removes malware can help eliminate an infection. Users can consider employing a remediation tool. A non-exhaustive list of examples is provided below. The U.S. Government does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.
ESET Online Scanner
Microsoft Safety Scanner
Norton Power Eraser
Trend Micro HouseCall
- December 1, 2016: Initial release
- December 2, 2016: Added TrendMicro Scanner
Original release date: October 14, 2016 | Last revised: November 30, 2016
Internet of Things (IoT)—an emerging network of devices (e.g., printers, routers, video cameras, smart TVs) that connect to one another via the Internet, often automatically sending and receiving data
Recently, IoT devices have been used to create large-scale botnets—networks of devices infected with self-propagating malware—that can execute crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. IoT devices are particularly susceptible to malware, so protecting these devices and connected hardware is critical to protect systems and networks.
On September 20, 2016, Brian Krebs’ security blog (krebsonsecurity.com) was targeted by a massive DDoS attack, one of the largest on record, exceeding 620 gigabits per second (Gbps).[1 (link is external)] An IoT botnet powered by Mirai malware created the DDoS attack. The Mirai malware continuously scans the Internet for vulnerable IoT devices, which are then infected and used in botnet attacks. The Mirai bot uses a short list of 62 common default usernames and passwords to scan for vulnerable devices. Because many IoT devices are unsecured or weakly secured, this short dictionary allows the bot to access hundreds of thousands of devices.[2 (link is external)] The purported Mirai author claimed that over 380,000 IoT devices were enslaved by the Mirai malware in the attack on Krebs’ website.[3 (link is external)]
In late September, a separate Mirai attack on French webhost OVH broke the record for largest recorded DDoS attack. That DDoS was at least 1.1 terabits per second (Tbps), and may have been as large as 1.5 Tbps.[4 (link is external)]
The IoT devices affected in the latest Mirai incidents were primarily home routers, network-enabled cameras, and digital video recorders.[5 (link is external)] Mirai malware source code was published online at the end of September, opening the door to more widespread use of the code to create other DDoS attacks.
In early October, Krebs on Security reported on a separate malware family responsible for other IoT botnet attacks.[6 (link is external)] This other malware, whose source code is not yet public, is named Bashlite. This malware also infects systems through default usernames and passwords. Level 3 Communications, a security firm, indicated that the Bashlite botnet may have about one million enslaved IoT devices.[7 (link is external)]
With the release of the Mirai source code on the Internet, there are increased risks of more botnets being generated. Both Mirai and Bashlite can exploit the numerous IoT devices that still use default passwords and are easily compromised. Such botnet attacks could severely disrupt an organization’s communications or cause significant financial harm.
Software that is not designed to be secure contains vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Software-connected devices collect data and credentials that could then be sent to an adversary’s collection point in a back-end application.
In late November 2016, a new Mirai-derived malware attack actively scanned TCP port 7547 on broadband routers susceptible to a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) vulnerability. [8 (link is external)] Affected routers use protocols that leave port 7547 open, which allows for exploitation of the router. These devices can then be remotely used in DDoS attacks. [9, 10 (links are external)]
Cybersecurity professionals should harden networks against the possibility of a DDoS attack. For more information on DDoS attacks, please refer to US-CERT Security Publication DDoS Quick Guide and the US-CERT Alert on UDP-Based Amplification Attacks.
In order to remove the Mirai malware from an infected IoT device, users and administrators should take the following actions:
- Disconnect device from the network.
- While disconnected from the network and Internet, perform a reboot. Because Mirai malware exists in dynamic memory, rebooting the device clears the malware [11 (link is external)].
- Ensure that the password for accessing the device has been changed from the default password to a strong password. See US-CERT Tip Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information.
- You should reconnect to the network only after rebooting and changing the password. If you reconnect before changing the password, the device could be quickly reinfected with the Mirai malware.
In order to prevent a malware infection on an IoT device, users and administrators should take following precautions:
- Ensure all default passwords are changed to strong passwords. Default usernames and passwords for most devices can easily be found on the Internet, making devices with default passwords extremely vulnerable.
- Update IoT devices with security patches as soon as patches become available.
- Disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on routers unless absolutely necessary.[12 (link is external)]
- Purchase IoT devices from companies with a reputation for providing secure devices.
- Consumers should be aware of the capabilities of the devices and appliances installed in their homes and businesses. If a device comes with a default password or an open Wi-Fi connection, consumers should change the password and only allow it to operate on a home network with a secured Wi-Fi router.
- Understand the capabilities of any medical devices intended for at-home use. If the device transmits data or can be operated remotely, it has the potential to be infected.
- Monitor Internet Protocol (IP) port 2323/TCP and port 23/TCP for attempts to gain unauthorized control over IoT devices using the network terminal (Telnet) protocol.[13 (link is external)]
- Look for suspicious traffic on port 48101. Infected devices often attempt to spread malware by using port 48101 to send results to the threat actor.
-  KrebsOnSecurity: KrebsOnSecurity Hit With Record DDoS
-  Sophos: Mirai “internet of things” malware from Krebs DDoS attack goes open source
-  PCWorld: Smart device malware behind record DDoS attack is now available to all hackers
-  ArsTechnica: Record-breaking DDoS reportedly delivered by >145k hacked cameras
-  InformationWeek DarkReading: IoT DDoS Attack Code Released
-  KrebsOnSecurity: Source Code for IoT Botnet "Mirai" Released
-  Level 3 Threat Research Labs: Attack of Things!
-  SANS ISC InfoSec Forums: Port 7547 SOAP Remote Code Execution Attack Against DSL Modems
-  ArsTechnica: Newly Discovered Router Flaw Being Hammered by In-The-Wild Attacks
-  Network Security Research Lab: A Few Observations of The New Mirai Variant on Port 7547
-  ICS-CERT: Sierra Wireless Mitigations Against Mirai Malware
-  Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Service Announcement: Internet of Things Poses Opportunities for Cyber Crime
-  SANS ISC InfoSec Forums: What is happening on 2323/TCP?
- October 14, 2016: Initial release
- October 17, 2016: Added ICS-CERT reference 
- November 30, 2016: Added SOAP vulnerability references , ,