Attackers hijack CCTV cameras and network-attached storage devices to launch DDoS attacks

Default and weak credentials on embedded devices can lead to powerful botnets

We've reached a point that security researchers have long warned is coming: insecure embedded devices connected to the Internet are routinely being hacked and used in attacks.

The latest example is a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack detected recently by security firm Imperva. It was a traditional HTTP flood aimed at overloading a resource on a cloud service, but the malicious requests came from surveillance cameras protecting businesses around the world instead of a typical computer botnet.

The attack peaked at 20,000 requests per second and originated from around 900 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras running embedded versions of Linux and the BusyBox toolkit, researchers from Imperva's Incapsula team said in a blog post Wednesday.

When analyzing one of the hijacked cameras that happened to be located in a store close to the team's office, the researchers found that it was infected with a variant of a known malware program designed for ARM versions of Linux that's known as Bashlite, Lightaidra or GayFgt.

While infecting computers with malware these days requires software exploits and social engineering, compromising the CCTV cameras that were used in this attack was very easy as they were all accessible over the Internet via Telnet or SSH with default or weak credentials.

Insecure out-of-the-box configurations are a common issue in the embedded device world and have been for a long time. In 2013, an anonymous researcher hijacked 420,000 Internet-accessible embedded devices that had default or no login passwords and used them in an experiment to map the whole Internet.

However, the problem is getting worse. The push by device manufacturers to connect things such as fridges or "smart" light bulbs to the Internet is largely done without consideration for security implications or an overhaul of outdated practices. As a result, the number of easily hackable embedded devices is growing fast.

Shortly after the CCTV camera-based attack was mitigated, a separate DDoS attack was detected that originated from a botnet of network-attached storage (NAS) devices, the Imperva researchers said. "And yes, you guessed it, those were also compromised by brute-force dictionary attacks."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?