For nearly a month, a new botnet has been slowly growing in the shadows, feasting on unsecured Apache Hadoop servers, and planting bots on vulnerable servers to be used for future DDoS attacks.
First spotted in honeypot data by a NewSky Security researcher while it was still in its infancy, the botnet has matured and expanded in the meantime.
While initially, the botnet consisted of a few command and control servers, in a threat alert sent out today by cyber-security firm Radware, the company says the botnet has now grown to number over 70 servers.
The role of these servers is to scan the internet for Hadoop installations that use a misconfigured YARN module.
YARN, which stands for Yet Another Resource Negotiator, is a core component of the Apache Hadoop data processing framework, often used in large enterprise networks or cloud computing environments.
Once the botnet finds a possible victim, the botnet, which Radware named DemonBot, attempts to take advantage of a YARN misconfiguration to install a “bot” process on the vulnerable Hadoop system.
Radware says DemonBot has grown tremendously in the past month, currently attempting over 1 million YARN exploits per day.
“Unfortunately, we have no count on actual bots [infected Hadoop servers],” Pascal Geenens, cybersecurity evangelist at Radware, told ZDNet in an interview. “Bots are not scanning and exploiting, so they do not generate noise [traffic] which we can detect and map out.”
But while the botnet’s total botnet count remains unknown, there’s also another major mystery that remains to be solved. Why does this botnet infect resource-rich servers like Hadoop with DDoS bots instead of deploying cryptocurrency-mining malware, which would, without a doubt, generate much more profits and far less legal problems than launching destructive and head-turning DDoS attacks.
All signs point to this botnet being the work of “skids,” a term used by cyber-security experts to describe malware authors who cobble botnets or malware strains using readily-available scripts, poor operational security, or without a long-term plan of what they want to achieve.
This is exactly what appears to have happened, according to NewSky Security’s Ankit Anubhav, who tweeted earlier this month that this botnet appears to have ties to creators of the Sora botnet, who were also responsible for creating multiple other botnets, such as Owari, Wicked, Omni, Anarchy, and others, all used for DDoS attacks as well.
As for how servers are getting infected, both Anubhav and Geenens have pointed the finger at the same issue –a misconfiguration in Hadoop’s YARN component that has been known for at least two years.
According to proof-of-concept code posted on ExploitDB and GitHub, attackers appear to access an internal YARN API that was left exposed to external connections. The exploit uses the API to deploy and run a custom YARN app inside a Hadoop server cluster –in DemonBot’s case, a DDoS-capable malware strain.
This exploit has been very popular in the past few months, being also used by the multi-functional Xbash malware over the summer.
“Some things are just not meant to be exposed on the internet,” Geenens told ZDNet.
It goes without saying that Hadoop server administrators should probably review YARN configs as soon as possible to make sure they’re not shooting themselves in the foot.
A link to Radware’s threat alert that contains technical details and IOCs will be added later in the day, after the alert becomes public. Thank you for understanding!
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Work from Home Security
Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that invents toys and games, produces dozens of television and studio series that are distributed in 160 countries, and creates a variety of digital games played by more than 30 million children. What was once a small private company founded by childhood friends is now a public global supply chain with over 1,500 employees and 28 offices around the world.
Like most organizations in 2020, Spin Master had to adapt quickly to the new normal of remote work, shifting most of its production from cubicles in regional and head offices to hundreds of employees working from home and other remote locations.
This dramatic shift created potential security risks, as most employees were no longer behind the firewall on the corporate network. Without the implementation of hardened endpoint security, the door would be open for bad actors to infiltrate the organization, acquire intellectual property, and ransom customer information. Additionally, the potential downtime caused by a security breach could harm the global supply chain. With that in mind, Spin Master created a self-imposed 30-day deadline to extend its network protection capabilities to the edge.
- Think Long Term: The initial goal of establishing a stop-gap work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) strategy has since morphed into a permanent strategy, requiring long-term solutions.
- Gather Skills: The real urgency posed by the global pandemic made forging partnerships with providers that could fill all the required skill sets a top priority.
- Build Momentum: The compressed timeline left no room for delay or error. The Board of Directors threw its support behind the implementation team and gave it broad budget authority to ensure rapid action, while providing active guidance to align strategy with action.
- Deliver Value: The team established two key requirements that the selected partner must deliver: implementation support and establishing an ongoing managed security operations center (SOC).
Key Criteria for Evaluating Privileged Access Management
Privileged Access Management (PAM) enables administrative access to critical IT systems while minimizing the chances of security compromises through monitoring, policy enforcement, and credential management.
A key operating principle of all PAM systems is the separation of user credentials for individual staff members from the system administration credentials they are permitted to use. PAM solutions store and manage all of the privileged credentials, providing system access without requiring users to remember, or even know, the privileged password. Of course, all staff have their own unique user ID and password that they use to complete everyday tasks such as accessing email and writing documents. Users who are permitted to handle system administration tasks that require privileged credentials log into the PAM solution, which provides and controls such access according to predefined security policies. These policies control who is allowed to use which privileged credentials when, where, and for what tasks. An organization’s policy may also require logging and recording of the actions undertaken with the privileged credentials.
Once implemented, PAM will improve your security posture in several ways. The first is by segregating day-to-day duties from duties that require elevated access, reducing the risk of accidental privileged actions. Secondly, automated password management reduces the possibility that credentials will be shared while also lowering the risk if credentials are accidentally exposed. Finally, extensive logging and activity recording in PAM solutions aids audits of critical system access for both preventative and forensic security.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure
Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:
- Ease of deployment
- Outstanding ROI
- Overall TCO improvement
Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.
Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:
- Improving overall performance for backups
- Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
- Replacing components difficult to manage and support
In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.
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