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Researchers identify new variant of IoT/Linux botnet

Anuradha Shukla | April 19, 2017
The Amnesia botnet targets an unpatched remote code execution vulnerability.


A new variant of the IoT/Linux botnet “Tsunami” has been identified by Unit 42 researchers, according to a blog post by Palo Alto Networks.

Co-authored by Claud Xiao, Cong Zheng and Yanhui Jia, the post names the new variant as Amnesia, a botnet that targets an unpatched remote code execution vulnerability.

This vulnerability was publicly disclosed over a year ago in March 2016 in DVR (digital video recorder) devices made by TVT Digital and branded by over 70 vendors across the globe.

This unpatched remote code execution vulnerability affects about 227,000 devices around the world especially Taiwan, the United States, Israel, Turkey, and India.

The researchers note that the Amnesia malware is the first Linux malware to adopt virtual machine evasion techniques to defeat malware analysis sandboxes. 


Virtual machine evasion techniques

Typically, these virtual machine evasion techniques are more commonly associated with Microsoft Windows and Google Android malware. 

Amnesia aims to detect whether it’s running in a VirtualBox, VMware or QEMU-based virtual machine.

Once these environments are detected, Amnesia will wipe the virtualized Linux system by deleting all the files in file system. 

Eventually the deletion will impact Linux malware analysis sandboxes and also some QEMU-based Linux servers on VPS or on public cloud. 

Although the Amnesia botnet hasn’t yet been used to mount large scale attacks, it has the potential to cause large-scale harm using IoT-based botnets.


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