Researchers at Netlab 360 have discovered a botnet which they have dubbed the “Reaper.” A botnet is multiple internet-connected devices controlled and repurposed by hackers to carry out hacking attacks. Checkpoint, a security firm, has claimed that the “Reaper” has infected and exploited almost a million internet-connected webcams, security cameras and digital video recorders; however the actual number may be difficult to determine. This form of malware strikes by spreading to other vulnerable devices, acting like a worm.
The “Reaper” thought to be one of the biggest botnets and computers are unable to defend from it. It appears to be growing at a faster pace than its predecessor “Mirai” which was used in a massive cyber attack last summer, attacking internet infrastructure websites and taking down many popular websites and networks such as the Playstation Network.
The Reaper’s malicious code is very effective on the majority of internet-connected devices used for everyday activities. It exploits known device-based vulnerabilities silently and injects its code to effectively take control of the vulnerable device without setting off any device security flags. D-Link, Netgear, AVTech products and other device makers were targeted and infected.
It is currently unknown of what the botnet will be used for but the “Reaper” botnet is a dangerous threat due to the amount of devices that have been targeted in its current lifetime, its effective ways to hijack devices and control them without setting off any device security flags, and the speed of its growth. We as technology users should be aware about this new security threat since many electrical devices cannot defend from it.