As Cisco Talos researchers shared in a report published today, FreakOut’s developers have been hard at work improving the malware’s spreading capabilities since early May, when the botnet’s activity has suddenly increased. “Although the bot was originally discovered earlier this year, the latest activity shows numerous changes to the bot, ranging from different command and control (C2) communications and the addition of new exploits for spreading, most notably vulnerabilities in VMWare vSphere, SCO OpenServer, Vesta Control Panel and SMB-based exploits that were not present in the earlier iterations of the code,” Cisco Talos security researcher Vanja Svajcer said. FreakOut bots scan for new systems to target either by randomly generating network ranges or on its masters’ commands sent over IRC via the command-and-control server. For each IP address in the scan list, the bot will try to use one of the built-in exploits or log in using a hardcoded list of SSH credentials.
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