Hackers Eye IoT & Android
Devices for Botnet Armies
November 28, 2017
released data shows that web application attacks continued to
rise significantly in both the quarter-over-quarter and
year-over-year timeframes, according to the Third Quarter, 2017
State of the Internet / Security Report released by Akamai
Technologies. In addition, further evaluation of the Mirai
botnet and WireX malware attacks suggests that attackers may
leverage IoT and Android devices to build future botnet armies.
The report found that the number of web application attacks last
quarter (Q3 2017) increased 69% in total from the same timeframe
last year (Q3 2016). In the last quarter alone, web application
attacks rose 30% as compared to the second quarter of 2017. Over
the last year, a 217% increase in attacks sourcing from the U.S.
was seen, with an increase of 48% in the last quarter as
compared to the prior one.
SQL injection (SQLi) attacks continued to be heavily utilized by
attackers as a part of the significant rise of web application
attacks. This attack vector increased 62% since last year, and
19% since last quarter. The significant increase in web
application attacks, particularly "injection" attacks like SQLi,
should come as no surprise as the latest version of the OWASP
Top 10 2017 that came out last week has "injection" (inclusive
of SQLi) as the top ranked vulnerability category. This new
iteration is the first major update to the OWASP Top 10 since
2013, when "injection" also resided in the top spot.
Perhaps more alarming was the result of taking a closer look at
the Mirai botnet and encountering the introduction of WireX
malware. While smaller than its predecessor, the Mirai malware
strain, which uses Internet of Things (IoT) devices, was
responsible for the largest attack seen in Q3 at 109 Gbps. The
ongoing Mirai activity, coupled with the introduction of WireX,
which commandeers Android devices, highlights the vast potential
that exists for new sources of botnet armies.
"The lure of easy access to poorly-secured end nodes and
easily-available source code make it likely that Mirai-based
attacks won't be fading in the near future," said Martin McKeay,
senior security advocate and senior editor, State of the
Internet / Security Report. "Our experience suggests that an
army of new potential attackers comes online every day. Couple
with that, the ubiquity of Android software and the growth in
the Internet of Things are amplifying the risk/reward challenges
that enterprises face to tremendous levels."
Other highlights from Akamai's Third Quarter, 2017 State of the
Internet / Security Report include:
•The use of Fast Flux DNS by botnets is examined, demonstrating
why the use of rapidly changing DNS information helps attackers
by making it harder to track and disrupt botnets and malware.
•The number of DDoS attacks in Q3 increased by 8% quarter over
quarter, highlighted by a 13% increase in the average number of
attacks per target (36).
•Germany, despite not being among the top five source countries
for DDoS attack traffic in the previous quarter, had the largest
number of attack traffic source IPs in Q3 – 58,746 – 22% of the
•Egypt, last quarter's leader for DDoS attack traffic (44,198)
fell out of the top 5 in Q3.
•Australia suffered the third most web application attacks
(19,115,151) despite not even registering in the top 10 in Q2.
the holiday shopping season upon us, Akamai expects that both
the monetary and emotional aspects of attack dynamics will
strongly influence behavior in the fourth quarter. Criminals are
likely to leverage the fact that the final quarter of the year
is critical for merchants, making the merchants much more likely
to pay an extortion letter threatening an attack on Black Friday
or Cyber Monday than at many other times of year.
"As noted in the Attack Spotlight, the code base from Mirai is
still being used and is evolving," added McKeay. "In addition,
criminals are getting better at hiding their command and control
structures, using techniques like Fast Flux DNS. "It would not
be surprising if, during this holiday season, we see new attacks
such as those based on IoT devices or mobile platforms."
Through the SOTI/Security Report, as well as more in-depth
research reports, Akamai brings you cutting-edge insight into
the ever-changing landscape of attacks and attack tools —
delivering information to help you and your team protect your