25,000 UNIX Servers are Hijacked by Operation Windigo - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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25,000 UNIX Servers are Hijacked by Operation Windigo

ESET Researchers and collaboration with CERT-Bund, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing and other agencies, have uncovered a widespread cybercriminal operation that has seized control of tens of thousands of Unix servers.

If your system is found to be infected I strongly recommend you re-install the operating system, and consider all credentials used to log into the machine as compromised. In short, if you are a victim, all passwords and private OpenSSH keys should be changed.

Last year Security Researchers identified thousands of Linux systems around the world infected with the an OpenSSH backdoor trojan and credential stealer named Linux/Ebury, that allows unauthorized access of an affected computer to the remote attackers.

The attack, which has been given the name “Windigo” after a mythical creature from Algonquian Native American folklore, has resulted in over 25,000 Unix servers being hacked, resulting in 35 million spam messages being sent each day from compromised machines.


Hackers are also been using hijacked web servers to infect visiting Windows PCs with click fraud and spam-sending malware, and display dating website adverts to Mac users.

Even smartphone users don’t escape to finding their iPhones redirected to X-rated content, with the intention of making money for the cybercriminals.

ESET security researcher Marc-Étienne Léveillé said "Over 35 million spam messages are being sent every day to innocent users’ accounts, clogging up inboxes and putting computer systems at risk. Worse still, each day over half a million computers are put at risk of infection, as they visit websites that have been poisoned by web server malware planted by Operation Windigo redirecting to malicious exploit kits and advertisements."

Its attempt to hijack servers and infect computers, Windigo uses a complex knot of sophisticated malware components including Linux/Ebury, Linux/Cdorked, Perl/Calfbot, Linux/Onimiki, Win32/Glubteba.M, and Win32/Boaxxe.G.

Researchers discovered that “23 people apparently still browse the Internet on Windows 98, and one person even does it on Windows 95.”

Léveillé and his fellow researchers are appealing for Unix system administrators and webmasters to run the following command which will tell them if their server is compromised or not:

$ ssh -G 2>&1 | grep -e illegal -e unknown > /dev/null && echo "System clean" || echo "System infected"

That single Unix command should quickly tell you if your system is seriously compromised or not by Windigo, and whether you need to take steps to clean-up and better protect your servers in future. Further details on how to tell if your server has been compromised are available included in ESET’s technical white paper on Operation Windigo




Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter

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