Enlarge (credit: Seth Anderson)
Mirai, the botnet that threatened the Internet as we knew it last year with record-setting denial-of-service attacks, is facing an existential threat of its own: A competing botnet known as Hajime has infected at least 10,000 home routers, network-connected cameras, and other so-called Internet of Things devices.
Hajime uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to issue commands and updates to infected devices.
This design makes it more resistant to takedowns by ISPs and Internet backbone providers. Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations Mirai uses, with the addition of two more.
It also takes steps to conceal its running processes and files, a feature that makes detecting infected systems more difficult. Most interesting of all: Hajime appears to be the brainchild of a grayhat hacker, as evidenced by a cryptographically signed message it displays every 10 minutes or so on terminals.
The message reads:
Just a white hat, securing some systems.
Important messages will be signed like this!
Another sign Hajime is a vigilante-style project intended to disrupt Mirai and similar IoT botnets: It blocks access to four ports known to be vectors used to attack many IoT device. Hajime also lacks distributed denial-of-service capabilities or any other attacking code except for the propagation code that allows one infected device to seek out and infect other vulnerable devices.
Read 3 remaining paragraphs