What Is Silex Malware And How Does It Work
What Is Silex Malware And How Does It Work
Have you ever thought what if the Google Home you are using suddenly plays a song at full volume without your command? Maybe you can turn it off and assume it's just a hardware failure.
But considering the news saying that a new malware appeared and damaged 1000s of IoT gadgets, it might be a warning that your Google Home was hacked by hackers and now, your Google Home is just following his orders!
IoT devices are a major part of life in this day and age. From activity trackers to home security cameras, this advanced technology is changing the way we live our lives. But IoT devices are connected to the internet and anything that is connected to the internet can be hacked.
Recently, a 14 year old hacker created a new type of malware and named it Silex malware. Silex malware destroys IoT devices. It has created more than 4000 IoT devices in just a few hours.
Although another malware called Bricker Bot destroyed millions of IoT devices in 2017, with the emergence of the Silex malware, the world was shocked.
Compared to other things that can be hacked, IoT devices have very weak security margins. They are protected only by a password which is often left at default settings.
Hackers can easily deal with it by performing a brute force attack. The reason why IoT devices lack security is lack of awareness of risks and manufacturers are lazy to do so.
So, today we will learn about Silex malware and how one can avoid it.
What is Silex Malware?
According to ZDNet, Silex malware was created by a 14 year old hacker named Light Leafon. As soon as he released the malware, it has affected thousands of IoT devices and no one could find him expecting Larry Cashdollar who is a security exploit researcher.
According to Cashdollar, Silex malware uses the IoT device's default credentials to log in and destroy the system. He added that Silex initially affected 350 devices and then spread to thousands of devices.
So, Silex is targeting pretty much any UNIX like OS with default login credentials. Doesn't matter if it's an ARM-based DVR or an x64 bit system running Redhat Enterprise if your login is root:password it could wreck your system.
— Larry W. Cashdollar r00t folding team #258829 (@_larry0) June 25, 2019
How Does Silex Malware Work?
Cashdollar says that the way silex malware works is using default credentials to log in to IoT devices. But to retrieve the credentials, the malware first corrupts the IoT device storage then drops the firewall rules and finally deletes the network configuration.
Silex malware is so powerful that once an IoT device is affected it is impossible to recover from. However, by manually re-installing the device firmware, one can recover the infected IoT device.
Is Silex Malware Like Other Malware?
Between April and December 2017, a malware called Bricker Bot destroyed more than 10 million IoT devices and the same malware inspired the Silex malware to appear in 2019.
The creator of the Bricker Bot malware is known by the pseudonym Janitor. He created the Bricker Bot and deployed it to protest smart device owners. However, like Janitor, Light Leafon has yet to state its motives behind the Silex malware.
How To Protect IOT Devices From Silex Malware?
Silex malware gets your IoT device infected by guessing your device username and password and since Silex malware is quite new, it will take some time to get a fix update on your smart device from the company. So, what can you do now?
According to Jesse Irwin, a former employee of password management app 1Password, as soon as you buy a device that comes with hard-coded credentials, change the default password and username as soon as possible.
By doing so, you make it difficult for Silex malware to find out your smart device credentials. But actually here it is worth mentioning that the manufacturers are more responsible for stopping such cyber attacks than the users.
In 2018, the California government banned the manufacture of hardware with guessable login credentials such as “password” and “12345”. The government also enforced the rule, saying IoT device manufacturers should encourage users to change default passwords.
The majority of manufacturers use the Linux operating system to run devices. But sadly it doesn't quite offer a secure environment like a custom built operating system.
Just because it's cheaper and manufacturers don't need to develop a special operating system, they don't think about creating an operating system specifically for IOT devices. Moreover, they never release any updates for IoT devices and it becomes an easy target for hackers.
Hackers are everywhere and devices with less security are easy targets for them. So, it is recommended for users to create a safer online environment. And manufacturers should quickly develop secure IoT devices and spread hacking awareness among users.
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Just an ordinary person who wants to share a little knowledge, hopefully the knowledge I provide can be useful for all of us. Keep in mind! Useful knowledge is an investment in the afterlife.
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