What Are Bots
Internet bots are software applications that perform automated operations over the internet. Compared to human activity on the Internet, tasks performed by bots are typically simple and performed at a higher rate.
Some bots are legitimate for example, Googlebot is an application used by Google to crawl the Internet and index it for search. Other bots are malicious for example, bots used to automatically scan websites for software vulnerabilities and execute simple attack patterns.
The Necro Python bot targets Windows and Linux systems to evade traditional security detections.
Sneaky methods used
In addition to using automated bots to deliver malware, copy remote computers, or carry out other cyberattacks, Cisco Talos Cybercriminals use automated bots to host malware infections.
A sophisticated bot can do a lot of damage on behalf of the attacker, even if it seems limited in intelligence and flexibility. Cisco Talos published a report on Thursday that describes a bot that uses code morphing as part of its repertoire.
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How to prevent another Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack Top 5 ways to protect against cryptocurrency scams End user data backup policy Python, this bot targets computers that run Windows or Linux by exploiting security vulnerabilities in the operating system or an installed application.
Although Necro was first released earlier this year, the latest version offers a variety of changes and new abilities. According to Talos, the activity is a mix of command and control (C2) communications and new exploits. VMware vSphere, SCO OpenServer, and Vesta Control Panel vulnerabilities, as well as Windows SMB-based flaws, are specifically leveraged by the bot.
Necro’s latest flavor reveals code morphing as one of its more alarming capabilities. In each iteration of Talos’ script code, the code changes into a new form. This skill turns Necro into a polymorphic worm capable of spreading via exploits that exploit a growing number of web-based interfaces and SMB protocols.
In addition to its ability to morph, Necro is also able to hide its malicious files, processes, and registry entries in user mode. In general, the bot is meant to be harder to detect.
Talos said that Necro could avoid traditional security protection, but more modern detection tools such as Extended Detection and Response would detect it. Apple supplier Quanta hit with $50 million ransomware attack from REvil.
It uses an open-source mining program called xmrig to mine Monero through the CPU.
Specifically, Necro tries to spread through a network by exploiting server-side software. Necro targets small and home office routers, just like other bots such as Mirai. Instead of downloading compiled code for each platform, it uses Python to hit different operating systems.
High-level overview of the Necro bot and its functionality.
Various investigative reports have shown that the Necro Python bot follows the latest development in remote command execution exploits on various web applications and includes the new exploits into the bot. As a result, it has a greater chance of spreading and infecting systems.
It is imperative that users apply the latest security updates to all applications, not just operating systems.
The best way to protect your organization against malicious bots like Necro is to apply the latest security patches, especially on servers.
Installing the latest security patches for your applications and operating systems is the best way to counter bots and worms like Necro. Since Necro targets server-side applications, you must update your servers with the necessary patches.
Implement a strong password policy. Necro has a list of default credentials that it uses to try to authenticate access over Secure Shell.
Therefore, organizations should implement strong password policies and multi-factor authentication. Make sure that any hardware or software that has internet access has its default credentials changed.
Use solid endpoint detection and prevention tools. Relying on a reputable endpoint protection product and keeping it properly configured and updated can help stop Necro and similar threats.
Twitter bots evolve to avoid being detected
Social media bots created with the express purpose of spreading fake news and disinformation can influence elections by influencing the opinion of citizens. In addition, the researchers observed a coordinated, multi-bot strategy ‘possibly to create the illusion of a consensus’. As platforms like Twitter work to remove these bots, their methods of evading detection are evolving rapidly.
In an analysis of Twitter bot activity during the US midterm elections and the 2016 presidential election, researchers compared bot activity. In 2016, bots mimicked human patterns of usage to evade detection, according to researchers. People tend to reply to content at a high volume more often than retweet it. Interestingly, researchers noted that multiple bots were working together to create the illusion of consensus.
Researchers even discovered human-bot parasitism in the activities of these accounts. Detecting popular accounts is one of the ways bots can retweet and target them, which humans may not know about.
A malicious bot is malware designed to steal information, or infect a host, often used by cyber criminals.
DDOS, spam, content duplication, etc. are all examples of automated programs that pose a threat. Many bots are designed to scrape information from websites and use it for their own purposes (real estate listings are frequently targeted by these bots).
There are also those who are malicious, as they find out more about you or your visitors. Malicious bots can consume 15-40% of a server’s capacity and bandwidth when they commit fraudulent acts. In turn, this results in high server costs, increased server requirements, and a higher load on the existing server infrastructure.
The following are three types of malicious bots:
Bots take the user’s query term (for example, a popular movie or album) and respond by saying they have the file for download, providing a link. The user clicks on the link, downloads and opens it, and unknowingly infects his or her computer.
In addition to flooding your inbox with spam, these bots interrupt your chats with unsolicited instant messages. Several aggressive advertisers use these bots to target individuals based on demographic information obtained from their profiles. These types of bots are usually easy to spot since they usually send you a link to click along with some kind of intriguing comment to entice you to click.
It is a computer that has been compromised, along with hundreds or thousands of other computers, as part of a botnet. The zombie computers are used to coordinate large-scale attacks as they act in unison, executing the commands given by the botnet owner. The bots are harder to detect and more stealthy. In many cases, victims of this type of infection don’t even realize their PCs are infected.
How can you avoid these monsters?
Start by using a second opinion scanner in addition to your existing anti-virus software. Botnet-related software is not detected by most anti-virus programs. A reputable example of this sort of bot detection software is Malwarebytes.
Monitoring your logs is the second step. Keeping your website updated and proactive will help you prevent major damage. New tools have emerged in the past few years to make this task easier and more user-friendly. These tools enable you to isolate any IP showing aggressive or unusual behaviour.
Logstash is an open source tool for collecting, parsing, and storing logs for future use and has grown to become one of the major players in this field.