'Benign' worm seeks out vulnerable smart devices

'Benign' worm seeks out vulnerable smart devices

A "benign" worm is scouring the net seeking out poorly protected smart gadgets.

CCTV systems, routers, digital video recorders and other internet-of-things (IoT) devices are now believed to be harbouring the Hajime worm.

The fast-moving worm is currently outpacing malicious equivalents seeking the same vulnerable gear.

Security researchers say they do not know who created Hajime or how it might ultimately be used.

Hajime was first discovered in October 2016 and, said security researchers, had been hunting down IoT devices with security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a different worm, called Mirai.


Earlier the same month, a network of devices compromised by Mirai was responsible for knocking offline high-profile websites including Twitter, Spotify and Reddit.

Modest estimates suggested Hajime was now present on "tens of thousands" of devices, wrote Symantec researcher Waylon Grange in a blog.

Programs such as Hajime and Mirai must keep scouring the net for victims, because switching off a vulnerable device generally cleans out the infection.

Mr Grange noted that Hajime currently had no attack code built in so could not be used to mount the kinds of attacks Mirai had been implicated in.

The only action taken by Hajime is to regularly display a message from the worm's author on the internal interface for each device.

The message says, among other things: "Just a white hat, securing some systems."

The term "white hat" is typically applied to those hackers seeking to secure rather than exploit vulnerabilities.

Malicious or criminal hackers are known as "black hats".

"There is a question around trusting that the author is a true white hat and is only trying to secure these systems, as they are still installing their own backdoor on the system," wrote Mr Grange.

He added if the author's intentions changed they could "potentially" turn the infected devices into a "massive" attack network.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
North should 'take control' of transport, says Grayling

North should 'take control' of transport, says Grayling..

22-Aug, 23:50

The north of England's leaders should "take control" of their own...

Prison visiting rules punish children, says charity

Prison visiting rules punish children, says charity..

22-Aug, 22:51

Children whose fathers are in jail are being punished by rules which...

'Donald Trump-shaped' ecstasy pills seized by German police

'Donald Trump-shaped' ecstasy pills seized by German police..

22-Aug, 11:30

About 5,000 carrot-coloured ecstasy tablets in the shape of Donald...

Demi Lovato celebrates 25th birthday with ex Wilmer Valderrama

Demi Lovato celebrates 25th birthday with ex Wilmer Valderrama..

23-Aug, 04:40

After her party, Demi took to Twitter to share her excitement with fans...

Dutch bike lock to boost safety by blocking rider's phone

Dutch bike lock to boost safety by blocking rider's phone..

21-Jun, 06:18

A telecom company in the Netherlands has teamed up with the country's...

British Airways cabin crew to strike in mid-June

British Airways cabin crew to strike in mid-June..

02-Jun, 13:12

British Airways cabin crew are set to go on strike in mid-June, offering...

Long-term mortgage rates rise to new highs for 2017

Long-term mortgage rates rise to new highs for 2017..

10-Mar, 16:36

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week, marking new highs for 2017....

UK welcomes Spanish king and queen with military pomp

UK welcomes Spanish king and queen with military pomp..

12-Jul, 19:10

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband led an extravagant ceremony...