NEWS

Compromised Linux Servers Fall into Massive Botnet

The security firm Akamai is reporting on a giant botnet populated by Linux servers that is capable of delivering a distributed denial-of-service attack of up to a whopping 179Gbps. The attack uses SYN and DNS traffic to sniff out victim web servers. So far, the victims have been mostly in Asia, and many are companies concentrated in the gaming sector.

At the core of the attack is a malware trojan known as XOR.DDoS. The attackers typically infiltrate the system by brute-forcing SSH access. A really strong password is the best defense against the initial entry.

This attack underscores an increasing tendency for attackers to focus on Linux. This trend probably does not reflect reduced security of Linux systems but could be a response to the fact that Windows security has improved in recent years. The average Windows system is not the low-hanging fruit it once was, which has forced attackers to spread out their search for targets. The trend might also reflect overconfidence of the Linux community in assuming their systems are immune from attack. (These people already knew they were supposed to use strong passwords for SSH, right?)

Akamai provides a full report on the attack for users who are willing to provide contact information.

Rackspace Will Resell Amazon Cloud Services

Cloud vendor Rackspace has entered into a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The deal is similar to the pact Rackspace signed with Microsoft in July, in which Rackspace acts as a reseller for the background cloud vendor.

The news provides some insights into Amazon's global cloud strategy and resources. It appears that Amazon has more capacity than it can sell on its own, so it is drawn to the role of serving as a wholesaler for cloud space marketed by other companies. Rackspace, on the other hand, offers significant market presence and sales resources but could be finding it more difficult to compete directly with huge data vendors like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft for cheap cloud space. The move could thus lead to a winning scenario for both companies. The fact that Rackspace now has partnerships with both Amazon and Microsoft could put the company in a strong position to negotiate favorable terms if they succeed in their new role as a cloud reseller.

Attackers Buy Real Ads for Fake Websites

The security blog malwarebytes.org reports that a recent global malware attack actually used paid ads on some well-known websites and ad networks. According to senior security researcher Jérôme Segura, attackers posed as legitimate ad buyers and constructed elaborate but fake websites advertising real estate, security software, stock market tips, and other services typically found in web ads. A user who clicked on the ad was subjected to an attack through the notorious Angler Exploit Kit.

The attack ran for three weeks and is known to have appeared on sites such as eBay UK, Answers.com, legacy.com, and several prime porn destinations.

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