Miscreants are using hacked digital video recorders in a somewhat misguided attempt to mine cryptocurrency BitCoins.
Hackers have created custom code to infect devices normally used for recording footage from security cameras. After getting in, likely to taking advantage of weak default passwords, a common security mistake with embedded devices, the ne'er-do-wells plant malicious code. This malware scans for vulnerable Synology Disk Stations as well as attempting to mine BitCoins.
Security researchers at the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center spotted the attacks after investigating devices scanning its honeypot, discovering to their surprise that they were actually infected DVRs (digital video recorders). The malware is compiled for ARM CPUs, so it's a specialist nasty.
"The malware is an ARM binary, indicating that it is targeting devices, not your typical x86 Linux server," explains SANS Institute researcher Johannes Ullrich in a write-up. The malicious code is only scanning for vulnerable Synology Disk Stations and not doing anything on these insecure networks attached storage devices, at least for now.
Security researchers at the SANS Institute have since discovered that the Synology scanner is also running on routers.
Mining BitCoins these days requires a specialist rig featuring graphic cards so using low-powered embedded systems is not terribly practical.
"Kudos to camera DVRs hackers for finding something worse (ie, very ineffective cryptocurrency mining) to use them for than surveillance," said Martijn Grooten, Virus Bulletin's anti-spam test director.
Chris Wysopal, co-founder and chief technology officer at code review firm Veracode, was even more dismissive: "Seriously, this is just wasting electricity," he said. ®