F5 researchers discovered a new Linux crypto-miner botnet dubbed PyCryptoMiner spreading over the SSH protocol. The Monero miner botnet is based on the Python scripting language, it leverages Pastebin as command and control server infrastructure when the original C&C isn’t available.
If all C&C servers of the botnet are not accessible, all newly infected bots are idle, polling for the botmaster’s Pastebin page.
The experts believe the botnet it under development, operators have recently added scanner functionality hunting for vulnerable JBoss servers (exploiting CVE-2017-12149).
It has been estimated that the PyCryptoMiner botnet has generated the equivalent of approximately $46,000 as of late December.
The experts believe the PyCryptoMiner botnet is more evasive due to its scripting language-based nature, it is hard to detect because it is executed by a legitimate binary.
The malware spreads by attempting to guess the SSH login credentials of target Linux systems. Once SSH credentials are guessed, the bot deploys a simple base64-encoded Python script designed to connect to the C&C server to download and execute additional Python code.
The second-stage code is the controller that registers a cron job on the infected machine to gain persistence.
The original script checks whether the machine has been already infected, it also collects information on the infected device including:
The bot sends a report with the collected information to the C&C that in turn send it task details. The “task” includes:
The PyCryptoMiner botnet uses two pool addresses that show approximately 94 and 64 Monero, with a value of around $60,000. However, it is not possible to know overall profits of the botnet.
The analysis of the Pastebin page used are alternative C&C revealed the botnet might have been active since August 2017, and that the content had been viewed 177,987 times at the time of the investigation. It is not possible to determine the overall size of the botnet because each bot could periodically visit the page when the C&C server is down.
The botmaster used the moniker “WHATHAPPEN” which is associated with more than 36,000 domains and 235 email addresses. The registrant has been involved in scams, gambling, and adult services since 2012.
Below F5’s key findings on the PyCryptoMiner botnet:
F5 also published IoCs for the botnet.
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(Security Affairs – PyCryptoMiner botnet, Monero Miner)