Lizard Squad’s tool becomes very popular thanks to the millions of unsecured IoT devices ready for the taking.
Security experts from Arbor Networks have uncovered over 100 botnets that are controlled using various variations of LizardStresser, the DDoS stresser created by the original Lizard Squad members.
While most of Lizard Squad’s first members are in jail or hiding and hoping that law enforcement won’t come knocking on their door, the group continues to live on through new members, new attacks, but also through the LizardStresser toolkit, which they leaked online at the start of 2015.
The toolkit was heavily forked and adapted, as many other hacking groups sought to use it to create their own botnets to use for DDoS attacks, either just to annoy people, extort companies or hacktivism activities.
LizardStresser is geared towards infecting IoT devices
Arbor Networks says that LizardStresser is not extremely complicated, and is nothing more than a DDoS attack toolkit that uses the ancient IRC protocol to communicate between the C&C server and the client-side component.
Because LizardStresser is coded in C and designed to run on Linux architectures, Arbor Networks says that a lot of groups that are deploying new LizardStresser instances are taking advantage of unsecured IoT devices running on platforms such as x86, ARM, and MIPS, where a stripped-down Linux version is the preferred OS.
We touched on this topic last year when Lizard Squad’s new members were having trouble with their own botnet after unknown security researchers were trying to hijack some of these infected IoT systems.
Webcams make the bulk of the LizardStresser-based botnets
According to Arbor Networks, most of these infected IoT devices are Internet-connected webcams, accessible through a page broadcasting the “NETSurveillance WEB” title, and using their default access passwords.
In a DDoS attack of over 400 Gbps aimed at a gaming site, Arbor says that 90% of the bots that participated in the attack were these type of webcams.
The DDoS attacks are extremely simple and don’t even use traffic amplification/reflection techniques. LizardStresser was created to launch direct DDoS attacks, meaning the bots send UDP or TCP floods directly to the target.
LizardStresser launches direct DDoS attacks, no protocol amplification
Because of the massive amount of unsecured IoT devices, groups that use LizardStresser can launch massive DDoS attacks, previously thought to be unachievable without UDP-based amplification protocols such as NTP or SNMP.
Furthermore, LizardStresser also includes a telnet brute-forcing feature that’s used to test new devices for default passwords and inform the C&C server about possible new victims.
All of these make features make LizardStresser a popular choice when hacking outfits and hacktivism groups are looking for tools to build or broaden their DDoS capabilities. Overall, there’s a growing trend in terms of hacking groups adopting LizardStresser.
“LizardStresser is becoming the botnet-du-jour for IOT devices given how easy it is for threat actors to make minor tweaks to telnet scanning,” says Matthew Bing of Arbor Networks. “With minimal reseach [sic] into IOT device default passwords, they are able to enlist an exclusive group of victims into their botnets.”
Number of C&C servers using LizardStresser in 2016