Home News Cyber Shock: The 2023 Botnet Crisis That Bricked 600,000 Routers

Cyber Shock: The 2023 Botnet Crisis That Bricked 600,000 Routers

The 2023 Botnet Crisis That Bricked 600,000 Routers

In a significant cybersecurity event in 2023, a malware botnet known as “Mozi” caused widespread havoc by bricking approximately 600,000 routers globally. This incident highlighted vulnerabilities within Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sparking discussions on digital security practices.

What Happened?

The Mozi botnet, previously known for exploiting security flaws in IoT devices, witnessed an abrupt decline in activity around August 2023. This sudden drop was first noted in India and shortly after in China. Researchers from ESET discovered a kill switch within the botnet’s code, which effectively stripped Mozi of its malicious capabilities. The control payloads, which were sent without typical encapsulation protocols, directed the bots to download updates, inadvertently deactivating them​​.

Mirai and its Successors

Alongside Mozi, another variant of the Mirai malware, known as IZ1H9, was identified exploiting vulnerabilities in routers and IoT devices from various brands. This expansion of Mirai’s capabilities underlined the continuous threat posed by legacy malware on modern internet infrastructure​.

The Role of AVrecon

Simultaneously, a different malware, AVrecon, was reported by Black Lotus Labs. AVrecon was designed to steal bandwidth and engage in malicious activities like password spraying, which involves guessing passwords across various accounts to breach systems. This malware particularly targeted SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) routers, exploiting their lack of regular updates and monitoring​​.

Government and Cybersecurity Responses

The surge in botnet activity prompted responses from cybersecurity agencies worldwide. The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued alerts regarding vulnerabilities in TP-Link routers that were being exploited to recruit devices into botnets like Mirai. Such vulnerabilities highlight the ongoing challenges in securing network devices against sophisticated cyber threats​​.

Looking Ahead: Cybersecurity Measures

This event serves as a critical reminder of the importance of cybersecurity vigilance. For users and network administrators, the following steps are crucial:

  • Regularly update and patch devices to close security vulnerabilities.
  • Monitor network traffic for unusual activities that could indicate a compromise.
  • Implement robust security protocols, including multifactor authentication and secure password practices.

The 2023 botnet attack on routers is a wake-up call for enhancing IoT security. It underscores the need for continuous improvement in cybersecurity measures to protect against evolving threats.


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