Krebs Also Hit By Massive DDOS, Apparently Caused by Compromised Routers

“On Thursday evening, KrebsOnSecurity was the subject of a rather massive (and mercifully brief) distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack,” the site reports.

Citing a new blog post from DDoS protection firm Qrator Labs, Krebs writes that “The assault came from ‘Meris,’ the same new botnet behind record-shattering attacks against Russian search giant Yandex this week and internet infrastructure firm Cloudflare earlier this summer.” A titanic and ongoing DDoS that hit Russian Internet search giant Yandex last week is estimated to have been launched by roughly 250,000 malware-infected devices globally, sending 21.8 million bogus requests-per-second. While last night’s Meris attack on this site was far smaller than the recent Cloudflare DDoS, it was far larger than the Mirai DDoS attack in 2016 that held KrebsOnSecurity offline for nearly four days. The traffic deluge from Thursday’s attack on this site was more than four times what Mirai threw at this site five years ago. This latest attack involved more than two million requests-per-second. By comparison, the 2016 Mirai DDoS generated approximately 450,000 requests-per-second.

According to Qrator, which is working with Yandex on combating the attack, Meris appears to be made up of Internet routers produced by MikroTik. Qrator says the United States is home to the most number of MikroTik routers that are potentially vulnerable to compromise by Meris — with more than 42 percent of the world’s MikroTik systems connected to the Internet (followed by China — 18.9 percent- and a long tail of one- and two-percent countries). It’s not immediately clear which security vulnerabilities led to these estimated 250,000 MikroTik routers getting hacked by Meris. “The spectrum of RouterOS versions we see across this botnet varies from years old to recent,” the company wrote. “The largest share belongs to the version of firmware previous to the current stable one.”
Krebs writes that the biggest contributor to the IoT botnet problem remains “a plethora of companies white-labeling [cheap] IoT devices that were never designed with security in mind and are often shipped to the customer in default-insecure states…

“The good news is that over the past five years, large Internet infrastructure companies like Akamai, Cloudflare and Google (which protects this site with its Project Shield initiative) have heavily invested in ramping up their ability to withstand these outsized attacks…”

One year earlier, back in 2015, Krebs had answered questions from Slashdot’s readers.