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October 09, 2015

What On Earth Is Wifatch? It's Complicated

As if the world of cybersecurity isn’t confusing enough, things got even stranger this week when a new strand of arcane malware was exposed.   

Introducing Linux.Wifatch, a form of malware released by a group of hackers going by the name of “The White Team.”

Now, here’s the catch: This form of malware is a bit different than other types of malware commonly found on the Web. While Linux.Wifatch is technically considered malware—as it works by exploiting and infecting vulnerable Linux routers— it doesn’t appear to be harmful despite being capable of unleashing a variety of different cyber attacks like distributed denial-of-service (DDos).

In fact, its purpose is actually to protect vulnerable networks from harmful intruders. For this reason, Linux.Wifatch is referred to as “vigilante” malware. It is expected that at least 10,000 Linux routers have been infected to date.

Here’s how it works:

Upon entering a router, Linux.Wifatch will scan the device for harmful malware, will eradicate it and will prevent other types of malware from entering by disabling the router’s Telnet port. According to Hacked.com, Linux.Wifatch even sends out reminders to users to update their firmware when it picks up on an attempt to access Telnet.

It sounds helpful. But can you trust Linux.Wifatch?

Not qutite. Naturally, Linux.Wifatch is making many network administrators uncomfortable, despite the fact that its intentions appear to be benevolent. It’s still malware originating from a group of hackers, and therefore not entirely trustworthy.

As Hacked.com explains, you can remove Linux.Wifatch by resetting your router to its default setting, but the device could easily become infected again if you’re not vigilant about monitoring your network.

Here’s our advice:

Malware is growing increasingly complex by the day, and as this example proves, it’s not always easy to understand how to deal with it. In fact, you may not even know if your network is infected. And not all types of malware can be identified with a basic security scan.

Therefore, it’s best to leave this task up to a dedicated group of network experts. Otherwise, you could make the wrong decision when performing troubleshooting and expose your business further harm.

Click here to learn more about how Apex Technology Services of Norwalk, Connecticut can help keep your network safe.


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