All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Researchers dissect Linux server rootkit

21 Nov 2012
bug malware virus security threat breach

A recently discovered rootkit could provide researchers with insight on the direction being taken in the malware space, security experts have claimed.

Security researchers have begun issuing reports on an unnamed and previously unknown Linux rootkit posted earlier this month to a security mailing list.

While early analysis has found that the attack is relatively crude by Windows rootkit standards, the attack has caught the eye of vendors at it appears to be a commercially-designed sample rather than a targeted attack.

Researchers believe that the rootkit is intended for use on web servers, infecting 64-bit Linux kernels and then injecting further attack code into web pages.

The discovery of the rootkit could indicate that cybercriminals are increasingly looking to infect Linux systems with sophisticated attacks. Rootkits, which run at the kernel level of a system, have emerged as a favourite means for avoiding the detection of conventional antivirus software.

"Although the code quality would be unsatisfying for a serious targeted attack, it is interesting to see the cyber-crime-oriented developers, who have partially shown great skill at developing Windows rootkits, move into the Linux rootkit direction," security firm CrowdStrike wrote in its analysis of the malware.

"The lack of any obfuscation and proper HTTP response parsing, which ultimately also led to discovery of this rootkit, is a further indicator that this is not part of a sophisticated, targeted attack."

CrowdStrike researchers also suggested the attack is likely the work of a specially-contracted developer and has since been modified by the buyer.

Marta Janus, a researcher with Kaspersky Labs, suggested that the attack could also signal a shift away from high-level attacks on HTTP servers to more sophisticated methods with infect the server itself and poison hosted web pages.

"This rootkit, though it's still in the development stage, shows a new approach to the drive-by download schema and we can certainly expect more such malware in the future," Janus wrote.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

BYOD vs CYOD vs BYOC poll

Which approach is your firm taking to managing employees' mobile devices?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone running Android KitKat 4.4

Sony Xperia Z2 video

We test out the latest Android KitKat flagship from Sony

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Data protection: the key challenges

Deduplication is a foundational technology for efficient backup and recovery


iPad makes its mark in the enterprise

The iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity

Developer (Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Dundee)

Role: Developer Location: Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dundee...

SQL BI Developer

Role: SQL BI Developer Location: Edinburgh Salary...

.NET Developer/Solutions Architect

Role: .NET Developer/Solutions Architect Location...

Software Development Engineer

Develop: Customise: Configure. Maximise your technical...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.