Huge Attack on WordPress Sites Could Spawn Never-Before-Seen Super Botnet
Security analysts have detected an ongoing attack that uses a huge number of computers from across the Internet to commandeer servers that run the WordPress blogging application.
The unknown people behind the highly distributed attack are using more than 90,000 IP addresses to brute-force crack administrative credentials of vulnerable WordPress systems, researchers from at least three Web hosting services reported. At least one company warned that the attackers may be in the process of building a “botnet” of infected computers that’s vastly stronger and more destructive than those available today. That’s because the servers have bandwidth connections that are typically tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times faster than botnets made of infected machines in homes and small businesses.
“These larger machines can cause much more damage in DDoS [distributed denial-of-service] attacks because the servers have large network connections and are capable of generating significant amounts of traffic,” Matthew Prince, CEO of content delivery network CloudFlare, wrote in a blog post describing the attacks.
It’s not the first time researchers have raised the specter of a super botnet with potentially dire consequences for the Internet. In October, they revealed that highly debilitating DDoS attacks on six of the biggest US banks used compromised Web servers to flood their targets with above-average amounts of Internet traffic. The botnet came to be known as the itsoknoproblembro or Brobot, names that came from a relatively new attack tool kit some of the infected machines ran. If typical botnets used in DDoS attacks were the network equivalent of tens of thousands of garden hoses trained on a target, the Brobot machines were akin to hundreds of fire hoses. Despite their smaller number, they were nonetheless able to inflict more damage because of their bigger capacity.