Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



MikroTik Confirms Mēris Botnet Targets Routers Compromised Years Ago

The recently detailed Mēris botnet is targeting devices that were originally compromised three years ago, Latvian network equipment maker MikroTik says.

The recently detailed Mēris botnet is targeting devices that were originally compromised three years ago, Latvian network equipment maker MikroTik says.

Capable of launching record-breaking distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, the botnet has only been around for several months, but security researchers believe it already has more than 200,000 bots. Overall, however, more than 328,000 routers are potentially at risk.

The vast majority of the vulnerable devices, security researchers have discovered, are MikroTik routers running various versions of RouterOS. Many of the devices apparently run a stable iteration prior to the last.

According to MikroTik, the bots are in fact routers that were previously compromised in 2018, and which haven’t been properly secured, even if the patches released at the time were installed in a timely manner.

“Unfortunately, closing the vulnerability does not immediately protect these routers. If somebody got your password in 2018, just an upgrade will not help. You must also change password, re-check your firewall if it does not allow remote access to unknown parties, and look for scripts that you did not create,” a MikroTik employee notes in a forum post.

The company also underlines that the attacks don’t target a new, undisclosed vulnerability, and that users who applied the patches and also reset their passwords are protected.

MikroTik also says that it attempted to inform potentially affected users of the situation, but notes that the operation hasn’t been successful because “many of them have never been in contact with MikroTik and are not actively monitoring their devices.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Although no new security flaw is being targeted, MikroTik does encourage users to check their devices for malicious scripts or unknown SOCKS configurations and to contact the company if one such configuration has appeared recently on a device running a new RouterOS release.

“More specifically, we suggest to disable SOCKS and look in the System -> Scheduler menu. Disable all rules you can’t identify. By default, there should be no Scheduler rules, and SOCKS should be off,” the company says.

Mēris is capable of launching record-breaking application-layer DDoS attacks and is believed to have been responsible for the largest such assaults ever, which peaked at 17.2 million requests per second (RPS) and 21.8 million RPS, respectively.

The same botnet appears to be responsible for a new DDoS attack on the website of investigative journalist Brian Krebs. Peaking at roughly 2 million RPS, the attack was much smaller than those observed over the past few weeks, but even so, it was four times more powerful than a 2016 attack on the same site.

Related: Mēris Botnet Flexes Muscles With 22 Million RPS DDoS Attack

Related: Akamai Sees Largest DDoS Extortion Attack Known to Date

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...


The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.


Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group informed some customers last week that their online accounts had been breached by hackers.


As it evolves, web3 will contain and increase all the security issues of web2 – and perhaps add a few more.


A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...


Satellite TV giant Dish Network confirmed that a recent outage was the result of a cyberattack and admitted that data was stolen.


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.