Security Experts:

Shellshock Flaw Still Actively Exploited: Solutionary

Shellshock, the Bash bug disclosed in September 2014, is still being exploited by threat actors, according to a report from Solutionary’s Security Engineering Research Team (SERT).

While 10 months should have been enough time for organizations to ensure that they are protected against Shellshock attacks, researchers discovered that there are still numerous vulnerable systems and malicious actors are making the best of it.

Data collected by Solutionary in the second quarter of 2015 shows that attackers have found new ways to exploit the Shellshock vulnerability, they have adapted their techniques in an effort to bypass intrusion prevention systems, and they have learned to rapidly extend successful compromises.

Solutionary has identified nearly 600,000 Shellshock-related events coming from more than 25,000 unique IP addresses, although the security firm noted that nearly 60 percent of traffic was associated with attempts to determine if systems are vulnerable to attacks.

Shellshock traffic was traced back to a total of 138 countries, but service providers and businesses based in the United States accounted for almost half of the events. Shellshock traffic also originated in China, Korea, the UK, Germany and Japan.

An analysis of the source addresses revealed that of all the ISPs through which the attacking systems were registered, GoDaddy was the most abused.

As for the targeted industries, researchers noted that education was the most targeted sector, accounting for 38 percent of observed events.

“The majority of successful attacks resulted in successful download and execution of bash shell scripts. Payloads were diverse, but the most common payloads were shell scripts and .c.txt. Other payloads included ELF binaries, Perl scripts, PHP scripts and tgz files such as, cata.txt as well as several others,” Solutionary said in its report.

The attack campaigns identified by Solutionary were carried out by various threat actors, including the ones known as “Hidden C,” “China Z” and “Lucky Socks.” Experts also determined that the QNAP Worm, which started making rounds in December 2014, is still active.

Solutionary’s Q2 2015 threat report also provides information on other aspects of the threat landscape, including malware and data breaches.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.