Security Experts:

Thousands of CCTV Devices Abused for DDoS Attacks

A botnet powered by tens of thousands of compromised CCTV devices located all around the world has been observed launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites.

Web security firm Sucuri was recently called in to mitigate a DDoS attack aimed at the website of a small jewelry shop. The layer 7 attack peaked at nearly 50,000 HTTP requests per second and lasted for days, even after Sucuri stepped in.

An analysis of the attack source revealed that the attackers had been leveraging compromised CCTV devices to generate the large volume of requests. Researchers identified over 25,000 unique IP addresses located in Taiwan (24%), the United States (12%), Indonesia (9%), Mexico (8%) and Malaysia (6%). While 75% of the bots were located in the top ten most affected countries, the rest were spread out across 95 other countries.

The IP addresses showed that nearly half of the affected devices had generic H.264 DVR logos. The devices whose brands could be identified came mostly from Provision ISR, Q-See, QuesTek, TechnoMate, LCT, Capture, Elvox, Novus and Magtec.

Another noteworthy aspect of the attack was that nearly 5% of the IPs came from IPv6. “That’s a change we expect to keep happening as IPv6 becomes more popular,” said Sucuri’s founder and CTO, Daniel Cid.

It’s not uncommon for malicious actors to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) devices for DDoS attacks, but Sucuri said this was the first time it had observed an attack powered solely by CCTV devices.

While the security firm could not confirm exactly how all these CCTV devices got compromised, one theory is that attackers exploited a remote code execution vulnerability disclosed recently by security researcher Rotem Kerner.

The expert reported in March that he had identified a remote code execution flaw affecting surveillance cameras sold by more than 70 vendors. Kerner conducted a Shodan search and identified more than 30,000 vulnerable devices, but noted that the actual number was likely much higher.

While it’s unclear if attackers exploited the vulnerability found by Kerner, the affected brands named by Sucuri are among the 70 vendors listed by the researcher in March.

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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.