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Lumen Black Lotus Labs Discovers an Expanding, Multipurpose Botnet Called Chaos

Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen Technologies, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language. Dubbed “Chaos” by the author, the malware was developed for Windows, Linux, and a wide array of consumer devices, small office/home office (SOHO) routers and enterprise servers.

“We are seeing a complex malware that has quadrupled in size in just two months, and it is well-positioned to continue accelerating,” said Mark Dehus, director of threat intelligence for Lumen Black Lotus Labs. “Chaos poses a threat to a variety of consumer and enterprise devices and hosts. We strongly recommend organizations bolster their security postures by deploying services like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and DDoS mitigation.”

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Key Findings:

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  • The Chaos malware exploits known vulnerabilities and enables the actor to:
    • Scan the target system to profile it for future commands.
    • Automatically initiate lateral movement and propagation through Secure Shell (SSH) private keys that are either stolen or obtained using brute force.
    • Launch DDoS attacks and initiate crypto mining.
  • Beginning in June, analysts discovered several distinct Chaos clusters that were written in Chinese. The clusters leveraged China-based command and control (C2) infrastructure that grew rapidly in August and September.
  • The actor compromised at least one GitLab server and launched numerous DDoS attacks on organizations in the gaming, financial services and technology, media/entertainment, cryptocurrency, and even DDoS-as-a-Service industries.
  • Black Lotus Labs believes this malware is not related to the Chaos ransomware builder discovered in 2021; rather, the overlapping code and functions suggest it is likely the evolution of Kaiji, a DDoS malware discovered in 2020.

“The Chaos malware targets known vulnerabilities,” Dehus added, “we recommend network administrators practice rigorous patch management, and use the IoCs (Indicators of Compromise) outlined in our report to monitor for infection or connections to suspicious infrastructure. Consumers and remote workers should enable automatic software updates, and regularly update passwords and reboot hardware.”

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