Major new cyber attack could “take down the internet”, experts warn

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Hackers have breached the security of millions of internet connected devices and turned them into a massive botnet which could take down the internet, cyber security experts have warned.

Experts from security firm Check Point say the attack is currently spreading at a faster rate than the Mirai botnet which was used in devastating cyber attacks last year.

The Mirai botnet targeted insecure Internet of Things devices such as cameras, routers, fridges, heating systems and light bulbs. It then uses these devices to form a DDoS attack which bombards a website with so much web traffic that it is knocked offline.

Mirai was used to bring down some of the world’s most popular websites such as Netflix, Twitter, Reddit and Airbnb.

It also helped form a cyber attack so large it knocked a whole country offline.

A graphic from Check Point shows the sudden increase in compromised devices.

Now experts are warning that millions of organisations have already been hit by this new botnet.

“So far we estimate over a million organizations have already been affected worldwide, including the U.S., Australia and everywhere in between, and the number is only increasing,” Check Point said in a blog post.

“Our research suggests we are now experiencing the calm before an even more powerful storm. The next cyber hurricane is about to come.”

This new botnet campaign shares many similarities with Mirai but is believed to be more dangerous as it uses more advanced technology to exploit vulnerabilities in internet connected devices, which it then uses to spread malware.

A graphic from Check Point shows the botnet is spreading from devices around the world.

“While some technical aspects lead us to suspect a possible connection to Mirai, this is an entirely new and far more sophisticated campaign that is rapidly spreading worldwide.”

“It is too early to guess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but with previous botnet DDoS attacks essentially taking down the internet, it is vital that organisations make proper preparations,” Check Point researchers added.

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