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ESET: Hackers Hijack 25,000 UNIX Servers to Build a Malware Army


Compromised servers attack over 500,000 PCs daily

Perhaps it should be called the world wild web to more accurately reflect a landscape fraught with danger, at least if you’re taking an alarmist point of view. Sometimes it’s hard not to. To wit, security outfit ESET said its research team, in collaboration with CERT-Bund, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing and other leading agencies, uncovered a massive cybercriminal campaign in which a backdoor Trojan was able to hijack more than 25,000 UNIX servers around the world.

The infected systems are being used for all kinds of nefarious purposes. They’re sending up to 35 million spam messages per day, stealing users login credentials, and redirecting web traffic to back alleys and other places innocent users typically try to steer clear from.

Security experts have given the attack a name: Operation Windigo. At present, Windigo is responsible for redirecting half a million visitors to malicious content each day. The relentless assault is coming from servers located in the U.S. Germany, France, and the U.K., ESET says.

Over 60 percent of the world’s websites run on Linux, and with that being the case, ESET is urging system administrators to actively check their systems for malware. To help do that, ESET published a detailed technical report with guidance on how to determine if a system is infected, as well as instructions on how to remove the malicious code.

Image Credit: Flickr (Beraldo Leal)

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Covering everything from hi-end gaming PCs to tablets, peripherals and home theater rigs, Maximum PC's print and Web editions stay one step ahead of...