Hackers roll cyberattack on Deutsche Telekom clients

Tuesday 29 November 2016 09:20 CET | News

Deutsche Telekom customers in Germany have been hit by internet attacks starting on Sunday, the 27th of November and continuing into Monday.

The company executive blamed the disruptions on a failed hacking attempt to hijack consumer router devices for a wider internet attack. As a result, 900,000, or about 4.5% of its 20 million fixed-line customers, suffered internet outages. On Monday, the telecom company said that its security measures appeared to be taking effect and the number of customers affected had declined to around 400,000 by 12:00 GMT.

Telekom suggested that users having connection problems unplug their router, wait 30 seconds and then restart their device. But if problems continued, the network operator advised them to disconnect their equipment from the network. The rest of its customers could use its fixed-line network without any issues.

The outages appeared to be tied to a botched attempt to turn a sizeable number of customers routers into a part of the Mirai botnet, according to the company’s IT specialists. Mirai is malicious software designed to turn network devices into remotely controlled “bots” that can be used to mount large-scale network attacks.

In October 2016, hackers used it to unleash an attack using common devices like webcams and digital recorders to cut access to some of the worlds best known websites, according to Reuters.

When commenting on this attack, Rod Schultz, VP of Product, Rubicon Labs said that: “With this attack and with Mirai you are beginning to see the dangers with ‘break once, break everywhere’ technology. You have an ecosystem of routers that are hosted by Deutsche Telekom that have little digital diversity (same hardware and software), and an exploit on one router appears to be working on all routers, or there is a cascading effect that is bringing down the network.

Furthermore, management of devices is simpler when they are all the same, but that simplification is also leveraged by attackers to compromise the system. To be clear, this is not a simple problem to fix, and that security challenge is going to be exploited by attackers for many years to come.”

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Keywords: Deutsche Telekom, cyberattacks, botnets, Mirai, fraud, security, Germany, Europe, Rubicon Labs, malicious software, routers
Categories: Securing Transactions | Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud
Countries: World
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Securing Transactions