Anti-Malware Research Whitepapers

Interplanetary Storm Botnet Shows Signs of Anonymization-Purpose Proxy-for-Hire Infrastructure

Interplanetary Storm Botnet Shows Signs of Anonymization-Purpose Proxy-for-Hire Infrastructure

While botnets have been used for anything from performing Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks to stealing data and even sending spam, Bitdefender researchers have found signs that the Interplanetary Storm botnet could be used for something else entirely.

This particular Golang-written botnet could be used as an anonymization proxy-network-as-a-service and potentially rented using a subscription-based model.

While the botnet has come under previous scrutiny from Bitdefender researchers, constant monitoring of the development lifecycle of Interplanetary Storm has revealed that threat actors are both proficient in using Golang and development best practices, and well-versed at concealment of management nodes.

Interplanetary Storm also has a complex and modular infrastructure designed to seek and compromise new targets, push and synchronize new versions of the malware, run arbitrary commands on the infected machine and communicate with a C2 server that exposes a web API.

This research paper offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the Interplanetary Storm botnet, provides an exhaustive technical analysis of the Golang-written binaries along with an overview of the protocol internals and finally, some attribution information.

In its new iteration, IPStorm propagates by attacking Unix-based systems (Linux, Android and Darwin) that run Internet-facing SSH servers with weak credentials or unsecured ADB servers. We have also seen Darwin only in a few entries that seem to represent the same machine, the one used to develop IPStorm.

Key findings:

  • Botnet potentially rented as an anonymous proxy network
  • Built to use compromised devices as proxies
  • Botnet mapping reveals global presence
  • Rented using multi-tier subscription-based pricing model
  • More than 100 code revisions to date
  • Detailed analysis of the infrastructure behind the Interplanetary Storm botnet

A complete technical analysis and the Indicators of Compromise associated with this attack are available in the whitepaper below.

Download the whitepaper

About the author

Silvia Pripoae

Silvia Pripoae works as a Security Researcher in the Investigations and Forensics Unit. She discovered Computer Security during her first year of university and never looked back. She enjoys challenging herself, both when playing in CTFs in her spare time and in her daily work in botnet research and appreciates that working in this field keeps your skills honed and your mind sharp.

About the author


Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That's what's been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he's always ready to write about what's hot and trendy out there in geek universe.

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