An Update for a Very Active DDos Botnet: Moobot

July 9, 2020
千面人:Bigviktor 分析报告
July 10, 2020

An Update for a Very Active DDos Botnet: Moobot


Moobot is a Mirai based botnet. We first discovered its activity in July 2019. Here is our log about it[0]. And ever since then, its sample updates, DDoS attacks and other activities have never stopped.Recently we saw it participated in some very high profile DDoS attacks, we got asked quite a few times in the security community regarding to what botnet is behind the attacks, so here is some more details.

Sample dissemination

Moobot samples are mainly spread through weak telnet passwords and some nday and 0day [1][2]vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities we observed using Moobot are as follows:

VulnerabilityAffected Aevice
HiSilicon DVR/NVR BackdoorFirmware for Xiaongmai-based DVRs, NVRs and IP cameras
CVE-2020-8515DrayTek Vigor router
JAWS Webserver unauthenticated shell command executionMVPower DVR
GPON Router RCENetlink GPON Router 1.0.11
ThinkPHP 5.0.23/5.1.31 RCE
Android Debug Bridge Remote Payload Execution
AVTECH Devices Multiple VulnerabilitiesAVTECH IP Camera / NVR / DVR Devices
CVE-2017-17215Huawei Router HG532
Netcore Router Udp 53413 BackdoorNetcore Router
CVE-2014-8361Devices using the Realtek SDK
CVE_2020_5722Grandstream UCM6202
CVE-2017-8225The Wireless IP Camera (P2P) WIFICAM
DVRIP backdoor

Sample analysis

In the previous article, we introduced many variants of Moobot. We believe that its author is more inclined to develop and use new methods than to simply change C2. The authors of Moobot had made many attempts at the sample binary level & network traffic level. Generally, samples used multiple combinations of the following methods to make job difficult for security researchers.

  • Use DNS TXT to carry C2/ manually construct DNS TXT request
  • Packing with the new UPX magic number
  • Hidden sensitive resources using encryption method of code table replacement

Since Jan 2020, another variant we called Moobot_xor became active. Moobot_xor doesn’t adopt mothods metioned above,but just only modified the register message?). Maybe the author of Moobot has found that only one such simple modification and the constant replacement of C2 is needed to achieve very good benefits during the operation for up to 1 year, there is no need to invest in new technology research.

Sample information

ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), statically linked, stripped
Verdict: Moobot_xor

Moobot_xor is very close to Mirai, so we are not going to cover things folks already knew. We will only introduce Moobot_xor’s encryption method and the communication protocol, understanding the encryption method will help extract the bot’s configuration information, knowing the communication protocol should facility tracking C2 to obtain the attack instructions, we hope that these contents can help the community to better fight the Moobot family.

Encryption method

Moobot_xor uses Mirai’s classic Xor encryption and decryption method, the key is 0DEADBEEFh,

The effect of encryption and decryption with this key is equivalent to (0xDE ^ 0xAD ^ 0xBE ^ 0xEF == 0x22) XOR with 0x22. In the source code leaked by Mirai, we can see that the encryption tool enc.c implements this type of encryption.

void *x(void *_buf, int len)
    unsigned char *buf = (char *)_buf, *out = malloc(len);
    int i;
    uint8_t k1 = table_key & 0xff,
            k2 = (table_key >> 8) & 0xff,
            k3 = (table_key >> 16) & 0xff,
            k4 = (table_key >> 24) & 0xff;

    for (i = 0; i < len; i++)
        char tmp = buf[i] ^ k1;

        tmp ^= k2;
        tmp ^= k3;
        tmp ^= k4;

        out[i] = tmp;

    return out;
if (strcmp(args[1], "string") == 0)
        data = args[2];
        len = strlen(args[2]) + 1;
    data = x(data, len);

It can be seen that the end tag x00 of the string type will be xor calculated with the key, so the last byte of the ciphertext generated by this encryption method is the encrypted key.

This feature can help us get the key quickly, and then decrypt it.

every byte xor 0x22
52 43 50 49 0C 41 5B 40 47 50 4B 57 4F 0C 41 41 22


In addition, Yara supports XOR keywords. If we write rules in the following way, no matter how the key changes, it can match the key string, which is very handy for checking malware that uses Mirai’s native encryption method.

rule testxor
    $test1="some string" xor
    all of them

Communication protocol

Moobot_xor has made some minor modifications on the basis of the Mirai communication protocol. Let’s look at a few of them here.

  • Registration packet
msg parsing
33 66 99 					-----> hardcoded magic
06							-----> group string length
67 6c 61 69 76 65			-----> group string,here it is "glaive"
  • Heartbeat packet
msg parsing
00 00 					-----> hardcoded msg from bot
00 00					-----> hardcoded msg from c2	
  • Attack command

msg parsing
similar to Mirai

01 						-----> number of targets

	77 a7 B5 CB 20		----->target/mask,

02						-----> number of flags

	00					-----> flag type
	02					-----> flag length
	32 30				-----> flag data
	07					-----> flag type
	02					-----> flag length
	38 30				-----> flag data

Moobot DDoS activity

Since we started tracking Moobot, its attack activity has never stopped. There are only a handful of C2s, but attack targets are all over the world, with about 100 targets per day.

Moobot’s target

The trend of Moobot’s daily attack targets is shown in the figure below::

It can be seen from the above figure that Moobot’s DDoS attack activity has obvious anomalies from the end of March 2020 to the beginning of May 2020, and the daily attack target of Moobot has increased from a few hundred to nearly 20,000. When we took a close look, we found that Moobot’s attack target surged because Moobot attacked about 48k of Brazilian IP during this period. We don’t know what was reason behind that. After taking Brazil our from the attack targets. Moobot’s daily live attack targets are as follows, about 100 attack targets per day:

Moobot attack target geographic location distribution

Moobot’s attack targets are all over the world.The geographical distribution of its attack targets is as follows:

Moobot attacks the affected domain name

We were able to confirm that Moobot has been behind some very high profile DDos attacks.We cannot disclose more detail here, but we had a tag cloud in our prior blog here[3].

Contact us

Readers are always welcomed to reach us on Twitter, WeChat 360Netlab or email to netlab at 360 dot cn.


C2  AS262254|DANCOM_LTD                             Russian_Federation|Moscow|Unknown    AS34224|Neterra_Ltd.                            Bulgaria|Sofia|Unknown   AS208666|Estro_Web_Services_Private_Limited     Netherlands|Overijssel|Enschede    AS42864|Giganet_Internet_Szolgaltato_Kft        Hungary|Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg_County|Nyiregyhaza
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Head of Operations (Banking), Director IT Governance, Teamlead Microsoft, Service Delivery Manager. Interested in Office 365, LAMP, IT Security and much more!