A programmer claiming to have designed the tool behind a record-breaking cyberattack targeting journalist Brian Krebs has publicly released the source code to a hacker forum.
In September, Krebs faced the largest known distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in history.
DDoS attacks flood servers with so much traffic they can no longer function properly. To do that, they rely on large networks of hacked internet connected devices.
Mirai, the tool used to set up the Krebs attack, is one of a number of DDoS tools that target the so-called internet of things to set up these networks. Cameras, routers, security systems and toys often use far less security than computers, making them easy prey.
A user known as “Anna-senpai” released the code to the website Hackforums.
“When I first go in DDoS industry, I wasn’t planning on staying in it long,” Anna-senpai wrote.
“I made my money, there’s lots of eyes looking at [the internet of things] now, so it’s time to GTFO. So today, I have an amazing release for you.”
Pre-assembled networks of hijacked computers and software to assemble new networks are lucrative items to rent or purchase on online criminal marketplaces.
Krebs believes the move might be Anna-senpai’s exit strategy after realizing the law enforcement attention Mirai is attracting.
“It’s an open question why [A]nna-senpai released the source code for Mirai, but it’s unlikely to have been an altruistic gesture: Miscreants who develop malicious software often dump their source code publicly when law enforcement investigators and security firms start sniffing around a little too close to home," wrote Krebs in a post Saturday announcing the code’s release."
"Publishing the code online for all to see and download ensures that the code’s original authors aren’t the only ones found possessing it if and when the authorities come knocking with search warrants."