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A Bigger, Badder Botnet of Things Has Been Found, and It’s Primed to Ravage the Web

October 23, 2017

Actually, maybe you should fear the Reaper. At least the one that takes the form of a freshly discovered botnet, which threatens to become far larger than the one that took down a big chunk of the Internet last year.

Researchers from Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 and Israeli firm Check Point have published details of a new botnet of things—those collections of devices hacked to work with one another to send debilitating surges of data to servers, which we named one of our 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2017. The new one, called Reaper, is based on the Mirai botnet that caused so much havoc in October 2016.

But unlike its predecessor, which simply guessed default passwords of connected devices in order to ensnare them in its network, Reaper uses software exploits to hack into them. That could help it grow to be very large indeed. Maya Horowitz, from Check Point, tells Wired that the exploits make it “much easier to recruit into this army of devices,” and says that “millions” of pieces of hardware are already lined up for conscription by Reaper. Gulp.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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