Hacker writes rootkit for Cisco’s routersMay 15, 2008 – 5:53 AM
A security researcher has developed malicious rootkit software for Cisco’s routers, a development that has placed increasing scrutiny on the routers that carry the majority of the Internet’s traffic.
Sebastian Muniz, a researcher with Core Security Technologies, developed the software, which he will unveil on May 22 at the EuSecWest conference in London.
Rootkits are stealthy programs that cover up their tracks on a computer, making them extremely hard to detect. To date, the vast majority of rootkits have been written for the Windows operating system, but this will mark the first time that someone has discussed a rootkit written for IOS, the Internetwork Operating System used by Cisco’s routers. “An IOS rootkit is able to perform the tasks that any other rootkit would do on desktop computer operating systems,” Muniz said in an e-mail interview.
Rootkits are typically used to install keylogging software as well as programs that allow attackers to remotely connect with the infected system. However, the most notorious rootkit of all, distributed by Sony BMG Music, stopped unauthorized CD copying.
A Cisco rootkit is particularly worrisome because, like Microsoft’s Windows, Cisco’s routers are very widely used. Cisco owned nearly two-thirds of the router market in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to IDC.