Weekend Reads 051818: Botnets and Throwhammer

The Facebook freak-out provides an outlet for fears regarding the digital environment we inhabit. A few companies control most channels of information. The gadgets that we use for convenience and entertainment also create the mechanisms for near-total surveillance, from tracking devices in our pockets to wiretaps in our homes—hi, Alexa! Someone besides Santa is watching and knows whether you have been naughty or nice. —Nathanael Blake @Public Discourse

Within just 10 days of the disclosure of two critical vulnerabilities in GPON router at least 5 botnet families have been found exploiting the flaws to build an army of million devices. Security researchers from Chinese-based cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360 Netlab have spotted 5 botnet families, including Mettle, Muhstik, Mirai, Hajime, and Satori, making use of the GPON exploit in the wild. —Swati Khandelwal @The Hacker News

Exploitation of Rowhammer attack just got easier. Dubbed ‘Throwhammer,’ the newly discovered technique could allow attackers to launch Rowhammer attack on the targeted systems just by sending specially crafted packets to the vulnerable network cards over the local area network. Known since 2012, Rowhammer is a severe issue with recent generation dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in which repeatedly accessing a row of memory can cause “bit flipping” in an adjacent row, allowing anyone to change the contents of computer memory. —Mohit Kumar @The Hacker News