Fronton: A Secret Russian Tool To Shut Down The Internet

A Russian hacker group calling itself 'Digital Revolution' claims to have breached a contractor for the FSB, Russia's national intelligence service, discovering compromising details about a project intended for hacking Internet of Things (IoT) devices. They claim to have revealed that Russia has new tools to shut down internet services by tapping internet-connected cameras and other smart devices.

That doe not only mean mean that FSB spies can penetrate mobile phones, laptop or even Internet-connected doorbells also meand that the Russian government has a new tool for creating a destructive DDoS-capable botnet. 

The new botnet tool was revealed in documents that give instructions for using a suite of hacking apps called Fronton, Fonton-3D, and Fonton-18. These botnets harness the computing power of millions of internet-connected things, direct them to spew random data at specific computers, and overwhelm vital services into uselessness. 

With millions of Americans currently teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has never been more dependent on the internet.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term-of-art for the vast array of electronic products that connect to the internet, from refrigerators to medical equipment to automobiles. IoT vulnerabilities have long worried national security experts who say adversaries could exploit them to shut down entire sectors of digital capabilities and infrastructure. The documents say “An attack on national DNS servers can make the Internet inaccessible for several hours in a small country.”

The group Digital Revolution claimed to have obtained technical documents that detail a suite of hacking tools, Fronton, Fonton-3D, and Fonton-18 which incude the instructions for tapping into smart devices, including security cameras.

 Created in 2017 and 2018 by Russia’s FSB Information Security Center, the documents explain how to use the tools to make large botnet attacks on critical national services. According to screenshots of the Fronton backend, the botnet was capable of targeting Linux-based smart devices, which account for the vast majority of IoT systems today. This would have allowed it to target more than just smart cameras and NVRs.

Any device that has an Internet connection and a processor can be exploited. In an ideal world, all devices should be forced to go through some sort of network configuration before being used, rather than being exploitable from a default position.

Corero:          Defense One:         ZDNet:       Meduza

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