FreakOut Malware

Check Point Research (CPR) encountered that ongoing attacks involve a new malware variant, called ‘FreakOut.’

The purpose behind these attacks is to create an IRC botnet. An IRC botnet is a collection of machines infected with malware that can be controlled remotely via an IRC channel to execute malicious commands.

It is used for malicious activities, such as launching DDoS attacks on other organizations’ networks, or for crypto-mining activity on infected machines, which can potentially shut down entire systems infected. The attacks are aimed at Linux devices.

The malware also comes with extensive capabilities consist of port scanning, information gathering, creation and sending of data packets, network sniffing, and the capability to launch DDoS and network flooding attacks.


Linux devices that run on of the following Products which have Vulnerabilities exploited by FreakOut malware

  • TerraMaster TOS (TerraMaster Operating System), a well-known vendor of data storage devices
  • Zend Framework, a popular collection of library packages, used for building web applications
  • Liferay Portal, a free, open-source enterprise portal, with features for developing web portals and websites

The attack exploits the following CVE’s :

  • CVE-2020-28188 – released 28/12/20 – TerraMaster TOS
  • CVE-2021-3007 – released 3/1/21 – Zend Framework
  • CVE-2020-7961 – released 20/03/20 – Liferay Portal

Patches are available for all products impacted in these CVEs.



  • TerraMaster TOS Command Injection (CVE-2020-28188).
  • Liferay Portal Insecure Deserialization (CVE-2020-7961).
  • Zend Framework Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-3007).
  • CMD Injection Over HTTP


  • Win32.IRC.G
  • TC.a
  • Win32.N3Cr0m0rPh.TC.a
  • Win32.N3Cr0m0rPh.TC.b
  • Win32.N3Cr0m0rPh.TC.c
  • Win32.N3Cr0m0rPh.TC.d

For TerraMaster, the fixes will be implemented in version 4.2.07.

Liferay Portal users should upgrade to Liferay Portal 7.2 CE GA2 (7.2.1) or later. The maintainer no longer supports the Zend framework, and the lamins-http vendor released a relevant patch for this vulnerability should use 2.14.x bugfix release (patch).

FreakOut’s Impact

Researchers found evidence from the attack campaign’s main C&C server that around 185 devices had been hacked.

The geographies that were most targeted were North America and Western Europe. Industry sectors´ most targeted were finance, government and healthcare organizations.

Security Guidelines to Stay Protected

  • Users check and patch their servers and Linux devices
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) prevent attempts to exploit weaknesses in vulnerable systems or applications. Updated IPS helps your organization stay protected.
  • Conventional signature-based Anti-Virus is a highly efficient solution for preventing known attacks.
  • Comprehensive advanced endpoint protection at the highest security level is crucial to avoid security breaches and data compromises


The threat actor behind the attack, named “Freak”, managed to infect many devices in a short period and incorporated them into a botnet, which in turn could be used for DDoS attacks and crypto-mining.

These attack campaigns emphasize the importance and significance of checking and protecting assets as an on-going basis. Therefore this ongoing campaign can spread quickly.

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