Hackers Bypass Symantec Web Gateways Using Mirai &  Hoaxcalls Botnets

A new Mirai and Hoaxcalls botnet campaign which is attacking post-authentication class of the Symantec Secure Web Gateway Remote code execution vulnerability.

Mirai is one of the well-known IoT Malware that targets IoT devices such as IP cameras and DVRs to take control of those devices by taking advantage of open ports and default credentials, exploiting disclosed and non-disclosed vulnerabilities, and add them in botnet network.

Mirai malware has a strong background of infecting devices and has been used in most disruptive DDoS attacks on various platforms but in this campaign, it is utilizing credential brute force and exploitation of the Symantec Secure Web Gateway RCE vulnerability.

Hoaxcalls is an IoT variant of Tsunami and Gafgyt Botnets Family. It was first detected in April 2020.


This malware has the ability to proxy traffic, launch a large number of DDoS attacks. download updates, prevent reboots, and maintain continuous across device restarts.

Hoaxcalls Examination :

Samples of the same botnet include an exploit targeting the End-Of-Life Symantec Secure Web Gateway v5.0.2.8 with an HTTP request in the format:

HTTP Request Format

As seen in the above snapshot, some samples reach out to a URL for a public file upload service (plexle[.]us) where the post-exploitation payload is hosted.

The URL contacted for the update serves a shell script that downloads and executes binaries from attacker-controlled URLs.

Update URL Snapshot

According to the Palo Alto networks research, Palo Alto Networks customers are secured from this attack. Threat Prevention blocks all exploits and Wild Fire recognizes all related samples with suspicious findings.

As per Symantec Research team , they don’t have any proof that any other firmware versions are vulnerable as of now.

They also committed that there is no exploited vulnerability present in Symantec Secure Web Gateway and the authentication is required for the successful exploitation of the Symantec Secure Web Gateway RCE.

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