Researchers have identified new self-replicating malware that infects computers running the Apache Tomcat Web server with a backdoor that can be used to attack other machines.
Java.Tomdep, as the backdoor worm has been dubbed, is Java Servlet-based code that gives Apache Tomcat platforms malicious capabilities. It causes infected machines to maintain Internet relay chat (IRC) communications with attacker servers located in Taiwan and Luxembourg. The control servers send commands and receive progress reports to and from the infected machines. Affected platforms include Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and most supported versions of Windows. Researchers haven't said precisely how the malware takes initial hold of servers, but there's no evidence yet it exploits any vulnerability in Tomcat or any other software running on infected servers.
In a blog post published Wednesday, Takashi Katsuki, a researcher at security firm Symantec, said Java.Tomdep appears to be designed to harness the huge amounts of bandwidth and computing power available to Web servers for use in denial-of-service attacks against other machines. Unlike Darkleech and other malware targeting Web servers, there's no indication that it's used to attack end users visiting websites. Katsuki explained: