The alleged author of BrickerBot, also known as The Doctor or The Janit0r, has retired, reports Bleeping Computer, citing an email received from the hacker himself. Claiming responsibility for breaching more than 10 million IoT devices as part of the “Internet Chemotherapy” operation started in November 2016, the hacker, or group of hackers, is leaving the business without regrets.
Detected in April, BrickerBot malware was written to infect IoT devices specifically, and completely block them by rewriting the flash storage. To find vulnerable devices, the malware simples searches the web, then uses the exploit code to corrupt them through permanent denial of service attacks (bricking). By rewriting their firmware, the devices are incapacitated and risk becoming useless.
Aware of the concurrent Mirai infections, The Doctor claims he created BrickerBot to clear the online space of vulnerable devices and to pressure users into updating their gadgets, before they got infected with Mirai. According to Bleeping Computer, based on the communication exchange, the hacker appeared genuinely interested in IoT security awareness and “believed he was fighting the good fight.”
“I believe that the project has been a technical success, but I am now starting to worry that it is also having a deleterious effect on the public’s perception of the overall IoT threat,” The Doctor wrote.
“Researchers keep issuing high profile warnings about genuinely dangerous new botnets, and a few weeks or even days later they are all but gone. Sooner or later people are going to start questioning the credibility of the research and the seriousness of the situation.”