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Linux Beware: Magnet Goblin Deploys New NerbianRAT Variant


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The financially motivated threat actor group, Magnet Goblin, has once again made headlines by deploying a new Linux variant of their custom malware, NerbianRAT.

This incident highlights the evolving tactics of cybercriminals and the need for robust security practices on all operating systems, not just Windows.

Magnet Goblin: A Persistent Threat

Magnet Goblin has been active since at least 2022, targeting public-facing services with a focus on exploiting one-day vulnerabilities. This latest development demonstrates their ability to adapt their malware for different operating systems, potentially expanding their attack surface.

NerbianRAT: A Multi-Faceted Threat

The new Linux variant of NerbianRAT possesses functionalities similar to its Windows counterpart, allowing attackers to:

  • Gather System Information: Collect details about the infected system, such as username, hostname, and machine information.
  • Generate Bot IDs: Assign unique identifiers to compromised machines for tracking and control purposes.
  • Establish Persistence: Configure the malware to automatically run upon system restarts, ensuring continued access for the attackers.
  • Execute Commands: Remotely execute commands on the infected system, granting attackers significant control.
  • Communicate via Raw TCP Sockets: Establish communication channels with the attacker’s command-and-control server for further instructions and data exfiltration.

The use of raw TCP sockets suggests a focus on stealth, potentially making detection more challenging for traditional security solutions.

10 Security Measures to Fortify Your Linux Systems

While this recent attack targeted public-facing servers, any Linux system can be vulnerable. Here’s how to strengthen your defenses:

  1. Patch Management: Prioritize timely installation of security updates for your Linux distribution, kernel, and applications.
  2. Strong Passwords & MFA: Implement strong and unique passwords for all accounts and enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) where available.
  3. Limit User Privileges: Assign users the least privileges necessary for their tasks, minimizing the potential damage from compromised accounts.
  4. Firewall Configuration: Configure your firewall to restrict inbound and outbound traffic, limiting access only to authorized services and ports.
  5. Security Software: Consider implementing endpoint security solutions specifically designed to detect and prevent malware infections on Linux systems.
  6. Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS): Deploy intrusion detection or prevention systems to monitor network activity and identify suspicious behavior.
  7. Vulnerability Scanning: Regularly conduct vulnerability scans to identify potential weaknesses in your system and applications.
  8. Monitor System Logs: Regularly review system logs for any unusual activity that might indicate unauthorized access attempts.
  9. Secure Coding Practices: If developing custom applications, employ secure coding practices to minimize vulnerabilities.
  10. Stay Informed: Remain updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities impacting Linux systems.


The Magnet Goblin attack using the new NerbianRAT variant underscores the expanding threat landscape across all operating systems. By adopting a layered security approach, staying vigilant, and keeping systems updated, Linux users can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks. Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and collective vigilance is key to safeguarding our digital infrastructure.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.


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