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Security company McAfee has issued a warning about a new Linux worm that attacks IoT devices such as tablets, wearables and multimedia players. This is a bricking worm, which is a type of malware that wants to render the infected system permanently unusable.

The bricking worm called Silex was discovered last month and focuses specifically on unsecured Internet or Things (IoT) devices running on Linux, or Unix configurations. The malware destroys the storage on the device and removes firewalls and other network configurations.

This will disable the device. This allows users to think that their device is broken when it is only infected.

Since its discovery, Silex has managed to break the operating systems of at least 4,000 devices.


The McAfee researchers have provided several tips for users to recover an infected device. To do this, the firmware of the device must be downloaded by hand and reinstalled.

Furthermore, McAfee advises users of IoT devices in general to keep the security software up to date and to always install patches. It is also recommended to keep an eye on the news for vulnerabilities, change device factory settings, and use best practices for linked accounts. This includes, for example, two-step verification.

In addition, the company advises to set up a separate network. This network then does not share access with other devices and data, so that they remain safe even in the event of an infection or attack.

Number of IoT devices continues to grow

Security of IoT devices remains an important issue, especially as the number of Internet-connected devices is expected to continue to grow. According to McAfee, Silex is a good example of problems that can occur with such devices.

By 2025, there will be an estimated 75.44 billion IoT devices worldwide. That’s a five-fold increase in ten years. At the moment there are 26.66 billion IoT devices worldwide, by 2021 there should be 35.82 billion.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.