Hijacked S3 buckets used in attacks on npm packages

Trending 3 months ago

Miscreants are utilizing expired Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 buckets to spot malicious codification into a morganatic package successful nan npm repository without having to tinker pinch immoderate code.

Software information patient Checkmarx said it began investigating aft GitHub precocious past period posted an advisory astir respective releases of an npm package called bignum that was taken complete by cybercrooks and serving malicious binaries that would bargain accusation for illustration personification IDs, passwords, and section big names from victims' systems.

The infosec engineers wrote a report describing nan issue, noting that while nan threat of nan bignum package was mitigated pinch a caller version, they recovered that dozens of different unfastened root packages successful nan npm codification repository were susceptible to nan aforesaid attack.

"Since it was nan first clip specified an onslaught was observed, we conducted a speedy hunt crossed nan unfastened root ecosystem," wrote Guy Nachshon, a package technologist pinch Checkmarx. "The results were startling. We recovered galore packages and repositories utilizing abandoned S3 buckets that are susceptible to this exploitation."

Code repositories nether attack

This latest threat is portion of a increasing inclination of groups looking astatine nan software proviso chain arsenic an easy measurement to deploy their malware and quickly person it scope a wide guidelines of imaginable victims. Through attacks connected npm and different repositories for illustration GitHub, Python Package Index (PyPI), and RubyGems, miscreants look to spot their malicious codification successful packages that are past downloaded by developers and utilized successful their applications.

In this case, they recovered their measurement successful via nan abandoned S3 buckets, portion of AWS entity retention services that alteration organizations to shop and retrieve immense amounts of information – files, documents, and images, among different integer contented – successful nan cloud. They're accessed via unsocial URLs and utilized for specified jobs arsenic hosting websites and backing up data.

The bignum package utilized node-gyp, a command-line instrumentality written successful Node.js, for downloading a binary record that initially was hosted connected a S3 bucket. If nan bucket couldn't beryllium accessed, nan package was prompted to look for nan binary locally.

"However, an unidentified attacker noticed nan abrupt abandonment of a once-active AWS bucket," Nachshon wrote. "Recognizing an opportunity, nan attacker seized nan abandoned bucket. Consequently, whenever bignum was downloaded aliases re-installed, nan users unknowingly downloaded nan malicious binary file, placed by nan attacker."

Stealing and exfiltrating credentials

The malicious binary functioned for illustration nan original 1 but besides stole credentials and sent them to nan aforesaid hijacked bucket, pinch nan information exfiltrated via a GET request, he wrote. It was a C/C++ compiled binary called for successful JavaScript applications, pinch a ft successful some JavaScript and C/C++ libraries, which allowed Node.js modules to scope lower-level codification and expanding nan onslaught surface.

  • This malicious PyPI package mixed root and compiled codification to dodge detection
  • Python Package Index had 1 personification on-call to clasp backmost play malware rush
  • GitHub debuts pedigree cheque for npm packages via Actions
  • Worried astir nan information of your code's dependencies? Try Google's Deps.dev

Nachshon reverse-engineered nan compiled file, though it wasn't easy. One problem? Scanning nan record utilizing VirusTotal didn't observe it arsenic malware. However, he looked astatine nan strings successful nan record and recovered "some weird behavior," convincing him to dive deeper.

The larger problem was nan different packages and repositories that besides were utilizing expired S3 buckets, which this benignant of onslaught a problem good beyond bignum.

"The threat it poses tin beryllium immense if an attacker manages to utilization it as soon arsenic this benignant of alteration occurs," he wrote. "Another consequence is posed to organizations aliases developers utilizing stiff versions aliases 'artifactories' arsenic they will proceed to entree nan same, now hijacked, bucket."

A new, safer type of bignum

Versions 0.12.2 to 0.13.0 of bignum utilized node-pre-gyp for downloading pre-built binaries. The latest version, 0.13.1, doesn't usage that. It besides doesn't let downloading of pre-built binaries to debar malicious downloads.

Zane Bond, caput of merchandise astatine zero spot information package shaper Keeper Security, told The Register that while nan method utilized by miscreants successful this onslaught is novel, SQL injection attacks themselves are not unusual.

"Finding nan nonstop drawstring that allows you to discuss a strategy is rather difficult, but this onslaught type is 1 of nan astir elemental and communal ones retired there," Bond said. "This is simply a lawsuit of an adversary getting fortunate while doing emblematic adversary activity."

The problem is that a akin script could play retired whenever a trusted distribution location – successful this case, nan S3 buckets – is nary longer utilized and is abandoned, according to his colleague, Patrick Tiquet, vice president of information and architecture pinch Keeper Security. ®