2 min read

35,000 GitHub Repository Clones Tainted with Malware

Vlad CONSTANTINESCU

August 04, 2022

Ad One product to protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 90-day trial
35,000 GitHub Repository Clones Tainted with Malware

A software engineer discovered roughly 35,000 malicious clones of official GitHub project repositories. The repos were replicated almost entirely, except for one thing: the clones had been spiked with malicious code to compromise unsuspecting developers.

Cloning open-source GitHub repositories is common among developers. Injecting malicious code into popular project clones could break new grounds for cyberattacks, as identifying malware-ridden repos is no easy task.

Software engineer Stephen Lacy yesterday disclosed a “massive widespread malware attack” on GitHub that targeted some 35,000 repositories. The tweet mentioned popular projects seemingly afflicted by the hack, including python, js, docker, k8s, bash, crypto and golang.

However, it turns out that none of the mentioned projects fell prey to the newly discovered threat. Perpetrators likely chose popular, legitimate projects to clone and inject with malicious code in hopes of reaching a broad audience.

Although the hundreds of repositories replicated as part of the attack are pristine, the discovery still holds great significance. Upon being notified by Lacy, GitHub promptly removed most of the malware-laced repo clones from its platform and tweeted a statement:

GitHub is investigating the Tweet published Wed, Aug. 3, 2022:
* No repositories were compromised
* Malicious code was posted to cloned repositories, not the repositories themselves
* The clones were quarantined and there was no evident compromise of GitHub or maintainer accounts

“This attack will send the ENTIRE ENV of the script, application, laptop (electron apps), to the attacker's server,” Lacy warns. “ENVs include security keys, AWS access keys, crypto keys, and much more,” the engineer further clarifies.

To make matters worse, cloned repositories that contain the malicious code also host a one-line backdoor able to inject arbitrary shells on compromised systems, according to developer James Tucker.

Lacy’s proposed mitigation strategy for this attack is GPG-signing commits on GitHub. Although this may sound like a good idea, Go crypto maintainer Filippo Valsorda begs to differ.

“This is something you'd want to solve with SSH signatures or sigstore's gitsign, not age,” Valsorda tweeted. “Not that I believe in commit signing, to be honest, but that's a broader debate. I'll point out that GPG signing didn't stop this attack even in repositories that do it.”

tags


Author



Right now

Top posts

August Spam Debrief: Bitdefender Labs Warns of Fraud Campaigns Exploiting the Russia-Ukraine War

August Spam Debrief: Bitdefender Labs Warns of Fraud Campaigns Exploiting the Russia-Ukraine War

August 31, 2022

4 min read
Snake Keylogger Returns in Malspam Campaign Disguised as Business Portfolio from IT Vendor

Snake Keylogger Returns in Malspam Campaign Disguised as Business Portfolio from IT Vendor

August 30, 2022

2 min read
What is medical identity theft and how to protect against it

What is medical identity theft and how to protect against it

July 27, 2022

2 min read
Curious about Omegle? Here’s how the roulette-style chat platform can threaten your online privacy and security

Curious about Omegle? Here’s how the roulette-style chat platform can threaten your online privacy and security

July 07, 2022

5 min read
Identifying and Dealing with Online Bullying Is Not Impossible - School Presentation Inside

Identifying and Dealing with Online Bullying Is Not Impossible - School Presentation Inside

June 28, 2022

2 min read
Let’s Celebrate World Social Media Day by Improving Your Privacy and Security Online

Let’s Celebrate World Social Media Day by Improving Your Privacy and Security Online

June 28, 2022

3 min read

FOLLOW US ON

SOCIAL MEDIA


You might also like

Student data leaked after LA school district says it won't pay ransom Student data leaked after LA school district says it won't pay ransom
Graham CLULEY

October 03, 2022

2 min read
Russians Attempting Draft Evasion Help Scam Market Thrive Russians Attempting Draft Evasion Help Scam Market Thrive
Vlad CONSTANTINESCU

October 03, 2022

1 min read
Ransomware Attacks on Home Users Are Frighteningly Common, Bitdefender Data Reveals. Here Are 3 Tips to Stay Safe at Home Ransomware Attacks on Home Users Are Frighteningly Common, Bitdefender Data Reveals. Here Are 3 Tips to Stay Safe at Home
Filip TRUȚĂ

October 03, 2022

3 min read