Aqua’s Team Nautilus detected an impressive campaign that set out to hijack resources to enable cryptocurrency mining. This operation focused on several SaaS software development environments, including Docker Hub, GitHub, Travis CI, and Circle CI, by abusing their automated build processes.
Ever notice how news about hidden malware almost always focuses on remediation AFTER the fact? So did we. Even now, there’s yet another news story about a rash of attacks by a group called TeamTNT. They used a crypto-mining worm to steal AWS credentials from Docker Hub. Well, if hijacking cloud resources is so popular, it’s time to make finding threats BEFORE the attack just as fashionable. Our investigation determined that dynamic analysis could have saved some overworked security teams a lot of time and aggravation — if these images were detected and removed from Docker Hub before being deployed — in much the same way it helps security teams with their private registries.
We have some exciting news about two new features in Tracee, Aqua’s open source container and system tracing utility. Now, Tracee is much more than just a system call tracer, it’s a powerful tool that can be used to perform forensic investigations and dynamic analysis of binaries – both are incredibly useful when looking for hidden malware. Tracee can provide users with timely insights that previously required special knowledge and tools.
We at Team Nautilus - Aqua’s cyber security research team - discovered a new type of attack against container infrastructure. The attacker exploits a misconfigured Docker API port in order to and a malicious container image on the host. As far as we know, this is the first time that an attack in which the attacker builds an image rather than pulling it from a public registry is observed in the wild.
Following an attack against a misconfigured Docker API port, the research team at Aqua Security performed an in-depth examination of the Docker Hub account from which the image was pulled. The examination was done by dynamically scanning for hidden threats in the container images hosted in that specific Docker Hub account (‘ubuntuz’) and comparing them to scans done on other Docker Hub accounts. As a result of this process, we discovered an infrastructure of 23 container images stored in Docker Hub.
Two high-severity CVEs in the SaltStack platform were published last week by researchers at F-Secure. These vulnerabilities can enable remote code execution (RCE), which lets attackers remotely execute commands on the Salt leader node. This results in a full compromise of the host and can expose sensitive information within the cloud environment. To address this, Aqua CSPM has been updated with new plugins that check AWS, Azure, and GCP environments for these new vulnerabilities.
Lately we’ve been witnessing a rise in the number of attacks that target container environments. We’ve been tracking an organized attack campaign that targets misconfigured open Docker Daemon API ports. This persistent campaign has been going on for months, with thousands of attempts taking place nearly on a daily basis. These are the highest numbers we’ve seen in some time, far exceeding what we have witnessed to date. We therefore believe that these attacks are directed by actors with sufficient resources and the infrastructure needed to carry out and sustain such attacks, and that this is not an improvised endeavor.
The Aqua Research team has identified a new attack vector that points to an evolution in attacks’ techniques and capabilities. In these attacks, the attackers leverage containers as an entry point to discover and spread to other resources used within cloud accounts. The attackers deployed a clean Ubuntu container, mounted the host file system, which enabled them to execute code on the host, then downloaded a cryptomining binary file, stole data, and scanned IP ranges of various cloud providers.
Aqua’s research team continuously investigates and analyzes the anatomy of new attacks in the wild. Recently, we identified attacks that exploited misconfigured open Docker daemons, where attackers were actively using this attack vector to hijack environments in order to launch targeted DDoS attacks. Each of the attacks were carried out using a botnet of containers, each based on a dedicated Docker image that the attackers created to carry out the attacks.
Docker clients can communicate with the daemon either locally, via a unix socket, or over a network via a TCP socket. Aqua's research team discovered an interesting attack vector running on top of an unsecured Docker socket API. Instead of running a malicious Docker image, the attacker changes the traditional entry-point to take control over the host machine via a Docker Socket.