- Software developers stated that they found a malicious URL and a backdoor in over 35.000 copied repositories on GitHub.
- GitHub is removing projects that include malware and stated that clones were quarantined and there was no evident compromise of GitHub.
- Malware can allow attackers to steal API keys, credentials, and crypto keys or even execute arbitrary codes by using the backdoor.
Stephen Lacy, a software developer, claimed that more than 35,000 GitHub repositories were copied with clones, which include malware. Cloning open-source repositories is not something new, however, sometimes hackers can create copies of legitimate projects to include their malware, which is a common way to spread malware to thousands of projects quickly. Shortly after the developer’s tweet, GitHub started removing malicious repositories.
Dates back to 2015
In his tweet, Stephen Lacy referred to the situation as a “massive widespread malware attack.” He also claims that the malware is found in many projects, including crypto, golang, python, js, bash, docker, and k8s. According to the tweet, the malware is added to npm scripts, docker images, and install docs.
I am uncovering what seems to be a massive widespread malware attack on @github.
– Currently over 35k repositories are infected
– So far found in projects including: crypto, golang, python, js, bash, docker, k8s
– It is added to npm scripts, docker images and install docs pic.twitter.com/rq3CBDw3r9
— Stephen Lacy (@stephenlacy) August 3, 2022
Lacy noticed a URL in a code, which seemed suspicious:
With a simple search, Google finds over 35,000 repositories that contain a malicious URL. These repositories can be considered suspicious. Out of 35,000 repositories, over 13,000 of them are from the repository named redhat-operator-ecosystem, which is currently removed from GitHub.
Another software developer James Tucker also pinpoint another treat. He claims that the repositories that include the malicious URL also contain a backdoor. The combination of these two codes can allow attackers to steal API keys, credentials, and crypto keys. The backdoor alone is enough for attackers to execute arbitrary code.
While the majority of cloned repositories that include the malware were altered very recently, some of them date back to 2015. GitHub also published a tweet about the situation and stated that the malicious code was included only in cloned repositories, not the repositories themselves.
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
— GitHub Security (@GitHubSecurity) August 3, 2022