Trustwave SpiderLabs Exposes Unique Cybersecurity Threats in the Public Sector. Learn More

Trustwave SpiderLabs Exposes Unique Cybersecurity Threats in the Public Sector. Learn More

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SpiderLabs Blog

Hacker's Wish Come True After Infecting Visitors of Make-A-Wish Website With Cryptojacking

After coming back from a vacation, the first thing to do is catch up with what happened while you were gone. That is what I did earlier this week, going over the telemetry of the detections we had while I was away.

At first, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, loads of CoinHive and other Cryptojacking malware hits, which is a pretty common sight these days. Then I noticed one specific CoinImp detection on a ".org" domain.

While this is not entirely out of the ordinary, as we see many domains including ".org" & ".gov" being compromised and having Cryptojacking scripts injected into them on a daily basis, this domain stood out.

What stood out to me was the name of the domain "worldwish.org". I quickly checked to see this is indeed the real site and not just a fake clone.

As seen in figure 2, it was indeed the case that the website of the Make-A-Wish organization had been compromised. Embedded in the site was a script using the computing power of visitors to the site to mine cryptocurrency into the cybercriminals' pockets, making their "wish" to be rich, come "true". It's a shame when criminals target anyone but targeting a charity just before the holiday season? That's low.

A quick investigation showed that the domain "drupalupdates.tk" that was used to host the mining script is part of a known campaign which has been exploiting Drupalgeddon 2 in the wild since May 2018.

Although the campaign has been updated several times since May, many website owners didn't update their Drupal version in a timely fashion. This allowed cybercriminals to compromise their websites to mine cryptocurrency.

What's interesting about this particular campaign is that it uses different techniques to avoid static detections: It starts with changing the domain name that hosts the JavaScript miner, which is itself obfuscated (Fig 4). The WebSocket proxy also uses different domains and IPs which make blacklist solutions obsolete.

Since Trustwave SWG uses dynamic web analysis to detect threats, these techniques are futile against it.

Drupalgeddon 2 is not the only attack vector that cyber criminals use to infect sites with Cryptojacking malware. The Cryptojacking phenomenon is so widely spread that it is sometimes hard to tell whether a website is infected with malware or the mining code was genuinely added by the site owner. This is especially true of smaller sites, who might use cryptomining in a legitimate source of income but whose ability to secure their website might also be limited putting them at risk of cryptojacking compromise.

Keep your eye out for more fresh research on cryptojacking coming soon from the Trustwave SpiderLabs team, with the goal of helping you to better identify infected websites.

NOTE: We made attempts to contact the Make-A-Wish organization, and while they didn't respond to us, we're happy to note that the injected script was removed from their site shortly after our outreach attempt.

Mitigations

  • Consider endpoint protection capable of detecting crytopminers. Many endpoint solutions now incorporate cryptomining detection - adding a layer of protection against known miners.
  • Monitor changes to your website and audit those changes to make sure they were authorized.
  • Keep your website software up to date with patches.
  • Set up a WAF to protect your website from attacks that you can't patch against. ModSecurity is a robust and easy to implement open source WAF.

Trustwave SWG customers are protected against Cryptojacking attacks and the CoinImp variant in particular.

Trustwave WAF customers are protected against the Druppalgeddon 2 attack.

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