This Week In Security: Forksquatting, RustDesk, And M&Ms

Github is struggling to keep up with a malware campaign that’s a new twist on typosquatting. The play is straightforward: Clone popular repositories, add malware, and advertise the forks as the original. Some developers mistake the forks for the real projects, and unintentionally run the malware. The obvious naming choice is forksquatting, but the researchers at apiiro went with the safer name of “Repo Confusion”.

The campaign is automated, and GitHub is aware of it, with the vast majority of these malicious repositories getting removed right away. For whatever reason, the GitHub algorithm isn’t catching all of the new repos. The current campaign appears to publishing millions of forks, using code from over 100,000 legitimate projects. It’s beginning to seem that the squatting family of attacks are here to stay.

RustDesk and Odd Certificates

The RustDesk remote access software is interesting, as it’s open source, allows self-hosting, and written in Rust. I’ve had exploring RustDesk as a todo item for a long time, but a bit of concerning drama has just finished playing out. A user pointed out back in November that a test root certificate was installed as part of the RustDesk installation. That root cert is self-signed with SHA1. There is also concern that the RustDesk binaries are signed with a different certificate.

There have been new events since then. First, there was a Hacker News thread about the issue earlier this month. The next day, CVE-2024-25140 was registered with NIST, ranking an insane CVE 9.8 CVSS. Let’s cut through some FUD and talk about what’s really going on.

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FLOSS Weekly Episode 768: Open Source Radio

This week Jonathan Bennett and Doc Searls talk with Tony Zeoli about Netmix and the Radio Station WordPress plugin. The story starts with the Netmix startup, one of the first places doing Internet music in the 1990s. That business did well enough to get bought out just before the Dot Com bubble burst in 2000. Today, Tony runs the Radio Station plugin, which is all about putting a station’s show schedule on a WordPress site.

In the process, the trio covers Internet radio history, the licensing complications around radio and streaming, the state of local radio, and more. Is there a long term future for radio? Does Creative Commons solve the licensing mess? Is AI going to start eating radio, too? All this and more!

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This Week In Security: Bogus CVEs, Bogus PoCs, And Maybe A Bogus Breach

It appears we have something of a problem. It’s not really a new problem, and shouldn’t be too surprising, but it did pop up again this week: bogus CVEs. Starting out in the security field? What’s the best way to jump-start a career? Getting a CVE find to your name certainly can’t hurt. And as a result, you get very junior security researchers looking for and reporting novel security vulnerabilities of sometimes dubious quality. Sometimes that process looks a lot like slinging reports against the wall to see what sticks. Things brings us to an odd bug report in the OBS Studio project.

A researcher put together a script to look for possible password exposure on Github projects, and it caught a configuration value named “password” in a .ini file, being distributed in the project source. Obvious credential leak in Git source, right? Except for the little detail that it was in the “locale” folder, and the files were named ca-es.ini, ja-jp.ini, and similar. You may be in on the joke by now, but if not, those are translation strings. It wasn’t leaked credentials, it was various translations of the word “password”. This sort of thing happens quite often, and from the viewpoint of a researcher looking at results from an automated tool, it can be challenging to spend enough time with each result to fully understand the code in question. It looks like this case includes a language barrier, making it even harder to clear up the confusion.

Things took a turn for the worse when a CVE was requested. The CVE Numbering Authority (CNA) that processed the request was MITRE, which issued CVE-2023-34585. It was a completely bogus CVE, and thankfully a more complete explanation from OBS was enough to convince the researcher of his error. That, however, brings us back to CVE-2023-36262, which was published this week. It’s yet another CVE, for the same non-issue, and even pointing at the same GitHub issue where the alleged bug is debunked. There’s multiple fails here, but the biggest disappointment is MITRE, for handing out CVEs twice for the same issue. Shout-out to [Netspooky] on Twitter for spotting this one. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Bogus CVEs, Bogus PoCs, And Maybe A Bogus Breach”

This Week In Security: Gitlab, KeyPassMini, And Horse

There’s a really nasty CVSS 10.0 severity vulnerability in Gitlab 16.0.0. The good news is that this is the only vulnerable version, and the fix came a mere two days after the vulnerable release. If you happened to be very quick to go to 16.0.0, then be very quick to get the fix, because CVE-2023-2825 looks like a bad one.

An unauthenticated malicious user can use a path traversal vulnerability to read arbitrary files on the server when an attachment exists in a public project nested within at least five groups.

That’s a very specific set of requirements for vulnerability, so it seems like hardly any installs would be vulnerable. The rest of the story is that regular users can create groups, and many installs allow for open user registration. So if you’re running Gitlab 16.0.0, update now!


A Redditor got a surprising notice that someone attempted to access a bank account, but failed two-factor authentication. That seemed odd, and led the Redditor down the rabbithole of auditing applications. And one iOS app in particular stood out as maybe problematic — KeyPassMini.

The app was a mobile client for KeyPass, the password manager. The problem was some analytics. It looks like KeyPassMini was bundling up some system information and uploading it to a server controlled by the creator. Analytics are often unpopular, but this app was including the system clipboard contents in the uploaded data. Yikes! And it gets worse: The app does password fills by using that same clipboard, so some of the protected passwords may have been scooped up into that analytics data. And sent unencrypted. Oof.

Now, the app author has pulled the plug on the app altogether, and responded on the old Github project page. It’s a bit odd, but it’s perfectly believable that there were no ill intentions here. Regardless, code to send the clipboard is a big problem, and definitely undoes a lot of trust in a project.

And KeyPass itself has a problem, though much less worrying. KeyPass attempts to keep sensitive data out of its own memory when possible. This approach aims to protect even in the event of a compromised machine. [vdohney] on Sourceforge discovered that there is a channel to recover the master password, by being just a bit clever. When a user types in the master password, by default, KeyPass will show the last letter typed, and replace the previous letters with bullets. But each iteration of that string ends up in program memory, so a privileged attacker can get a memory dump, look for the bullet characters, and find a set of leftover strings like •a, ••s, •••s, ••••w, •••••o, ••••••r, •••••••d. It’s an easy password grab. Now remember, this essentially implies an attacker has memory access on your system, so it’s not a gaping weakness in KeyPass.

As you can see from the POC on GitHub, the problem is that a .NET text box keeps the strings in memory, so it probably hits both Windows and Linux users under Mono. The proposed solution that the KeyPass team is taking is to poison the well with enough random characters that retrieving the correct password is a lot harder. It’s still getting fixed in the next release.

Horse Shell for MIPS Routers

Checkpoint Research brings us news of the Horse Shell, a bit of malware specifically for MIPS architecture routers running Linux. It’s been found in TP-Link firmware images so far, but as so many of those routers are essentially based on the same Linux SDK, the malware appears to be applicable to many models. The exact firmware images being examined were found in a collection of tools used by Camaro Dragon, a rather catchy name for a Chinese APT group.

The firmware images have some of the normal bits you would expect, like data collection, remote shell, and remote proxy support. They have some really sneaky tricks, too, like storing part of the data on the partition reserved for WiFi calibration data. One has to wonder if hijacking that partition negatively affects the router’s wireless performance. In the firmware images examined, the quickest tell is to go to the firmware upgrade page. If it’s blank, without a form to upload new firmware, you may have the malicious image.


WordPress 6.2.1 has a security fix, that is then improved upon in 6.2.2, where block themes could parse user-generated shortcodes. A shortcode is tags inside [brackets], that gets replaced by more complicated data. We use a code shortcode all the time here on Hackaday, to try to get source code to render nicely, angle brackets and all.

It turns out, the fix in 6.2.1 went a little overboard, breaking quite a few sites by disabling shortcodes in block themes altogether. The situation in 6.2.2 is a bit better, with most of the problems being dealt with. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the bugs and the features apart.

And a WordPress plugin, Beautiful Cookie Consent Banner, is under active attack for a Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability. The attack is odd, as shows just 40,000 active installs, and almost 1.5 million sites have been sent the malicious payload to try to exploit the plugin. And the kicker? It looks like the payload on this attack is a dud, and fails to actually infect a vulnerable site. It can still goober a vulnerable site, so make sure to check your plugins.

Bits and Bytes

Speaking of plugins, be careful what VScode plugins you use. They’re not all friendly. Microsoft has been working to keep malicious plugins off the official marketplace, but that arms race never seems to have an end. And as such, there were a couple known malicious plugins with nearly 50,000 installs.

For some in-depth fun, check out this PDF paper on Android Fingerprint Reader attacks. It seems simple, right? Take a screenshot of a finger, compare it to a known data set, and lock the phone if the test fails too many times. It is, of course, not quite that simple. Researchers formulated two loopholes, Cancel-After-Match-Fail and Match-After-Lock, both of which abuse user-friendly features to manage way more attempts at a fingerprint read. Read the paper for the juicy details.

And finally, Troy Hunt had some fun at the expense of a scammer. Troy’s wife was selling a fridge on Gumtree, and they decided to play along with a suspicious “buyer”. Turns out, it’s the old agent fee scam. I’ll give you the money you asked for, plus $800 to cover the fee. Can you forward that extra money on? But of course, the Paypal confirmation message was faked, and there was no money paid. Troy managed to get an impressive bit of information, including that the scam is actually being run out of, you guessed it, Nigeria. Shipping would be a pain. ><

This Week In Security: Rackspace Falls Over, Poison Ping, And The WordPress Race

In what’s being described as a Humpty-Dumpty incident, Rackspace customers have lost access to their hosted Exchange service, and by extension, lots of archived emails. The first official word of trouble came on December 2nd, and it quickly became clear that this was more than the typical intern-tripped-over-the-cable incident. Nearly a week later, Rackspace confirmed what observers were beginning to suspect, it was a ransomware attack. There’s not a lot of other answers yet, and the incident FAQ answers are all variations on a theme.

Our investigation into the incident is ongoing and will take time to complete. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we do not have additional details to share at this time.

Knowing the security issues that have plagued Microsoft Exchange over the last couple of months, one has to wonder if Rackspace was breached as a result of the PowerShell problems. What’s staggering is that a week after the incident, Rackspace still has no timeline for service restoration.

Rackspace isn’t the only major ransomware attack this week, as a hospital in Versailles has partially shut down due to another ransomware attack. Operations were canceled, and work has to be done the old fashioned way, without the network to support.

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This Week In Security: Chrome 0-day,Cassandra, And A Cisco PoC

Running Chrome or a Chromium-based browser? Check for version 98.0.4758.102, and update if you’re not running that release or better. Quick tip, use chrome://restart to trigger an immediate restart of Chrome, just like the one that comes after an update. This is super useful especially after installing an update on Linux, using apt, dnf, or the like.

CVE-2022-0609 is the big vulnerability just patched, and Google has acknowledged that it’s being exploited in the wild. It’s a use-after-free bug, meaning that the application marks a section of memory as returned to the OS, but then accesses that now-invalid memory address. The time gap between freeing and erroneously re-using the memory allows malicious code to claim that memory as its own, and write something unexpected.

Google has learned their lesson about making too many details public too early, and this CVE and associated bug aren’t easily found in in the Chromium project’s source, and there doesn’t seem to be an exploit published in the Chromium code testing suite. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Chrome 0-day,Cassandra, And A Cisco PoC”

This Week In Security: Y2K22, Accidentally Blocking 911, And Bug Alert

If you had the misfortune of running a Microsoft Exchange server this past week, then you don’t need me to tell you about the Y2K22 problem. To catch rest of us up, when Exchange tried to download the first malware definitions update of 2022, the version number of the new definitions triggered a crash in the malware detection engine. The date is represented as the string 2201010001, where the first two digits represent the year. This string gets converted to a signed long integer, which maxes out at 2,147,483,647. The integer overflows, and the result is undefined behavior, crashing the engine. The server fails safe, not processing any messages without a working malware engine, which means that no e-mail gets through. Happy new year!
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