New IoT Malware Spreads Through GitHub and Pastebin

Security researchers have discovered a new malware designed to affect Linux-based x86 servers, along with Linux ARM and MIPS-based IoT devices, that’s been using many infections vectors, including GitHub and Pastebin.

Malware using GitHub and Pastebin as points of infection is not something new. Attackers draw some advantages from using known, stable and large platforms, but it also comes with a disadvantage. These platforms are scrutinized much more carefully, and malware is quickly discovered. Bad actors know this, so they try to infect as many endpoints as possible before security researchers find them.

Researchers named the new malware Gitpaste-12 because it uses GitHub, Pastebin and 12 other ways to compromise systems. Furthermore, the worm has 12 attack modules, and, from the looks of it, more are in development. The malware spreads through the use of existing vulnerabilities and by brute-forcing passwords.

“Immediately after compromising a system, the malware sets up a cron job it downloads from Pastebin, which in turn calls the same script and executes it again each minute,” explained the researchers. “This is presumably one mechanism by which updates to the cron jobs can be pushed to the botnet. The main shell script uploaded during the attack to the victim machine starts to download and execute other components of Gitpaste-12.”

The malware doesn’t simply infect the device; it also actively compromises its security, like removing any firewall, selinux and apparmor rules, along with any security solutions it might encounter.

Of course, once the malware infects a device, it immediately starts to look for other endpoints to infect, using the same methods. The researchers reported the issues to GitHub and the repository used in the attack was quickly closed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that it’s gone, just that the attackers will likely move to another platform.

Few indicators of compromise are available, but it looks like some of the compromised systems have the 30004 and 30005 TCP ports open.