Mitiga, an incident readiness and response company, has discovered that a product available on Amazon Web Services Marketplace contained Monero mining malware. Mitiga published their findings, noting that they discovered the malware when conducting a security audit for a financial services company.
“Mitiga’s security research team has identified an AWS Community AMI containing malicious code running an unidentified Monero crypto miner,” according to the Mitiga’s blog post. “We have concerns this may be a phenomenon, rather than an isolated occurrence.”
Malware on AWS Marketplace
Unfortunately, the AWS marketplace allows anyone to sell virtual services on its marketplace. Although the marketplace is full of verified vendors, it also contains offerings from unverified community members.
Mitiga discovered that one community member was selling a Windows 2008 virtual server that secretly used the computing power of anyone who downloaded it to mine Monero in the background. Although it may come as a surprise that Monero mining malware was present on Amazon’s AWS Marketplace, Amazon’s policy clearly states that:
“Amazon can’t vouch for the integrity or security of AMIs shared by other Amazon EC2 users. Therefore, you should treat shared AMIs as you would any foreign code that you might consider deploying in your own data center and perform the appropriate due diligence. We recommend that you get an AMI from a trusted source.”
Reducing the attack vector
To avoid falling victim to malware that might live within community offerings on the AWS marketplace, Mitiga recommends “verifying or terminating these instances [unverified offerings], and seeking AMIs from trusted sources”
“As AWS customer usage is obfuscated, we can’t know how far and wide this phenomenon stretches without AWS’s own investigation,” said Mitiga. “We do however believe that the potential risk is high enough to issue a security advisory to all AWS customers using Community AMIs.”
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