Cryptocurrency Mania is Changing the Way Threat Actors Compromise Websites


February 16, 2018, Vamsi Gullapalli

We have previously reported on the impact the current cryptocurrency mania has had on the tactics threat actors are using. These range from phishing to directly probing for Internet-connected digital wallets.

This past weekend has shown the extensive nature of potentially compromised websites where cryptominers such as Coinhive have been embedded directly into a website or injected via a compromised third-party component such as the recent example of Texthelp. According to RiskIQ web crawling data, upwards of 50,000 websites have been observed using Coinhive in the past year, many of them likely without the original owner’s knowledge. Here’s how we are helping our customers address this issue.

Keeping Safe During Cryptocurrency Mania

Our customers tend to be large corporations and government agencies, so there’s a very low probability for a cryptominer to be present on their websites legitimately. Therefore, step one is to detect any web assets with a cryptocurrency miner running on it, and confirm that asset is a part of the organization’s inventory.

RiskIQ’s webpage-crawling infrastructure monitors assets in our customers’ Digital Footprint on a regular basis. Crawlers download and analyze website content to identify the individual technical components that load when rendered. Currently, we have detection rules for the following miners: Coin Have, CryptoLoot, Coinerra, ProjectPoi, Papoto, MineMyTraffic, CoinImp, Minr, Coinhive, JSE Coin, and CryptoNight Miner.

Using our Global Insights Dashboard in Digital Footprint Inventory, customers have an instant view of the number of websites containing cryptominer technology:

Fig-1 Global Insights Dashboard

Clicking on a specific asset leads to a detail view where customers can see exactly when the cryptominer technology was observed running on the asset.

Fig-2 View of specific asset showing when the cryptomining component was observed

The next step is to inspect the website and identify if the cryptominer was placed directly or was injected via a compromised third-party plugin. The RiskIQ team can help you identify exactly where in your website and through which component the cryptominer was injected.

Fig-3 DOM capture shows where on the web page the script is running

 

What Next?

So now you’ve found, investigated, and remediated any compromised sites. Why does this happen, and what do you do next?

Conducting business online means you have a digital presence which introduces risks and challenges many organizations are not ready to tackle. Digital Threat Management from RiskIQ is the solution to that, and having a platform to manage what you own is step one. The recommendations from the security community have been to implement Content Security Policy and Subresource Integrity. It takes effort both at the single asset level for an application developer and also for a security team to monitor a portfolio of assets.

Challenges that you’ll face include inventorying Javascript components, deciding on which components to add the SRI hash, and setting up a reporting framework to understand which components are failing. You’ll need to deal with Javascript components which are dynamically generated such as Google Analytics.

RiskIQ can help security teams by providing a system of record and monitoring on the status of the external attack surface. You can view assets in Inventory at an individual level or at an aggregate level to understand exposure and the progress of a security program.

Fig-4 Viewing at an individual level

 

Fig-5 Viewing at an aggregate level.

RiskIQ Digital Footprint has you covered by continuously discovering an inventory of your externally-facing digital assets and managing risks across your attack surface. If you would like more information about RiskIQ Digital Footprint Enterprise can help you with exposure to cryptominers, call us at 888-415-4447 or email us at sales@riskiq.net.

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