Criminals Target Alibaba Cloud ECS instances For Cryptojacking Efforts

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The cryptocurrency industry has always attracted criminals, just like any other financial segment. However, the recent attacks against Alibaba cloud is rather intriguing. Attackers intend to focus n crypto mining and malware distribution, with a strong sentiment toward Monero cryptojacking. 

Criminals Take On Alibaba Cloud

  • Several technology companies provide cloud hosting and other cloud-based services to their customers.

  • Amazon is one of the biggest companies, although Alibaba is not far behind.

  • Through Alibaba’s Elastic Computing Service (ECS) instances, developers can deploy programs or test code in a controlled environment. 

  • Those ECS instances from Alibaba are now under attack from criminals successfully disabling various security features.

  • The primary objective is to focus on crypto mining objectives.

  • The options that make Alibaba Cloud stand out from competitors allow for some attractive revenue.

  • However, due to the native security agent, efforts like crypto mining or cryptojacking are not possible.

  • The hackers circumvent this security agent through the creation of new firewall rules,.

  • Moreover, the security agent cannot clean up the running compromise and gets disabled, which is rather elaborate. In some cases, the distributed malware uninstalls the security agent altogether.

  • After bypassing the security measures, the malware installs XMRig cryptominer or a slightly modified version of the software.

  • Alibaba’s decision to let users interface with root access directly may be a key factor in these attacks.

  • Sadly, that also gives attackers the highest privileges, allowing them to advance their attack and escalate the process.

  • Moreover, the Alibaba ECS will auto-scale to increase computing resources on-demand, providing nearly unlimited resources to cryptojacking. 

  • Making matters worse is the modular model of the malware, allowing the crypto miner to be replaced with other malware to increase profit or infect additional endpoints. 

  • Legitimate users affected by this malware will likely see their Alibaba ECS instance bills skyrocket. 

  • It remains unclear if and when this issue will be fixed.


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