GitHub Actions Abuse by Cryptominers
Adversaries are abusing GitHub Actions to run known Cryptominers. GitHub Actions is a CI/CD solution to run scheduled tasks and provide CI/CD automation services for GitHub Repos. This attack doesn’t require any action from the repository owners and only requires the repository to behave GitHub Actions enabled.
This isn’t the first time GitHub Actions have been abused by Adversaries and it will not the last. Thankfully, it does nothing to compromise the CIA Triad for GitHubs users: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Accessibility. Instead, it leverages GitHub resources to perform Crypto mining on behalf of the Threat Adversary.
This attack comes at an interesting time in Cyber Security where growing concerns of Supply Chain attacks are causing some to consider if Open Sourced content provides any advantages over large and increasingly targeted Software Vendor companies.
The Attack Procedure
In this attack, the adversary forks a legitimate repository adds the code for the Cryptominer and creates a Pull Request for the legitimate repository owners to merge the code.
The attack leverages GitHub’s own infrastructure to run hours of their crypto miners. At the time when the Pull Request is made, GitHub Action would execute the adversary's code in a “windows-latest” environment to run the Cryptominer. A single observed investigated attack ran the job 98 times under different Job names which lasted 11hrs 11m and 18s before it was canceled when it exceeded the maximum execution time.
I have multiple repositories that leverage GitHub Actions. Mostly for Code Scanning and Analysis. However, my special public readme repository also uses workflow actions for GitHub-Readme-Stats and Wakatime data displays. The attack, on my repo, started at 5 am, Saturday morning and it took almost no time to determine it was a miner.
The job downloaded the Batch and PortableExecutable (PE). The Batch file was then run which executed the executable with specific instructions to start mining operations for the Threat Actor leveraging GitHub resources.
The GitHub Action: Create yum.yml
Two files are used in the attack. One PE and one Microsoft Batch file named npm.exe and nani.bat respectively.
Cryptominer SRBMiner_MULTI from GitLab named NPM.exe
The instructions from the batch file instruct the miner to use the argon2id_chulwa2 algorithm and join it to a pool at turlecoin[dot]herominers[dot]com.
The Batch file also contains the wallet ID: TRTLv3ZvhUDDzXp9RGSVKXcMvrPyV5yCpHxkDN2JRErv43xyNe5bHBaFHUogYVc58H1Td7vodta2fa43Au59Bp9qMNVrfaNwjWP.
Indicators of Attack
GitHub content owners whos Repositories are abused in these attacks with be able to identify the attack by observing a Pull Request creating a New Workflow in Actions for the targeted repository. The new Workflow, in my case, was named with Chinese characters.
SS服务密码SS translated is “ssService Passwordss”.
The merge was named “lkiopolo:patch-1”.
File Name” NPM.exe
File Description: SRBMiner_MULTI
File Version: 0.7.1
Copyright 2021 D0kt0r
Nani.bat renamed as mas.bat at Execution
SHA256 : c7d1a1286802d9ffea20389511c612adeb074ae3cb52078352cf34e572eb5621