Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

New Attacks Target Recent PHP Framework Vulnerability

Multiple threat actors are using relatively simple techniques to take advantage of the vulnerability, launching cryptominers, skimmers, and other malware payloads.

Last month a code execution vulnerability was found in the ThinkPHP framework, a rapid-development framework developed by Chinese firm TopThink. While the vulnerability, designated CVE-2018-20062, was patched by the developer, a researcher has now found active exploits of the vulnerability in the wild.

Larry Cashdollar, a vulnerability researcher and member of Akamai's Security Incident Response Team, was doing research on a recent Magecart attack targeting extensions to the Magento e-commerce platform when he noticed a malware request he hadn't seen before – a request to ThinkPHP.

"I realized there was a software framework developed in China that had this vulnerability, and it was being taken advantage of to install coin miners and skimmers," Cashdollar says. "They [also] were using it to install any kind of payload targeting Windows machines, IoT devices, or to mine Bitcoin or Monero coins."

In a blog post describing the new attacks, Cashdollar wrote that multiple threat actors are using relatively simple techniques to take advantage of the vulnerability. He pointed out that a single line of code can scan for the presence of the vulnerability, which can then be exploited with attacks involving simple cut-and-paste code that is widely available.

One of the payloads Cashdollar has seen delivered is a Mirai variant – a development he has worried about, he says. "I had been waiting for Mirai botnet kits to include Web app code in their arsenal," he says, "and this was an indicator that it's happening."

The code being executed through the PHP framework calls can skip a series of steps long considered essential for malware. "Back in the 1990s, people were always trying to get root access," Cashdollar says. "Now it doesn't matter. They just want to execute code on the system as any user so they can share malware or mine coin. They want to execute code on as many systems as possible."

Systems hit by this exploit are largely concentrated in Asia, which is where the ThinkPHP framework was developed and is very popular. Nothing in the attack limits it to the Asia-Pacific region, though, and Cashdollar says that attackers are actively scanning systems across the globe, including Europe and the US. "I'm seeing about 600 scans a day for it," he explains. "They're scanning across all verticals, software companies, car rentals, and others."

Asked about security and remediation, Cashdollar says he has seen some Web application security companies begin to write advisories to their customers regarding the vulnerability. In addition, he recommends that companies ask development groups about the use of the ThinkPHP framework. If it is being used, Cashdollar says, it should be updated to the current version immediately.

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12855
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-16
In words.protocols.jabber.xmlstream in Twisted through 19.2.1, XMPP support did not verify certificates when used with TLS, allowing an attacker to MITM connections.
CVE-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.