KashmirBlack Botnet Hijacks Thousands of Sites Running On Popular CMS Platforms

An lively botnet comprising hundreds of hundreds of hijacked systems unfold across 30 nations is exploiting “dozens of identified vulnerabilities” to focus on greatly-utilised content material administration systems (CMS).

The “KashmirBlack” marketing campaign, which is considered to have started out all over November 2019, aims for popular CMS platforms this kind of as WordPress, Joomla!, PrestaShop, Magneto, Drupal, Vbulletin, OsCommerence, OpenCart, and Yeager.

“Its effectively-made infrastructure will make it uncomplicated to extend and add new exploits or payloads with out considerably energy, and it uses advanced solutions to camouflage alone, stay undetected, and protect its operation,” Imperva researchers mentioned in a two-aspect assessment.

The cybersecurity firm’s six-month-long investigation into the botnet reveals a complex procedure managed by one particular command-and-command (C2) server and extra than 60 surrogate servers that talk with the bots to mail new targets, permitting it to extend the measurement of the botnet via brute pressure attacks and installation of backdoors.

The most important purpose of KashmirBlack is to abuse assets of compromised systems for Monero cryptocurrency mining and redirect a website’s genuine site visitors to spam pages. But it has also been leveraged to have out defacement attacks.

Irrespective of the motive, the exploitation tries start out with making use of PHPUnit RCE vulnerability (CVE-2017-9841) to infect shoppers with subsequent-phase destructive payloads that talk with the C2 server.

Based on the assault signature it identified during at the time this kind of defacements, Imperva researchers reported they considered the botnet was the function of a hacker named Exect1337, a member of the Indonesian hacker crew PhantomGhost.


KashmirBlack’s infrastructure is intricate and comprises a variety of relocating components, including two independent repositories — one particular to host exploits and payloads, and the other to keep the malicious script for communication with the C2 server.

The bots themselves are possibly designated as a ‘spreading bot,’ a victim server that communicates with the C2 to receive instructions to infect new victims, or a ‘pending bot,’ a newly compromised target whose reason in the botnet is still to be described.

Whilst CVE-2017-9841 is used to convert a victim into a spreading bot, productive exploitation of 15 distinctive flaws in CMS systems leads to a victim web-site turning out to be a new pending bot in the botnet. A different WebDAV file upload vulnerability has been used by the KashmirBlack operators to final result in defacement.

But just as the botnet grew in dimensions and much more bots started fetching payloads from the repositories, the infrastructure was tweaked to make it more scalable by incorporating a load balancer entity that returns the tackle of a person of the redundant repositories that have been recently setup.

The most recent evolution of KashmirBlack is potentially the most insidious one particular. Final thirty day period, the researchers located the botnet working with Dropbox as a replacement for its C2 infrastructure, abusing the cloud storage service’s API to fetch assault instructions and upload assault reviews from the spreading bots.

“Shifting to Dropbox makes it possible for the botnet to cover illegitimate criminal exercise driving authentic net expert services,” Imperva stated. “It is nevertheless an additional move in direction of camouflaging the botnet website traffic, securing the C&C operation and, most importantly, generating it tough to trace the botnet back to the hacker behind the operation.”

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