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Checkmarx February Threat Trends Report

March 2024 by Checkmarx

Research performed by the Checkmarx security research team in February encountered new cases of the following types of attacks, which represent the continuation of attack techniques first seen in 2023 and earlier.

Trend 01 - Abandoned digital assets
Attackers are exploiting abandoned digital assets, turning them into trojan horses in open-source ecosystems. Case studies like MavenGate and CocoaPods illustrate the danger, as do instances of hijacked Rubygems package names and compromised S3 buckets, along with email domain hijacking and the recent RepoJacking attack on GitHub repositories.
To help prevent attacks like these, the Checkmarx security research team recommends monitoring and reoccupying abandoned digital assets to keep them out of the hands of attackers.

Trend 02 - Abuse of legitimate services
Attackers are increasingly exploiting legitimate free services like Telegram for data extraction, leveraging their widespread use and encrypted communication features to mask malicious activities. By employing Telegram bots, attackers can automate data collection from unsuspecting victims, exploiting the platform’s convenience and anonymity.
This tactic enables cybercriminals to evade detection while efficiently gathering sensitive information such as credentials, financial data, and personal details. To prevent attacks like these, the research team advises paying attention to suspicious traffic sent from or to what are considered legitimate services, such as GitHub and Telegram. Attackers have recently been using this to stay under the radar.

Trend 03 - Denial of service on critical open-source package hosting
The “everything” package, with millions of dependencies, caused a limited Denial of Service (DoS) attack. This campaign launched in January by the NPM user “gdi2290” caused disruptions in the NPM registry. The package relied on every publicly available NPM package, leading to storage space exhaustion and build disruptions.

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