A few months ago, the RedLock Cloud Security Intelligence (CSI) team found hundreds of Kubernetes administration consoles accessible over the internet without any password protection.
A couple of the instances belonged to Aviva, a British multinational insurance company, and Gemalto, the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards. Within these consoles, access credentials to these organizations’ Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure environments were exposed. Upon further investigation, the team determined that hackers had secretly infiltrated these organizations’ public cloud environments and were using the compute instances to mine cryptocurrencies (refer to Cloud Security Trends - October 2017 report).
Since then, a number of other cryptojacking incidents have been uncovered and there are notable differences in the attacks. In cases involving the WannaMine malware, a tool called Mimikatz is used to pull credentials from a computer’s memory to infect other computers on the network. The malware then uses the infected computers’ compute to mine a cryptocurrency called Monero quietly in the background. The use of Mimikatz ensures that the malware does not have to rely on the EternalBlue exploit and enables it to evade detection on fully patched systems.
Nikola Tesla, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, aptly suggested: everything evolves over a period of time. Essentially, we are beginning to witness the evolution of crytopjacking as hackers recognize the massive upside of these attacks and begin to explore new variations to evade detection.
“It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.”
~ Nikola Tesla
New research from the RedLock CSI team revealed that the latest victim of cryptojacking is Tesla. While the attack was similar to the ones at Aviva and Gemalto, there were some notable differences. The hackers had infiltrated Tesla’s Kubernetes console which was not password protected. Within one Kubernetes pod, access credentials were exposed to Tesla’s AWS environment which contained an Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) bucket that had sensitive data such as telemetry.
Figure 1: Exposed credentials to Tesla’s AWS environment
In addition to the data exposure, hackers were performing crypto mining from within one of Tesla’s Kubernetes pods. The team noted some sophisticated evasion measures that were employed in this attack.
The RedLock CSI team immediately reported the incident to Tesla and the issue was quickly rectified.
Figure 2: Crypto mining script running in Tesla’s Kubernetes pod
The skyrocketing value of cryptocurrencies is prompting hackers to shift their focus from stealing data to stealing compute power in organizations’ public cloud environments. The nefarious network activity is going completely unnoticed. Here are a few things that can help organizations detect suspicious activities such as crypto mining across fragmented cloud environments:
Figure 3: RedLock platform illustrating bitcoin mining traffic detection
Figure 4: RedLock platform illustrating anomalous user activity detection
Watch RedLock's on-demand webinar about Cryptojacking.
We'll be discussing emerging cloud security threats, the Tesla cryptojacking incident, and cloud threat defense tips to protect your public cloud environment.