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School Kid Uploads Ransomware Scripts to PyPI Repository as 'Fun' Project


An apparently school-age hacker from Verona, Italy, has become the latest to highlight why developers must be cautious about what they download from public code repositories these days. As an experiment, the teenage hacker recently posted many malicious Python packages containing ransomware programmes to the Python Package Index (PyPI). 

The packages' names were "requesys," "requesrs," and "requesr," which are all typical misspellings of "requests," a valid and extensively used HTTP library for Python. According to the Sonatype researchers who discovered the malicious code on PyPI, one of the packages (requesys) was downloaded around 258 times — probably by developers who made typographical errors when attempting to download the genuine "requests" package. 

The bundle included scripts for exploring directories such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. One version of the requesys package included plaintext Python encryption and decryption code. However, a later version included a Base64-obfuscated executable, making analysis more difficult, according to Sonatype. 

Developers whose systems were encrypted received a pop-up notice urging them to contact the package's author, "b8ff" (aka "OHR" or Only Hope Remains), on his Discord channel for the decryption key. According to Sonatype, victims were able to receive the decryption key without having to pay for it. 

"And that makes this case more of a gray area rather than outright malicious activity," Sonatype concludes. 

Information on the hacker's Discord channel shows that at least 15 victims had installed and run the package. According to the company, Sonatype identified the virus on July 28 and promptly reported it to PyPI's authorities. Two of the packages have subsequently been deleted, and the hacker has renamed the requesys package so that developers do not confuse it with a valid programme. 

"There are two takeaways here," says Sonatype's Ankita Lamba, senior security researcher. First and foremost, be cautious while spelling out the names of prominent libraries, as typosquatting is one of the most prevalent malware attack tactics, she advises. Second, and more broadly, developers should always use caution when obtaining and integrating packages into their software releases. Open source is both a necessary fuel for digital innovation and an attractive target for software supply chain threats, explains Lamba.

Following the newest finding, Sonatype researchers contacted the creator of the malicious code and discovered him to be a self-described school-going hacker who was evidently fascinated by exploits and the simplicity with which they might be developed.

According to Lamba, b8ff assured Sonatype that the ransomware software was totally open source and part of a hobby project.

"As they are a school-going 'learning developer,' this was meant to be a fun research project on ransomware exploits that could have easily gone much further astray," Lamba says. "The author went on to say that they were surprised to see how easy it was to create this exploit and how interesting it was."

Python Package Index Repository Detected With Multiple Malicious Packages


In the PyPI repository for Python projects that transformed workstations developers into crypto mining machines, many malicious packaging were captured this week. 

All malicious packages were uploaded on the very same account and the developers tried to install them by using the wrong names for the genuine Python projects, thousands of times. The Python Package Index is the official third-party 

Python software repository is stylized as PyPI and is also referred to as the Cheese Shop. It's the same as CPAN, Perl's repository. Some package managers, notably pip, use PyPI for packages as the default source. 

In April, a total of six harmful packages were infiltrated with the Python Package Index (PyPI) - maratlib, maratlib1, matplatlib-plus, mllearnlib, mplatlib, learning lab. Everything comes from "nedog123" and also most names are misspelled versions of the genuine plot program matplotlib. The "maratlib" packet was evaluated by Ax Sharma, a security researcher at Sonatype, in a blog post. He said the packages were utilized for other malicious components to make them dependent. 

The researcher writes, “For each of these packages, the malicious code is contained in the file which is a build script that runs during a package’s installation.” Sharma determined that it was attempting to download a Bash script ( from a non-existent GitHub repository during the analyses. 

The author's aliases were tracked by Sharma on GitHub using open-source intelligence and learned that the script's job was to operate an "Ubqminer" crypto miner on the compromised machine. 

The researcher also observes that the creator of malware altered the standard Kryptex wallet address with his own to mine for Ubiq cryptocurrency (UBQ). The script has another crypto mining program in a separate version, the open-source T-Rex that uses GPU power. 

Attackers routinely target open-source code repositories such as PyPI [1, 2, 3], NPM for NodeJS [1, 2, 3], or RubyGems. Although the detection is minimal when there is are low downloads, as usual, there is a major risk that developers would incorporate the malicious code occasionally utilized in applications.