A malicious Python offer on the Python Package deal Index (PyPI) repository has been found to use Unicode as a trick to evade detection and deploy an data-stealing malware.
The deal in concern, named onyxproxy, was uploaded to PyPI on March 15, 2023, and arrives with abilities to harvest and exfiltrate credentials and other worthwhile facts. It has because been taken down, but not in advance of attracting a complete of 183 downloads.
According to software offer chain security company Phylum, the package deal incorporates its malicious behavior in a set up script which is packed with countless numbers of seemingly reputable code strings.
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These strings include a blend of daring and italic fonts and are even now readable and can be parsed by the Python interpreter, only to activate the execution of the stealer malware on installation of the deal.
“An apparent and rapid reward of this weird scheme is readability,” the organization famous. “Also, these obvious variations do not reduce the code from running, which it does.”
This is manufactured feasible owing to the use of Unicode variants of what seems to be the exact character (aka homoglyphs) to camouflage its real hues (e.g., self vs. 𝘀𝘦𝘭𝘧) amid innocuous-seeking capabilities and variables.
The use of Unicode to inject vulnerabilities into source code was previously disclosed by Cambridge University scientists Nicholas Boucher and Ross Anderson in an attack system dubbed Trojan Resource.
What the method lacks in sophistication, it will make up for it by developing a novel piece of obfuscated code, even with exhibiting telltale signals of duplicate-paste initiatives from other resources.
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The advancement highlights continued attempts on element of menace actors to find new means to slip by means of string-matching dependent defenses, leveraging “how the Python interpreter handles Unicode to obfuscate their malware.”
On a relevant notice, Canadian cybersecurity company PyUp detailed the discovery of three new fraudulent Python packages – aiotoolbox, asyncio-proxy, and pycolorz – that ended up downloaded cumulatively in excess of 1,000 instances and created to retrieve obfuscated code from a remote server.
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