Days after cybersecurity researchers sounded the alarm over two critical vulnerabilities in the SaltStack configuration framework, a hacking campaign has already begun exploiting the flaws to breach servers of LineageOS, Ghost, and DigiCert.
Tracked as CVE-2020-11651 and CVE-2020-11652, the disclosed flaws could allow an adversary to execute arbitrary code on remote servers deployed in data centers and cloud environments. The issues were fixed by SaltStack in a release published on April 29th.
“We expect that any competent hacker will be able to create 100% reliable exploits for these issues in under 24 hours,” F-Secure researchers had previously warned in an advisory last week.
LineageOS, a maker of an open-source operating system based on Android, said it detected the intrusion on May 2nd at around 8 pm Pacific Time.
“Around 8 pm PST on May 2nd, 2020, an attacker used a CVE in our SaltStack master to gain access to our infrastructure,” the company noted in its incident report but added Android builds and signing keys were unaffected by the breach.
Ghost, a Node.js based blogging platform, also fell victim to the same flaw. In its status page, the developers noted that “around 1:30 am UTC on May 3rd, 2020, an attacker used a CVE in our SaltStack master to gain access to our infrastructure” and install a cryptocurrency miner.
“The mining attempt spiked CPUs and quickly overloaded most of our systems, which alerted us to the issue immediately,” Ghost added.
Ghost, however, confirmed there was no evidence the incident resulted in a compromise of customer data, passwords, and financial information.
Both LineageOS and Ghost have restored the services after taking the servers offline to patch the systems and secure them behind a new firewall.
In a separate development, the Salt vulnerability was used to hack into DigiCert certificate authority as well.
“We discovered today that CT Log 2’s key used to sign SCTs (signed certificate timestamps) was compromised last night at 7 pm via the Salt vulnerability,” DigiCert’s VP of Product Jeremy Rowley said in a Google Groups post made on Sunday.
In an email conversation with The Hacker News, DigiCert also said it’s deactivating its CT 2 log server following the incident but clarified that the other certificate transparency logs, CT 1, Yeti, and Nessie were not impacted.
“On May 3, DigiCert announced that it is deactivating its Certificate Transparency (CT) 2 log server after determining that the key used to sign SCTs may have been exposed via critical SALT vulnerabilities,” the company said.
“We do not believe the key was used to sign SCTs outside of the CT log’s normal operation, though as a precaution, CAs that received SCTs from the CT2 log after May 2 at 5 pm MST should receive an SCT from another trusted log. Three other DigiCert CT logs: CT1, Yeti, and Nessie, are not affected as they are run on completely different infrastructure. The impacts are limited to only the CT2 log and no other part of DigiCert’s CA or CT Log systems,”
With F-Secure’s alert revealing more than 6,000 Salt vulnerable servers that can be exploited via this vulnerability, if left unpatched, companies are advised to update the Salt software packages to the latest version to resolve the flaws.