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Hacker backdoors popular JavaScript library to steal Bitcoin funds

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Image: BitPay

A hacker has gained (legitimate) access to a popular JavaScript library and has injected malicious code that steals Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash funds stored inside BitPay’s Copay wallet apps.

The presence of this malicious code was identified last week, but only today have researchers been able to understand what the heavily obfuscated malicious code actually does.

The library loading the malicious code is named Event-Stream, a JavaScript npm package for working with Node.js streaming data.

This is an extremely popular JavaScript library, with over two million weekly downloads on the npm.org repository, but about three months ago, its original author, due to a lack of time and interest, handed its development over to another programmer named Right9ctrl.

But according to an eagle-eyed user who spotted issues with Event-Stream last week, Right9ctrl had immediately poisoned the library with malicious code.

Right9ctrl released Event-Stream 3.3.6 which contained a new dependency –for the Flatmap-Stream library version 0.1.1. The Flatmap-Stream library v0.1.1 is where the malicious code resides.

According to users on Twitter, GitHub, and Hacker News, this malicious code lays dormant until it’s used inside the source code of Copay, a desktop and mobile wallet app developed by Bitcoin payment platform BitPay.

Once the malicious code has been compiled and shipped inside poisoned versions of the Copay wallet app, it will steal users’ wallet information, including private keys, and send it to the copayapi.host URL on port 8080.

It is believed that the hacker is using this information to empty victims’ wallets. For the time being, it is safe to believe that all versions of the Copay wallet released in September, October, and this month, are considered to have been infected.

Earlier today, the BitPay team released Copay v5.2.2 to remove the Event-Stream and Flatmap-Stream dependencies.

Maintainers of the npm.org JavaScript package repository have also intervened and taken down the Flatmap-Stream library from their site, making it inaccessible to all the projects where this was being loaded via the npm package installer utility.

The malicious Event-Stream v3.3.6 has also been taken down from npm.org, but the Event-Stream library is still available. This is because Right9ctrl, in an attempt to hide his malicious code, released subsequent versions of Event-Stream that didn’t contain any malicious code.

Project maintainers who use these two libraries are advised to update their dependency trees to the latest version available –Event-Stream version 4.0.1. This link contains a list of all the 3,900+ JavaScript npm packages where Event-Stream is loaded as a direct or indirect dependency.

This manual update/removal step is necessary as some projects are configured to cache all dependencies locally, and might not trigger the usual console error when attempting to download a non-existent npm package from npm.org when building a new project version.

This is not the first JavaScript/npm-related security issue that has taken place in the past years. In July this year, a hacker compromised the ESLint library with malicious code that was designed to steal the npm credentials of other developers.

In May 2018, a hacker tried to hide a backdoor in another popular npm package named getcookies.

In August 2017, the npm team removed 38 JavaScript npm packages that were caught stealing environment variables from other projects, in an attempt to collect project-sensitive information, such as passwords or API keys.

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Work from Home Security

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Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that invents toys and games, produces dozens of television and studio series that are distributed in 160 countries, and creates a variety of digital games played by more than 30 million children. What was once a small private company founded by childhood friends is now a public global supply chain with over 1,500 employees and 28 offices around the world.

Like most organizations in 2020, Spin Master had to adapt quickly to the new normal of remote work, shifting most of its production from cubicles in regional and head offices to hundreds of employees working from home and other remote locations.

This dramatic shift created potential security risks, as most employees were no longer behind the firewall on the corporate network. Without the implementation of hardened endpoint security, the door would be open for bad actors to infiltrate the organization, acquire intellectual property, and ransom customer information. Additionally, the potential downtime caused by a security breach could harm the global supply chain. With that in mind, Spin Master created a self-imposed 30-day deadline to extend its network protection capabilities to the edge.

Key Findings:

  • Think Long Term: The initial goal of establishing a stop-gap work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) strategy has since morphed into a permanent strategy, requiring long-term solutions.
  • Gather Skills: The real urgency posed by the global pandemic made forging partnerships with providers that could fill all the required skill sets a top priority.
  • Build Momentum: The compressed timeline left no room for delay or error. The Board of Directors threw its support behind the implementation team and gave it broad budget authority to ensure rapid action, while providing active guidance to align strategy with action.
  • Deliver Value: The team established two key requirements that the selected partner must deliver: implementation support and establishing an ongoing managed security operations center (SOC).
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Key Criteria for Evaluating Privileged Access Management

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Privileged Access Management (PAM) enables administrative access to critical IT systems while minimizing the chances of security compromises through monitoring, policy enforcement, and credential management.

A key operating principle of all PAM systems is the separation of user credentials for individual staff members from the system administration credentials they are permitted to use. PAM solutions store and manage all of the privileged credentials, providing system access without requiring users to remember, or even know, the privileged password. Of course, all staff have their own unique user ID and password that they use to complete everyday tasks such as accessing email and writing documents. Users who are permitted to handle system administration tasks that require privileged credentials log into the PAM solution, which provides and controls such access according to predefined security policies. These policies control who is allowed to use which privileged credentials when, where, and for what tasks. An organization’s policy may also require logging and recording of the actions undertaken with the privileged credentials.

Once implemented, PAM will improve your security posture in several ways. The first is by segregating day-to-day duties from duties that require elevated access, reducing the risk of accidental privileged actions. Secondly, automated password management reduces the possibility that credentials will be shared while also lowering the risk if credentials are accidentally exposed. Finally, extensive logging and activity recording in PAM solutions aids audits of critical system access for both preventative and forensic security.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure

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Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

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