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SOURCE CODE : Ransomware attacks take over Git repositories

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

On the large code hosting platforms Bitbucket, Github and Gitlab, attackers have taken over several mainly private repositories, deleted their contents and deposited a request for a kind of ransom payment. If the affected users fail to respond to the claim in this particular type of ransomware attack, they are threatened with publishing the code.

Developers report such incidents on platforms such as Reddit or Stackexchange. Some have also turned to media such as The British IT magazine The Register. A search for the bitcoin address of blackmailers on Github currently still has more than 300 entries.

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The fact that the attackers were able to take over the repositories suggests that they had access to the developers’ login data. These could, for example, come from attacks on other services, as long as the users have used their access data again.

However, it is also likely that the attackers obtained the data via risky .git directories, which were directly accessible via URLs. As has been known for years, security problems can occur if access data for the repository is stored there in configuration files.

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In an analysis, the operator Gitlab therefore refers to using other access paths for the repositories, such as SSH keys. Similarly, users of the services should enable two-factor authentication (2FA). In addition, since Git is a distributed version control system, the code itself should not be lost, but can be restored through a local copy. Gitlab also provides details on his blog.

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