Components of Random JavaScript Toolkit Identified

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cPanel announced today that its security team has identified several key components of a hack known as the Random JavaScript Toolkit. The systems affected by this hack appear to be Linux® based and are running a number of different hosting platforms. While this compromise is not believed to be specific to systems running cPanel® software, cPanel has worked with a number of hosting providers and server owners to investigate this compromise.

cPanel announced today that itʼs security team has identified several key components of a hack known as the Random JavaScript Toolkit. The systems affected by this hack appear to be Linux® based and are running a number of different hosting platforms. While this compromise is not believed to be specific to systems running cPanel® software, cPanel has worked with a number of hosting providers and server owners to investigate this compromise.

The cPanel Security Team has recognized that the vast majority of affected systems are initially accessed using SSH with no indications of brute force or exploitation of the underlying service. Despite non-trivial passwords, intermediary users and nonstandard ports, the attacker is able to gain access to the affected servers with no password failures. The cPanel security team also recognized that a majority of the affected servers come from a single undisclosed data-center. All affected systems have password-based authentication enabled. Based upon these findings, the cPanel security team believes that the attacker has gained access to a database of root login credentials for a large group of Linux servers.

Once an attacker manually gains access to a system they can then perform various tasks. The hacker can download, compile, and execute a log cleaning script in order to hide their tracks. They also can download a customized root-kit based off of Boxer version 0.99 beta 3. Finally, the attacker searches for files containing credit card related phrases such as cvc, cvv, and authorize.

The actual root-kit has been the subject of much speculation. The cPanel security team asserts that the Boxer variant includes a small web-server which is how the Javascript is distributed to unsuspecting users of any website on the server. It is believed that the Javascript include is injected into the HTML code after Apache® has served the file but before it has traveled through the TCP transport back to the user of the website. The web-server is not loaded onto the hard drive directly but loaded directly into memory from the infected Boxer binaries. More information about the infected binaries can be found at: http://www.cpanel.net/security/notes/random_js_toolkit.html .

The JavaScript being loaded by this web-server is directing users to another server that scans the website user for a number of known vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are then used to add the website user to a bot net. More information about the JavaScript hacks can be found at: http://www.finjan.com/Pressrelease.aspx?id=1820&PressLan=1819&lan=3 . Cleaning the Random JavaScript Toolkit requires the server to be booted into single user mode and the removal of all infected binaries. More details on how to do this can be found at: http://www.cpanel.net/security/notes/random_js_toolkit.html . The cPanel security team believes that the hacker has access to the database of login credentials, the only way to prevent being hacked again is changing the password and not releasing it to anyone. The preferred method however is to move to SSH Keys and remove password authentication altogether.

About cPanel

cPanel was formed in 1997 and has since become a leading Web Hosting Control Panel Software provider supplying hosting automation tools to numerous data centers and customers around the world. cPanel offers web hosting software that automates the intricate workings of web hosting servers. cPanel products are used on tens of thousands of servers worldwide to equip server administrators with the tools they need to provide top notch hosting to their customers.

Other Press

This compromise has been in the media lately and discussions can be found at the following locations:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,141358-c,techindustrytrends/article.html

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/01/25/148244.shtml

Trademarks

Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Apache is a trademark of the Apache SoftwareFoundation. cPanel is a trademark of cPanel, Inc.

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Eric Gregory
cPanel
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