No one needs to hear how Malware has become such more sophisticated and far-reaching nowadays, as the topics been beaten to death and everyone knows that cyber security experts are hard pressed to keep pace with them. Well, here we go again with one of the more menacing ones to come out of the void in more recent years. That’s Siloscape, named that way because this is malware that’s primary aim is to escape the container, and what better way than up and out.
To get technical, Siloscape is a heavily obfuscated malware built to open a backdoor into poorly configured Kubernetes clusters and then run malicious containers to go along with other sneaky and up-to-no-good activities. If an entire cluster is compromised the attacker gets served sensitive information like credentials, confidential files, or even entire databases hosted in the cluster. Experts are semi-jokingly comparing this to the novel coronavirus, as this malware bug is pretty darn novel in itself as there’s really nothing been like it before and that’s why it’s generating fanfare.
Unlikely to be as calamitous in the big picture as this darn pandemic though, which is a good thing.
All of this stuff tends to be fascinating enough for those of us here like it would be for any Canadian web hosting provider. Nature of the business and all, and while we have a formative understanding of web security practices there’s no one here who’d be able to pull up the drawbridge in any situation like this.
So let’s have a look at his Siloscape malware and lay out what you might need to know if you’re your own cyber security expert.
For anyone who might not know, the reason this is as serious as it is is because Kubernetes is one of the most popular open-source applications around, and for good reason. Containers have been wonderful and that’s why it’s unfortunate Siloscape is engineered to do what it does. So many organizations moving into the club are using Kubernetes clusters as their development and testing environments, and the threat of software supply chain attacks has to be seen as a huge threat.
Compromising an entire cluster is much more of a big deal than just an individual container. Clusters can be running multiple cloud applications and attackers might be able to steal critical information like usernames and passwords, an organization’s confidential and internal files or even entire databases hosted somewhere in that cluster. Then there’s also the possibility of leveraging it as a ransomware attack by taking the organization’s files hostage.
What You Need to Know
Some people don’t like sulfides, even though the foods that contain them tend to be good for your health. Onions are among them, and the reason we’re talking about foods here in any way is because Siloscape uses the Tor proxy and an .onion domain to anonymously connect to its command and control (C2) server. Knowledge is power when you’re going to defending against a foe, and so we’ll share more about what we know about Siloscape’s operation and what you might be able to be on the lookout for.
Siloscape malware is characterized by these behaviors and techniques:
- Targets common cloud applications (usually web servers) for initial access, using known vulnerabilities (‘1-days’) and often ones that already have an existing working exploit
- Uses Windows container escape techniques to get out of it and gain code execution on the underlying node
- Abusing node’s credentials to spread in the cluster
- C2 server connection via the IRC protocol over the Tor network
- Waiting for further commands
It’s very likely that we’ll hear a lot more about this new malware in the coming weeks and months, and with all the recent news of major data hacks in the USA you have to hope that we don’t hear of it in one of those contexts.
Microsoft doesn’t recommend using Windows containers as a security feature, and recommend Hyper-V containers instead for anything that relies on containerization as a security boundary. Processes running in Windows Server containers can be predicted to have the same privileges as admin on the host – the Kubernetes node. If you are running applications that need to be secured in Windows Server containers then Hyper-V containers may be the safer choice.