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Patched Elasticsearch Vulnerabilities Used to Spread Cryptocurrency Miner (CVE-2014-3120, CVE-2015-1427)

Attackers are actively scanning for vulnerable Elasticsearch systems in order to implant cryptocurrency mining scripts.

Background

In recent weeks, attackers have been observed scanning for vulnerabilities in Elasticsearch, a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine. According to research from Trend Micro, the attackers are targeting unpatched Elasticsearch systems using vulnerabilities from 2014 and 2015 to break into systems in order to implant cryptocurrency mining (also known as “coinminer”) scripts. These scripts are designed to hijack a system’s computing resources in a race to solve complex mathematical problems (“mining”) first in order to receive a reward of cryptocurrency.

Vulnerability details

The Elasticsearch vulnerabilities used in these attacks include CVE-2014-3120, a remote code execution vulnerability in the ‘source' parameter of the '/_search' page as part of the Elasticsearch default configuration and CVE-2015-1427, a remote code execution vulnerability in the Groovy scripting engine part of the default configuration in Elasticsearch up to version 5.0.0. Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code, gain a remote shell or manipulate files on the remote system.

Urgently required actions

Upgrading to Elasticsearch version 1.2.0 or later resolves CVE-2014-3120 while upgrading to version 1.3.8 / 1.4.3 or later resolves CVE-2015-1427. Disabling scripting altogether will also mitigate these vulnerabilities. It is also extremely important to ensure your Elasticsearch is properly secured.

Identifying affected systems

A list of Nessus plugins to identify these vulnerabilities can be found here.

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