Two hacking groups associated with large-scale crypto mining campaigns, Pacha Group and Rocke Group, wage war to compromise as much as possible cloud-based infrastructure.

The first group tracked as Pacha Group has Chinese origins, it was first detected in September 2018 and is known to deliver the Linux.GreedyAntd miner.

The Pacha Group’s attack chain starts by compromising vulnerable servers by launching brute-force attacks against services like WordPress or PhpMyAdmin, or in some cases leveraging a known exploit for an outdated version of alike services. 

Pacha Group cryptomining attacks

Researchers at Intezer Labs continued to monitor this cybercrime group and discovered that it is also targeting cloud-based environments and working to disrupt operations of other crypto-mining groups, such as the Rocke Group.

“Despite sharing nearly 30% of code with previous variants, detection rates of the new Pacha Group variants are low” reads the analysis published by Intezer Labs.

“The main malware infrastructure appears to be identical to previous Pacha Group campaigns, although there is a distinguishable effort to detect and mitigate Rocke Group’s implants.”

The Rocke group also used a cryptocurrency miner in campaigns going as early as April 2018 that attempts to kill any other cryptocurrency malware running of the infected machine.

Pacha Group to fight the rivals added a list of hardcoded IP addresses to the blacklist implemented by the Linux.GreedyAntd aimed at blocking Rocke’s miners by routing their traffic back to the compromised machines.

“After analyzing the IP blacklist we discovered that some of these IPs, even though they may not necessarily be malicious, are known to have been used by Rocke Group in the past.” continues the report. “As an example, systemten[.]org is in this blacklist and it is known that Rocke Group has used this domain for their crypto-mining operations. The following are some domains that correspond to their hardcoded IPs in Linux.GreedyAntd’s blacklist that have Rocke Group correlations”

Both groups are actively targeting cloud infrastructure to run their cryptocurrency miners and started fighting each other.

The miners used by both groups are able to search for and to disable cloud security and monitoring products from various vendors such as Alibaba Cloud. Both malware also includes a lightweight user-mode rootkit known as Libprocesshider and have abused the Atlassian vulnerability

“We believe that these findings are relevant within the context of raising awareness about cloud-native threats, particularly on vulnerable Linux servers,” reads the report published by the experts. “While threat actor groups are competing with one another, this evidence may suggest that threats to cloud infrastructure are increasing.”

Further details, including the list of Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), are reported in the analysis published by Intezer Labs.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Pacha Group, cryptocurrency miners)

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