Hackers continue to hack Drupal installs to install backdoors and inject cryptocurrency malware

Pierluigi Paganini May 08, 2018

Recently security experts discovered two critical vulnerabilities in the Drupal CMS (CVE-2018-7600 and CVE-2018-7602), and cybercriminals promptly attempted to exploit them in the wild.

The hackers started using the exploits for the above vulnerabilities to compromise drupal installs, mostly cryptocurrency mining.

It has been estimated that potentially over one million Drupal websites are vulnerable to cyber attacks exploiting the two flaws if the security patches are not installed.

A week after the release of the security update for the CVE-2018-7600 flaw, a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit was publicly disclosed.

The experts at security firm Check Point along with Drupal experts at Dofinity analyzed the CMS to analyzed the Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability and published a technical report on the flaw.

After the publication of the report. the expert Vitalii Rudnykh shared a working  Proof-Of-Concept for Drupalgeddon2 on GitHub for “educational or information purposes.”

Immediately after the disclosure of the PoC, security experts started observing bad actors attempting to exploit the flaw to install crypto miners and backdoors.

Now, a growing number of malware campaigns is targeting Drupal installs, one of them was recently discovered by the security researcher Troy Mursch.

“Yesterday, I was alerted to a cryptojacking campaign affecting the websites of the San Diego Zoo and the government of Chihuahua, Mexico.” wrote Mursch.

“While these two sites have no relation to each other, they shared a common denominator — they both are using an outdated and vulnerable version of the Drupal content management system.”



The researcher discovered that hundreds of websites were compromised with a Coinhive script via the same method. The malicious code was contained in the “/misc/jquery.once.js?v=1.2” JavaScript library and even if the payloads were different, all the infected websites pointed to the same domain using the same Coinhive site key.

Mursch published a list of compromised website that includes the National Labor Relations Board and the Turkish Revenue Administration.


Security researchers from Imperva also found a malware campaign targeting Drupal websites tracked as “Kitty” campaign.

“As expected, since then we’ve been picking up various attack variants piggybacking on the Drupalgeddon 2.0 exploit, including remote scanners and backdoor attempts.” reads the analysis published by Imperva.

” During the inspection of the attacks blocked by our systems, we came across the “Kitty” malware, an advanced Monero cryptocurrency miner, utilizing a “webminerpool”, an open source mining software for browsers”

The attackers used an in-browser cryptocurrency miner inside a file named “me0w.js,” the code was provided by legitimate Monero mining pool service webminerpool.com.

Cybercriminals also installed a PHP-based backdoor on compromised.

According to Imperva, the Monero address used in the Kitty campaign is the same used in other attacks on servers running vBulletin 4.2.x forums that occurred in April.

“The Monero address used in “Kitty” was also spotted at the start of April 2018, in attacks targeting web servers that run the vBulletin 4.2.X CMS. The attacker uploaded the malware to the infected vBulletin web servers, turning them into distribution centers and making it much harder to track the attacker.” continues the analysis.

“The first generation of the ‘Kitty malware’ we discovered was version 1.5, and the latest version is 1.6. This type of behavior can be an indication of an organized attacker, developing their malware like a software product, fixing bugs and releasing new features in cycles.”

No doubts, the attackers will continue to attempt the exploitation of both Drupal flaws in the next weeks, for this reason, it is essential to apply the necessary updates.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Drupalgeddon2, spyware)

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