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Hackers have found yet another way to attack Kubernetes clusters

Kubernetes
(Image credit: Future)

Cybersecurity researchers have detailed a new attack vector that drops cryptomining malware in Kubernetes clusters by exploiting misconfigured Argo Workflows instances.

Argo Workflows is an open source workflow engine for Kubernetes that simplifies the process of orchestrating parallel jobs on Kubernetes clusters.

Researchers from Intezer found hundreds of Argo Workflows instances with misconfigured permissions, and observed many being abused by malicious threat actors.

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“We have identified infected nodes and there is the potential for larger scale attacks due to hundreds of misconfigured deployments. We have detected exposed instances of Argo Workflows that belong to companies from different sectors including technology, finance and logistics,” note Intezer’s Ryan Robinson and Nicole Fishbein in a joint blog post.

Improperly configured

The researchers argue that even products like Argo Workflows that are designed to reduce deployment complexity, can be turned into a source for exploitation if not configured properly. 

While hunting for such misconfigured instances, the researchers found several that were either unprotected or had liberal permission settings that would allow any user to deploy workflows. 

In one cluster, we noticed that a popular cryptocurrency mining container, kannix/monero-miner, which used XMRig to mine for Monero cryptocurrency, was being deployed.

As a side note, the researchers note that while the kannix/monero-miner has since been removed from Docker Hub, the popular Docker repository still lists at least 45 other cryptomining containers that have clocked millions of downloads.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.