This week in malware—400+ npm packages target Azure, Uber, Airbnb developers

March 25, 2022 By Ax Sharma

12 minute read time

This week Sonatype's automated malware detection systems have caught upwards of 400 npm packages, the majority of which include dependency confusion components and typosquats targeting Azure, Uber, and Airbnb developers.

Start of this month, we reported on a sharp uptick in open source attacks after finding over 130 npm typosquats and dozens of malicious PyPI packages. And as predicted, the attacks on open source registries are continuing to surge as the cybersecurity community from across the world is focused on battling the ongoing international crisis.

288 Azure typosquats discovered

The number of dependency confusion copycats discovered by us this week is rather gigantic; too big to list them all in this blog post, but provided here with a subset of them shown below.

All of these packages are identical in their structure and have versions like 99.0.0 or 99.0.1, typical of dependency confusion candidates.

The official Azure packages are typically published under the @azure scope (namespace) on npm. The packages found by us this week, on the other hand, either contain skeleton code or simple DNS exfiltration to obtain IP address and basic fingerprinting information of the targeted machine.

azure-arm-mariadb-samples-js azure-arm-mariadb-samples-ts azure-arm-marketplaceordering-samples-js azure-arm-marketplaceordering-samples-ts
azure-arm-migrate-samples-ts azure-arm-mixedreality-samples-js azure-arm-peering-samples-ts azure-arm-postgresql-flexible-samples-js
azure-arm-powerbidedicated-samples-js azure-arm-powerbidedicated-samples-ts azure-arm-recoveryservicesbackup-samples-js azure-arm-recoveryservicesbackup-samples-ts
azure-arm-redisenterprisecache-samples-ts azure-arm-servicemap-samples-js-beta azure-arm-workspaces-samples-js azure-arm-workspaces-samples-ts
azure-core-tracing-samples-js azure-core-tracing-samples-ts azure-iot-device-update-samples-js azure-iot-device-update-samples-ts

Note, these packages appeared to have been posted in small batches from different npm accounts, possibly to avoid raising red flags. We also suspect these packages were auto-generated and published using a script, given the identical structure of these packages and the fact these are named after real Azure packages.

90 packages target Uber and Airbnb devs

The 90 dependency confusion packages targeting Uber and Airbnb developers are all identical in their structure—each of them typically has only one version (99.9.X) and contains a single line payload to exfiltrate basic system information as well as environment variables via the Telegram API:

Environment variables can contain a plethora of information about a system. From simple information such as the PATH variable, current username, and working directory, to sensitive API keys, tokens, and credentials/passwords used by applications.

Example Apple environment variable configuration file with key information redacted in gray

The packages targeting Uber and Airbnb developers are listed below:

uber-xps uber-xhr uber-white-80 uber-white-60 uber-white-40
uber-white-20 uber-white-120 uber-white-10 uber-white uber-web
uber-uuid uber-us-insurance uber-token uber-source uber-set-cookie-v2
uber-searchfield-container uber-screenflow-client-version uber-ride uber-research uber-region-id
uber-push-service uber-poet uber-partner-widget-localiza uber-origin uber-open-summit-sofia
uber-on-way-to-hospital uber-one-logged-out uber-one-genie uber-one uber-offerings
uber-mobile uber-logo-title uber-logo-desc uber-logo uber-listen
uber-go uber-freight-h2-2021-market-insights uber-freight-customer-story uber-freight-2022-market-outlook uber-for-business-product-recap-2021
uber-et-uber-eats uber-electric-scooter uber-eats-food-delivery uber-eats-app uber-eats
uber-device-os uber-device-model uber-device-location-altitude uber-device-language uber-device-ids
uber-device-id uber-device-epoch uber-device uber-developers uber-demand-channel
uber-debug uber-common uber-com uber-client-version uber-client-session
uber-client-name uber-chevron-title uber-chevron-desc uber-blue-80 uber-blue-60
uber-blue-40 uber-blue-20 uber-blue-120 uber-blue-10 uber-blue
uber-black-95 uber-black-90 uber-black-80 uber-black-60 uber-black-40
uber-black uber-app-variant testeaaa airbnb-org-sections airbnb-logo-white
airbnb-logo-red airbnb-jitney-schemas airbnb-i18n airbnb-hyperloop airbnb-for-work-sections
airbnb-for-work airbnb-dls-web airbnb-dev airbnb-bootstrap-data uber-drive

Sneaky Python cryptominer

On the Python front, a suspicious package from this week to stand out is infoglmi.

This package touts itself as "a small package" with no other description and upon installation, downloads an innocuous Linux (ELF) executable called "node," which has a clean VirusTotal detection score.

But, of note are the arguments being passed to this executable via the temporary file called '.gitler' generated by the package. On a closer look, it becomes clear the binary is a NiceHash cryptominer with a pool address (144.76.245[.]112, port 22221) being fed into it.

npm malware leveraging WebAssembly, reverse shells

Other interesting packages found this week include the mysteriously named '@0x000000000000000/util'.

This package has no clear description or a README of what it's doing but contains a WebAssembly (.wasm) binary packing in Rust lang code. We suspect this package is being used as a testing ground before an identical attack that leverages WebAssembly for outright malicious purposes can be launched.

Yet another one is a dependency confusion package called mep-widget-localizer:

In addition to exfiltrating basic fingerprinting info like username, operating system, hostname, "mep-widget-localizer" additionally spawns a reverse shell to connect to the author's IP address ( 65.21.245[.]205 on port 1337).

And the third batch of malicious npm packages consists of cron-guru, node-cron-master, and node-cron-master1. These packages yet again exfiltrate environment variables to IP address 162.246.17[.]86:

In conclusion, the variety of attacks seen month demonstrates that threats to open source registries are here to stay and constantly evolving.

"This week in malware" digest focuses on only a subset of weekly findings that are worthy of public disclosure. Our actual count of the suspicious packages flagged this week is well beyond 400, and more findings will follow in next week's digest.

Nexus Firewall users remain protected

Users of Nexus Firewall can rest easy knowing that such malicious packages would automatically be blocked from reaching their development builds. 


Nexus Firewall instances will automatically quarantine any suspicious components detected by our automated malware detection systems while a manual review by a researcher is in the works, thereby keeping your software supply chain protected from the start. 

Sonatype’s world-class security research data, combined with our automated malware detection technology safeguards your developers, customers, and software supply chain from infections.

Tags: vulnerabilities, Nexus Firewall, featured, malware prevention, DevZone

Written by Ax Sharma

Ax is a Security Researcher at Sonatype and Engineer who holds a passion for perpetual learning. His works and expert analyses have frequently been featured by leading media outlets. Ax's expertise lies in security vulnerability research, reverse engineering, and software development. In his spare time, he loves exploiting vulnerabilities ethically and educating a wide range of audiences.