Level 37
Top poster
Feb 4, 2016
Threat actors are hijacking Alibaba Elastic Computing Service (ECS) instances to install cryptominer malware and harness the available server resources for their own profit.
Alibaba is a Chinese technology giant with a global market presence, with its cloud services being used primarily in southeast Asia.

In particular, the ECS service is marketed as offering fast memory, Intel CPUs, and promising low-latency operations. Even better, to protect against malware such as cryptominers, ECS comes with a pre-installed security agent.

Hackers remove ECS security agent to install miners​

According to a report by Trend Micro, one of the issues with Alibaba ECS is the lack of different privilege levels configured on an instance, with all instances offering root access by default.

This makes it possible for threats actors who gain access to login credentials to access the target server via SSH as root without any preparatory (escalation of privilege) work.