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Plot to steal cryptocurrency foiled by the npm security team

Yesterday, the npm, Inc. security team, in collaboration with Komodo, helped protect over $13 million USD in cryptocurrency assets as we found and responded to a malware threat targeting the users of a cryptocurrency wallet called Agama.

This attack focused on getting a malicious package into the build chain for Agama and stealing the wallet seeds and other login passphrases used within the application.

The details

The attack was carried out by using a pattern that is becoming more and more popular; publishing a “useful” package (electron-native-notify) to npm, waiting until it was in use by the target, and then updating it to include a malicious payload.

The GitHub user sawlysawly published this commit on Mar 8th which added electron-native-notify ^1.1.5 as a dependency to the EasyDEX-GUI application (which is used as part of the Agama wallet).

The next version of electron-native-notify was published 15 days later and was the first version to include a malicious payload. Following that Agama version v0.3.5 was released on Apr 13.

electron native notify publication timeline
  "1.0.0": "2019-03-06T23:54:33.625Z"
  "1.0.1": "2019-03-07T03:07:45.585Z"
  "1.0.2": "2019-03-07T03:10:00.491Z"
  "1.0.3": "2019-03-08T03:46:17.223Z"
  "1.1.0": "2019-03-08T04:04:55.489Z"
  "1.1.1": "2019-03-08T04:18:13.915Z"
  "1.1.2": "2019-03-08T04:29:26.857Z"
  "1.1.3": "2019-03-08T04:44:44.991Z"
  "1.1.4": "2019-03-08T04:47:23.483Z"
  "1.1.5": "2019-03-08T09:58:07.558Z" <- KomodoPlatform/EasyDEX-GUI installs package
  "1.1.6": "2019-03-23T09:28:57.679Z" <- Malicious payload introduced here
  "1.1.7": "2019-03-23T10:45:36.035Z"
  "1.2.0": "2019-04-16T02:09:56.904Z" <- Agama updated by sawlysawly to this version
  "1.2.1": "2019-05-11T11:44:21.933Z"
  "1.2.2": "2019-06-03T15:26:40.054Z"

After being notified by our internal security tooling of this threat we responded by notifying and coordinating with Komodo to protect their users as well as remove the malware from npm.

Here is a brief demonstration showing the Agama wallet sending my wallet seed to a remote server.

After launching the wallet application on the left, you see a request to `updatecheck.herokuapp…` on the right which downloads the second stage payload. Once we enter in our wallet seed you will see another request to that remote server successfully stealing our wallet seed.

What to do now

Komodo Platform has released the following statement which provides some guidance as to what to do if you were a user of the Agama wallet.

Users of npm will be automatically notified via `npm audit` if they encounter this malicious dependency in their projects.

npm, Inc. continues to grow its 24/7 security team, to invest in security infrastructure, and to bring new levels of protection to its users.