Make-A-Wish Foundation Website Cryptojacked Due To Old Software

Colin Muller

The website of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of terminally ill children, has been successfully targeted by unknown "cryptojackers," as detected by the web security company Trustwave.

Simon Kenin of Trustwave's SpiderLabs made the discovery, blaming an un-updated version of Drupal running on the site as the attack vector for the malware. Drupal is widely used open-source website backend manager software.

The attackers injected vulnerable Drupal versions with the freely available Coinhive mass-mining script. Kenin identified the Make-A-Wish attack as one of hundreds of websites that had been infiltrated by the same method and attacker, as recently as June 2018, according to badpackets.net. At that time, over 100,000 websites that had not updated their backend software had been vulnerable to exploits.

Kenin added that Make-A-Wish have updated their software and closed off the vulnerability, after being notified.

Crypto and Security

Cryptojacking is a fairly new internet security concern, whereby malicious mining scripts are run by unsuspecting attack victims, whose computing resources are used to surreptitiously mine cryptocurrencies on behalf of the attackers.

The phenomenon began to take hold in 2017, crescendoing at the end of 2017 and into 2018 along with booming valuations of cryptoasset prices. CryptoGlobe has reported on the recent dip - by 26 percent in Q3 - of incidence of cryptojacking that targets individuals, with an increase in malicious targeting of businesses.

The Coinhive software mines Monero (XMR) because its Cryptonight hashing algorithm runs very well on CPUs, which makes it ideal for mass pool mining. This choice is very convenient for malicious actors, because XMR is the most valued privacy-focused cryptocurrency and has rigorous privacy features which mask transactions to a high degree. CryptoGlobe recently reported on the XMR “Beryllium Bullet” upgrade, which drastically reduced transaction file sizes of the cryptocurrency, and opened up upgrade paths for even more privacy features.

Another web security problem often associated with cryptocurrencies is the menace of ransomware - and example of which was the recent targeting of the Port of San Diego - although that has been on the wane in 2018 in favor of cryptojacking, according to some experts.

GitHub Burying Bitcoin Code Beneath Mountain in Norway’s Svalbard

Michael LaVere
  • GitHub is creating a Vault Program to preserve open-source code, including that of Bitcoin Core. 
  • The data will be stored on reams of film and stored in a decommissioned mine in Norway's Svalbard archipelago. 

GitHub is burying a database of open-source code, including that of Bitcoin Core, 250 meters below the permafrost of a mountain in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. 

GitHub announced the project as a plan to preserve open-source software for future generations. According to their 2020 Artic Vault program, the developer community is creating a “snapshot” of active repositories on GitHub in order to safeguard an important part of technological history. The code will be copied onto film reels and placed in steel containers designed to last at least 1,000 years. 

The project’s official page reads, 

As today’s vital code becomes yesterday’s historical curiosity, it may be abandoned, forgotten, or lost. Worse, albeit much less likely, in the case of global catastrophe, we could lose everything stored on modern media in a few generations.

GitHub says the artic code vault will be located in a decommissioned coal mine in the Svalbard archipelago, which is closer to the North Pole than the Arctic Circle. 

The Vault program also intends to create multiple copies of the open-source data on an ongoing basis that will include various data formats and locations. 

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com