Cybersecurity researchers have identified a troubling case involving a counterfeit proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit linked to a previously patched WinRAR vulnerability. Discovered on GitHub by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 team, the malicious code aimed to disseminate the VenomRAT malware to users who attempted to download it.
Although the attack has been halted, this incident once again underscores the risks associated with sourcing PoCs from platforms like GitHub without conducting thorough verifications for safety.
The bogus PoC targeted the CVE-2023-40477 vulnerability, an arbitrary code execution flaw present in WinRAR versions before 6.23. The incident highlights the need for stringent scrutiny when deploying PoCs to avoid potential risks, especially when attackers are quick to exploit newly disclosed vulnerabilities.
VenomRAT, upon execution on a Windows device, acts as a keylogger, recording keystrokes and transmitting them to a locally stored text file. Furthermore, it establishes communication with a command and control server, making it a significant security threat.
The timeline of events suggests that the threat actor behind this incident prepared both the infrastructure and payload well before the public disclosure of the WinRAR flaw. This approach implies that the same attacker might exploit the heightened attention of the security community around newly revealed vulnerabilities to disseminate misleading PoCs for various flaws in the future.
This incident is part of a broader trend of attackers using GitHub to target security researchers and cybercriminals with fake PoCs, serving as a stark reminder of the need for caution and verification in the cybersecurity landscape.