The Kinsing malware operator has seized the opportunity presented by the CVE-2023-46604 critical vulnerability in the Apache ActiveMQ open-source message broker to compromise Linux systems. This flaw, allowing remote code execution, was patched in late October, but thousands of servers remained exposed to attacks.
Kinsing, a threat actor notorious for exploiting known flaws overlooked by system administrators, has a history of leveraging vulnerabilities like Log4Shell and an Atlassian Confluence RCE bug. In this instance, Kinsing exploits CVE-2023-46604 to download and execute cryptocurrency miners on vulnerable systems.
The Kinsing malware specifically targets Linux systems, utilizing the ‘ProcessBuilder’ method to execute malicious bash scripts and download additional payloads. This approach enables the malware to execute complex commands with flexibility while evading detection.
Before launching the crypto mining tool, Kinsing checks for competing Monero miners, terminating related processes and active connections. To establish persistence, the malware adds a rootkit into ‘/etc/ld.so.preload,’ ensuring its code executes with every system process start, remaining relatively hidden and challenging to remove.
As the number of threat actors exploiting CVE-2023-46604 increases, organizations across various sectors are at risk if they fail to patch the vulnerability or monitor signs of compromise. System administrators are advised to upgrade Apache Active MQ to versions 5.15.16, 5.16.7, 5.17.6, or 5.18.3 to mitigate this threat effectively.