The OpenSSF Package Analysis team has introduced the groundbreaking “Malicious Packages Repository,” marking the launch of the first open-source system dedicated to collecting and disseminating reports of malicious packages across ecosystems. This repository aims to address the increasing threat of malicious open source packages used in cyberattacks. For instance, the Lazarus Group recently employed deceptive npm packages to target blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors, underscoring the need for a centralized resource to alert the open-source community and provide a comprehensive view of threats.
A malicious package refers to a form of malware delivered as an open-source package, published on repositories such as PyPI or NPM. Unlike vulnerable code with unintentional weaknesses, malicious code is intentionally designed to compromise or harm its victims. These malicious packages are used for various attacks, including unauthorized access, data leaks, resource consumption, or data destruction, and are often undetected by conventional endpoint antivirus software.
Furthermore, the Package Analysis project’s purpose is to swiftly detect such malicious packages by analyzing packages from popular open-source repositories as they are published, capturing executed commands and network traffic. If a package is identified as malicious, a report is generated and published in the Malicious Packages repository.
Currently, different open source package repositories handle malicious packages in their unique ways, often leading to the removal of such packages without a public record. The Malicious Packages repository serves as a critical resource, aggregating reports of malicious packages discovered in open-source repositories. This database can prevent malicious dependencies from progressing through CI/CD pipelines, enhance detection mechanisms, and expedite incident response. The reports in the repository use the Open Source Vulnerability (OSV) format, enabling integration with existing tools and services and encouraging community contributions.
With over 15,000 reports of malicious packages, sourced from the OpenSSF Package Analysis project, Checkmarx security, and GitHub, the repository is already a valuable resource for the community.
Looking ahead, the Package Analysis team seeks to expand the database with contributions from security researchers and enrich reports with additional data, enhancing general countermeasures against malicious packages. The goal is to make data more accessible, enabling the community to respond promptly to attacks. To get involved, interested individuals can explore the project’s contribution guidelines, connect with the team via the OpenSSF Package Analysis slack channel, or participate in the OpenSSF Securing Critical Projects Working Group for further discussions.