Researchers from Aquasec have identified a resurgence of the infamous “Meow” attack, which is now aimed at exploiting unsecured Jupyter notebooks. This automated campaign, characterized by its distinctive ‘meow’ signature, is actively targeting a significant number of publicly accessible databases on the internet, raising concerns about the vulnerability of such repositories.
In this new wave of attacks, the perpetrators exploit misconfigured Jupyter Notebook instances to execute their code. The attackers, whose infrastructure is still being investigated, have targeted a total of 1,283 distinct IP addresses.
The attack involves initiating a dash shell to gather vital victim information, including user IDs, processor details, architecture specifics, and operating system details. Following this reconnaissance, the attackers proceed to download and execute a malicious script from a shared file server, leveraging essential Python packages to carry out their malicious activities.
Notably, the attackers employ Python scripts as part of their strategy, adopting an unconventional modus operandi. Among the findings, a script labeled ‘foo’ was discovered across 1,354 IP addresses, targeting databases that utilize Elasticsearch and MongoDB.
Additionally, researchers at Aquasec also observed a script called ‘bar,’ which focuses on unsecured Hadoop clusters.These Meow attacks demand serious attention, as they operate on an automated basis and exploit well-known vulnerabilities to compromise unsecured, internet-facing databases. The potential consequences are severe, posing a global threat and potentially causing substantial harm to affected organizations.
The aftermath of previous Meow attacks underscores the magnitude of the issue, with instances like Western Digital falling victim in 2021, resulting in the erasure of petabytes of data. It is evident that Meow attackers have already caused substantial data loss across more than 4,000 databases, including high-profile platforms such as Cassandra, CouchDB, Redis, Hadoop, Jenkins, and Apache ZooKeeper.
As Meow attacks resurface after a hiatus of over a year, organizations are advised to intensify their vigilance and proactively address potential security gaps within their databases. Regular assessments and security audits are crucial to identifying vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, the implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) across devices that store sensitive organizational data is highly recommended to mitigate the risks associated with such sophisticated cyber threats.