Researchers at Proofpoint reported that crooks are abusing free code repositories on GitHub to host phishing websites and bypass security defenses. Experts discovered that cybercriminals are abusing the GitHub service since at least mid-2017.
The phishing websites were hosted on the canonical $github_username.github.io domain. Attackers are using stolen brand graphics to make their pages resemble the brand they were abusing.
“Since at least mid-2017, phishers have also been abusing free code repositories on the popular GitHub service to host phishing websites on the canonical $github_username.github.io domain.” reads the post published by Proofpoint. “threat actors establish a canonical code repository site within the github.io canonical domain that resembles the brand they are abusing.”
The inspection of the lookalike GitHub account used by crooks revealed
the files in the phishing kit are viewable as follows, experts noticed that the HTML code is lightly encoded in order to obfuscate the content.
The code sends credentials provided by the users in an HTTP POST request to another compromised site under the control of the attackers.
The phishing kits do not use typical hosted PHP methods because the github.io platform does not provide PHP back-end services.
Experts observed that cybercriminals in some cases used the github.io domain as a traffic redirector with the intent to ensure that the actual phishing page remains live for a bit longer.
The drawback in using public GitHub accounts it that security researchers have major visibility into the threat actors’ activity and on the changes to their phishing pages.
Proofpoint identified a particular user, “greecpaid,” who manages several phishing kits hosted on GitHub repositories.
Proofpoint reported its findings to GitHub that took down the accounts hosting phishing kits.
“In the past, threat actors have been able to evade detection by using well-known and trusted consumer cloud, social networking, and commerce services to host files as well as web hosts. Microsoft’s free accounts on the GitHub service, which have typically been used for Open Source and other public software development repositories, are equally vulnerable to widespread abuse,” Proofpoint concludes.