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With Docker gaining popularity as a service to package and deploy software applications, malicious actors are taking advantage of the opportunity to target exposed API endpoints and craft malware-infested images to facilitate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and mine cryptocurrencies.

According to a report published by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 threat intelligence team, the purpose of these Docker images is to generate funds by deploying a cryptocurrency miner using Docker containers and leveraging the Docker Hub repository to distribute these images.

“Docker containers provide a convenient way for packaging software, which is evident by its increasing adoption rate,” Unit 42 researchers said. “This, combined with coin mining, makes it easy for a malicious actor to distribute their images to any machine that supports Docker and instantly starts using its compute resources towards cryptojacking.”

Docker is a well-known platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution for Linux and Windows that allows developers to deploy, test, and package their applications in a contained virtual environment — in a way that isolates the service from the host system they run on.

The now taken down Docker Hub account, named “azurenql,” consisted of eight repositories hosting six malicious images capable of mining Monero, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency.

The malware author behind the images used a Python script to trigger the cryptojacking operation and took advantage of network anonymising tools such as ProxyChains and Tor to evade network detection.

The coin mining code within the image then exploited the processing power of the infected systems to mine the blocks.

images from Hacker News