Security Experts:

Hundreds of Git Repositories Held for Ransom

Cybercriminals have been wiping GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket repositories and asking their owners to pay a ransom to recover the data. The impacted Git service providers believe the attackers have used compromised credentials to access accounts.

Developers started reporting a few days ago that their Git repositories had been deleted and that they were presented with a ransom note demanding 0.1 bitcoin for the recovery of the data.

“To recover your lost code and avoid leaking it: Send us 0.1 Bitcoin (BTC) to our Bitcoin address 1ES14c7qLb5CYhLMUekctxLgc1FV2Ti9DA and contact us by Email at admin(at)gitsbackup.com with your Git login and a Proof of Payment. If you are unsure if we have your data, contact us and we will send you a proof. Your code is downloaded and backed up on our servers. If we don‘’t receive your payment in the next 10 Days, we will make your code public or use them otherwise,” the ransom note reads.

The attack has targeted users of GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket, and there appear to be hundreds of victims. However, the bitcoin address from the ransom note shows that none of them has paid the ransom.

GitLab, GitHub and Bitbucket have investigated these incidents and they all believe the attacks involve compromised credentials. The service providers are working with impacted customers to help them restore their repositories.

It appears that the attackers -- at least in some cases -- obtained credentials for the compromised accounts from .git/config files. Bad Packets has confirmed that the attackers scanned the web in search of exposed Git credentials.

“We have identified affected user accounts and all of those users have been notified. As a result of our investigation, we have strong evidence that the compromised accounts have account passwords being stored in plaintext on a deployment of a related repository,” Kathy Wang, Director of Security for GitLab, told SecurityWeek. “We strongly encourage the use of password management tools to store passwords in a more secure manner, and enabling two-factor authentication wherever possible, both of which would have prevented this issue.”

Related: GitHub to Warn Users on Compromised Passwords

Related: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Patched in Git

Related: GitLab Patches Domain Hijacking Vulnerability

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.