Security Experts:

Thousands of Secret Keys Found in Leaked Samsung Source Code

An analysis of the recently leaked Samsung source code revealed that thousands of secret keys have been exposed, including many that could be highly useful to malicious actors.

The analysis was conducted by GitGuardian, a company that specializes in Git security scanning and secrets detection. The firm’s researchers looked at the source code leaked recently by a cybercrime group calling itself Lapsus$.

The hackers claim to have breached several major companies in the past weeks, including NVIDIA, Samsung, Ubisoft and Vodafone. In many cases they appear to have obtained source code belonging to the victims, some of which has been made public.

In the case of Samsung, the cybercriminals claim to have stolen 190 Gb of data and the tech giant has confirmed that the compromised information included source code related to Galaxy devices.

GitGuardian’s analysis of the leaked Samsung source code led to the discovery of more than 6,600 secret keys, including private keys, usernames and passwords, AWS keys, Google keys, and GitHub keys.

The firm’s researchers have yet to determine how many of the exposed keys are valid. However, their analysis showed that 90% are likely associated with internal systems and “can be more challenging for an attacker to use.” On the other hand, the remaining keys — roughly 600 of them — can grant attackers access to a wide range of systems and services.

“Of the more than 6,600 keys found in Samsung source code roughly 90% are for Samsung's internal services and infrastructure, whilst the other 10%, critically, could grant access to Samsung's external services or tools such as AWS, GitHub, artifactory and Google,” explained Mackenzie Jackson, developer advocate at GitGuardian.

Casey Bisson, head of product and developer relations at code security firm BluBracket, warned that the exposure of certain keys could lead to the TrustZone environment on Samsung devices getting compromised.

Researchers have yet to determine whether the exposed keys compromise the TrustZone, which stores sensitive data — such as biometrics and some passwords — and creates a security barrier for Android malware attacks.

“If the leaked data allows malware to access the TrustZone environment, it could make all data stored there vulnerable. If Samsung has lost control of the signing keys, it could make it impossible for Samsung to securely update phones to prevent attacks on the TrustZone environment,” Bisson told SecurityWeek. “Compromised keys would make this a more significant attack than Nvidia, given the number of devices, their connection to consumers, and amount of very sensitive data that phones have.”

A few months ago, GitGuardian also analyzed the source code leaked from Amazon-owned live streaming service Twitch, from which hackers obtained and made public roughly 6,000 internal Git repositories.

GitGuardian discovered nearly 6,600 secrets inside those repositories, including AWS keys, Twilio keys, Google API keys, database connection strings, and GitHub OAuth keys, among others.

A study conducted recently by the company showed that public GitHub repositories exposed more than six million secrets in 2021 — with 3 out of every 1,000 commits exposing at least one secret.

*updated with information from Casey Bisson

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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.