Typosquatting programming language package managers

Posted on in Security • Tagged with PyPi, Npmjs.com, rubygems.org, security, Typosquatting

Edit: It seems that the blog post and the thesis caused quite some interest. Please contact me under the following mail address, since my mail server on this VPS is constantly down :/ tschachn [|[at]|] hu-berlin [[|dot|]] de

In this blog post I will show how to use the neat JavaScript library chart.js with the well-known Python web-framework Django. As a sample data set I will make use of my workout progress data between May 2016 and August 2016.

  • 17000 computers were forced to execute arbitrary code by typosquatting programming language packages/libraries
  • 50% of these installations were conducted with administrative rights
  • Even highly security aware institutions (.gov and .mil hosts) fell victim to this attack
  • a typosquatting attack becomes wormable by mining the command history data of hosts
  • some good defenses against typosquatting package managers might look like

The complete thesis can be downloaded as a PDF.

In the second part of 2015 and the early months of 2016, I worked on my bachelors thesis. In this thesis, I tried to attack programming language package managers such as Pythons PyPi, NodeJS Npmsjs.com and Rubys rubygems.org. The attack does not exploit a new technical vulnerability, it rather tries …


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