Researchers have uncovered a new malware campaign that uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a lure, and also abuses platform-as-a-service web infrastructure tools to apparently thwart attempts at blocking command-and-control communications.

Dubbed BlackWater, the backdoor malware specifically takes advantage of Cloudflare Workers -- an offering of Cloudflare, a popular provider of website operators with content delivery network, DDoS mitigation and internet security services. As Cloudflare explains on its own website, Cloudflare Workers offer a "lightweight JavaScript execution environment that allows developers to augment existing applications or create entirely new ones without configuring or maintaining infrastructure."

These JavaScript programs enable serverless functions to run directly on Cloudflare's edge, as close as possible to the end user, where they interact with connections from remote web clients, BleepingComputer explains in a report on BlackWater threat, citing research from the MalwareHunterTeam. Under normal conditions, Workers can be used to modify a website's HTTP requests and responses, make parallel requests and disable Cloudflare features. But malicious actors are now also using them to act as a C2 server, or at minimum a proxy that acts as a front end to a ReactJS Strapi App that itself performs like a back-end C2 server. BlackWater does this by using a command line to connect to the Cloudflare Worker over attacker-established domains.

Please register to continue.

Already registered? Log in.

Once you register, you'll receive:

  • News analysis

    The context and insight you need to stay abreast of the most important developments in cybersecurity. CISO and practitioner perspectives; strategy and tactics; solutions and innovation; policy and regulation.

  • Archives

    Unlimited access to nearly 20 years of SC Media industry analysis and news-you-can-use.

  • Daily Newswire

    SC Media’s essential morning briefing for cybersecurity professionals.

  • Learning Express

    One-click access to our extensive program of virtual events, with convenient calendar reminders and ability to earn CISSP credits.