Xbash Malware Targets Windows and Linux with Ransomware and Cryptomining

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Newly identified Xbash malware is targeting weak passwords and unpatched vulnerabilities on Linux and Windows systems to launch ransomware or cryptomining attacks.


Unit 42, Palo Alto Network’s research team, recently blogged about a new malicious software (malware) family it’s calling Xbash. This newly identified malware targets Linux and Windows systems that have weak passwords and unpatched vulnerabilities.

On Linux systems, Xbash will identify and delete MySQL, MongoDB and PostgreSQL databases and then seek ransom payment from victims. On Windows systems, it will initiate cryptomining and self-propagate. Organizations should be aware Xbash has no functionality to restore the deleted databases, so there is no use in paying the ransom.

Vulnerability details

Xbash targets two unpatched vulnerabilities and one patched vulnerability. The first unpatched vulnerability is an unauthenticated command execution vulnerability in Apache Hadoop YARN, which was first discovered in October 2016 but has no CVE. The second unpatched vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability in Redis, which was first discovered in November 2015 and also has no CVE. Lastly, the patched vulnerability, CVE-2016-3088, is an arbitrary file write vulnerability in Apache ActiveMQ.

Urgently required actions

To protect against the Xbash malware, we advise organizations to ensure they’re using strong and unique passwords across the board. Because two vulnerabilities remain unpatched, it is important to identify vulnerable assets and ensure they’re protected by an endpoint security product. As there is a patch available for Apache ActiveMQ, organizations should ensure they’re applying patches regularly. Finally, because Xbash targets and deletes databases, organizations should back up databases regularly and segregate them from other systems on the network.

Identifying affected systems

Tenable has plugins available to identify Redis servers. We will update with additional plugins as they become available.

Plugin ID



Redis Server Unprotected by Password Authentication


Redis Server Detection

Get more information:

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Tenable™, Inc. is the Cyber Exposure company. Over 24,000 organizations of all sizes around the globe rely on Tenable to manage and measure their modern attack surface to accurately understand and reduce cyber risk. As the creator of Nessus®, Tenable built its platform from the ground up to deeply understand assets, networks and vulnerabilities, extending this knowledge and expertise into Tenable.io™ to deliver the world’s first platform to provide live visibility into any asset on any computing platform. Tenable customers include over 50 percent of the Fortune 500, large government agencies and organizations across the private and public sectors. Learn more at tenable.com.
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