Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 12 November 2020 18:52

Cobalt Strike source code reportedly leaked on GitHub

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Cobalt Strike source code reportedly leaked on GitHub Image by Shafin Al Asad Protic from Pixabay

The source code for the well-known penetration testing tool Cobalt Strike appears to have been leaked on GitHub and immediately forked to at least 20 other accounts.

The software is used for adversary simulations and so-called red team operations, both being security assessments that can simulate what an experienced attacker can do in a network.

Malicious attackers have used it for a long time, as also legitimate security professionals, due to its quality. The only drawback is the licence fee which is US$3500 per user a year and US$2500 for a renewal.

The source code was made available on GitHub and decompiled before it was posted on the source code repository. The licence check code has been edited out.

Commenting on the leak, Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at security firm Sophos, said: "While the allegations that the Cobalt Strike source code was posted to GitHub are unconfirmed, it certainly appears to at least be a derivative of Cobalt Strike's product.

"This is unlikely to have any short-term consequence regarding criminal usage of Cobalt Strike as they are simply using stolen copies to begin with.

"Where the risk lies is in the ability to update such a powerful tool with newly discovered vulnerabilities accelerating their adoption in the criminal community.

"Only time will tell if this has an impact, but I suspect it will be business as usual for criminals for now. This is, however, even more reason for organisations to ensure they are patching their systems as quickly as possible."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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