Free software users in Russia under threat. Dangerous ransomware viruses found in it

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The number of bookmarks in Open Source since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine has increased by a couple of dozen times. Among the threats to Russian programmers, not only banners with political appeals were identified, but also encryption viruses. However, the global open source community has spoken out against these threats.

Bookmarks in Open Source

Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, the number of bookmarks in open source (Open Source) has increased 20 times. At the same time, such a tool was not popular with hackers before. Kommersant was told about this in an unnamed large information security company.

The increasing number of infections was also confirmed by Kaspersky Lab. Since February 2022, the company’s experts have identified 100 malicious elements in foreign Open Source. The infected open source software was published in various repositories (free software repositories).

Bookmarks, among other things, contain “provocative content or calls for action.” As usual, they are associated with political motives.

What bookmarks are dangerous

Threats of malicious elements consist not only in scripts that display propaganda banners, but in encryption viruses, a leading expert on import substitution of Croc software explained to Kommersant Alexander Donin.

According to him, threats were seen in the Ctx, phppass and Winbox software packages. Recently, the author of the popular node-ipc library added an encryptor virus for ip in Russia and Belarus. The virus corrupts the entire file system for users, notes CorpSoft24 Lead Engineer Mikhail Sergeev. The number of such incidents, according to experts, will only grow.

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Since February 2022, 100 malicious elements have been found in foreign open source software

The main risk here is that bookmarks integrated into open source will appear in earlier versions of the software. Developers who used it in their work before may suffer from this, emphasizes the head of the security department of Kaspersky Lab software Dmitry Shmoylov. “If a vendor consistently fails to verify the open source they use, then all users of their product can suffer,” he says.

Therefore, if only 100 malicious elements in open source were detected, many more programs could be infected in all companies that use code elements in their work, Shmoylov emphasizes.

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The global community of open source developers has already opposed such actions, said the head of research and special projects at Astra Group Roman Mylitsyn. “Such changes to the code are harmful to all users, not just those working in specific territories,” he says. Now developers around the world are fighting these threats.

Open Source in Russia

In addition to problems with bookmarks in open source software, Russian programmers faced other difficulties after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine. For example, foreign developers have announced their intention to block their source codes for Russian users.

“Many licenses have a clause on sanctions, and if the US and the EU want, they can introduce them and prohibit the use of open source software or architecture; then Russian products will not be able to receive support and updates or use such software officially,” the managing partner of the EBR law firm told Kommersant Alexander Zhuravlev.

At the same time, in Russia, by December 2022, they are going to create a repository for storing free software – an analogue of GitHub. First of all, it will include programs created with budgetary funds. Also in November 2021, the IT community offered to open a fund in Russia to create open source software.

Kristina Kholupova



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