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Dependency confusion attack mounted via PyPi repo exposes flawed package installer behavior – The Daily Swig

Novel supply chain attack detected in the wild just days after security researcher disclosed the technique

Dependency confusion attack mounted via PyPi repo exposes flawed Python package installer behavior

The default behavior of pip, the Python package installer, leaves the software development process vulnerable to ‘dependency confusion’ attacks, a software vendor has discovered.

Use of the novel supply chain attack technique has been detected in the wild only a week after it was disclosed by its architect.

Pip’s insecure behavior highlights a “major problem in the way code is being shared and reused through node package manager [NPM], PyPi, and other online repositories”, says Henri Terho, chief R&D evangelist at Qentinal, in a blog post.

RELATED Software supply chain attacks – everything you need to know

Infiltrating the build process

The attack came to light on February 16 when a developer at the automated software testing specialist reported the mysterious failure of a build pipeline when fetching internal libraries.

The company then traced the problem to suspicious packages in the Python Package Index (PyPi) repository.

With the help of Python’s security team, these packages were blocklisted the next day (February 17) in order to prevent them from infiltrating any more builds.

Qentinal also “registered the domains that the packages were supposedly registered from” to themselves to prevent
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