GhostToken GCP flaw let attackers backdoor Google accounts

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Google Cloud Platform

Google has addressed a Cloud Platform (GCP) safety vulnerability impacting all customers and permitting attackers to backdoor their accounts utilizing malicious OAuth purposes put in from the Google Market or third-party suppliers.

Named GhostToken by Astrix Safety, the Israeli cybersecurity startup that discovered and reported it to Google in June 2022, this safety flaw was addressed by way of a world patch that rolled out in early April 2023.

After being licensed and linked to an OAuth token that provides it entry to the Google account, malicious apps may very well be made invisible by attackers after exploiting this vulnerability.

This could disguise the app from Google’s application management web page, the one place the place Google customers can handle apps related to their accounts.

“Since that is the one place Google customers can see their purposes and revoke their entry, the exploit makes the malicious app unremovable from the Google account,” Astrix Safety said.

“The attacker then again, as they please, can unhide their software and use the token to entry the sufferer’s account, after which shortly disguise the applying once more to revive its unremovable state. In different phrases, the attacker holds a ‘ghost’ token to the sufferer’s account.”

To cover malicious apps licensed by the victims, attackers solely needed to make them enter a ‘pending deletion’ state by deleting the linked GCP challenge.

Nonetheless, after restoring the challenge, they’d be supplied with a refresh token that made it attainable to retrieve a brand new entry token that may very well be used to realize entry to the victims’ information.

These steps may very well be repeated in a loop, permitting the attackers to delete and restore the GCP challenge to cover the malicious app every time they wanted entry to the sufferer’s information.

GhostToken attack flow
GhostToken assault movement (Astrix Safety)

​The assault’s impression relies on the permissions granted to the malicious apps put in by the victims.

The vulnerability “permits attackers to realize everlasting and unremovable entry to a sufferer’s Google account by changing an already licensed third-party software right into a malicious trojan app, leaving the sufferer’s private information uncovered perpetually,” Astrix Safety Analysis Group said.

“This may occasionally embrace information saved on sufferer’s Google apps, akin to Gmail, Drive, Docs, Pictures, and Calendar, or Google Cloud Platform’s providers (BigQuery, Google Compute, and many others.).”

Google’s patch permits GCP OAuth purposes in ‘pending deletion’ states to look on the ‘Apps with entry to your account’ web page, permitting customers to take away them and shield their accounts from hijack makes an attempt.

Astrix advises all Google customers to go to their account’s app management page and examine all licensed third-party apps, guaranteeing that every of them has solely the permissions they require to perform.

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