Alert: AndroxGh0st Botnet Targets Cloud Services in Sophisticated Cyberattack


In a critical development that underscores the escalating cyber threats facing cloud environments, researchers and government agencies have raised the alarm over a new malware, AndroxGh0st, that’s forging a botnet aimed at high-profile cloud applications. This burgeoning threat targets giants such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Office 365, SendGrid, and Twilio, pilfering confidential information and exploiting vulnerable networks.

The Emergence of AndroxGh0st

First identified by Lacework researchers in 2022, AndroxGh0st has rapidly evolved, demonstrating a wide array of malicious capabilities. The malware specializes in scouring for .env files—repositories of sensitive configuration data including credentials and tokens—thereby posing a significant risk to organizations relying on cloud services. The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have highlighted the multifunctionality of AndroxGh0st, including its ability to exploit the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for scanning, exploiting exposed credentials, and deploying web shells.

Exploiting Vulnerabilities

AndroxGh0st employs various tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to infiltrate networks, notably exploiting known vulnerabilities such as CVE-2017-9841, which allows the remote execution of PHP code via PHPUnit on susceptible websites. Additionally, the malware targets Laravel applications, exploiting flaws like CVE-2018-15133 and CVE-2021-41773 in Apache HTTP Server versions, to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

The Growing Threat to Cloud Environments

This latest threat vector exemplifies the ongoing risks cloud infrastructures face and dispels the misconception of inherent cloud security. AndroxGh0st not only seeks out exposed .env files but also employs brute force attacks to crack SMTP servers, facilitating cryptojacking, spamming, and malicious email campaigns. The malware’s capability to elevate permissions and maintain persistence within cloud environments further complicates the security landscape.

Government and Industry Response

The concerted effort by the FBI, CISA, and cybersecurity researchers to identify and understand the implications of AndroxGh0st’s activities has led to crucial insights into the malware’s operations. By mapping out the IOCs and TTPs associated with AndroxGh0st, authorities are better equipped to thwart these cyberattacks and protect sensitive cloud-based data.

Mitigating the Threat

To combat this sophisticated threat, organizations must adopt a proactive and comprehensive security posture. Regularly updating and patching vulnerable systems, securing .env files, and employing robust detection mechanisms are critical steps in safeguarding against AndroxGh0st and similar cyber threats. Awareness and adherence to cybersecurity best practices can significantly reduce the risk posed by these malicious actors.


The rise of AndroxGh0st underscores the ever-present need for vigilance and robust security measures in the cloud computing realm. As cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics and target cloud services, organizations must remain steadfast in their commitment to cybersecurity, ensuring the protection of their digital assets against these evolving threats. The collaborative efforts of government agencies, cybersecurity firms, and the broader tech community are pivotal in navigating this challenging landscape and securing our digital future.

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