Olaf Flebbe, chief software architect at European software integrator Science+Computing, is upset that software engineers have got into the habit of insecurely reusing components. This puts the organization a developer works for, as well as its clients and partners, at risk of compromise, he said.
We should note that this isn't really a problem limited to big data apps: securing package managers to fend off malicious updates is necessary for all programming languages, operating systems and areas of software development. Flebbe was speaking at the Apache Big Data conference in Seville, Spain, however, hence the big data connection.
Flebbe said miscreants can set up shop on expired web domains used by abandoned projects to push out tampered builds of code to unsuspecting coders. Another trouble area, we're told, is Maven – the Apache build manager for Java projects.
During his presentation at the Apache conference last week, Flebbe demonstrated an exploit involving Apache Flink – an open-source stream and batch-processing tool that can be installed via Maven. He showed how it was possible to fool Maven into downloading and running calc.exe rather than the legit Sysinternals tool junction.exe on a Windows system. The point was to show that it is possible to trick Maven users into unknowingly bringing malicious software onto their computers.