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Copy-paste compromise

Copy-paste compromise definition

A copy-paste compromise is a cyberattack that primarily uses publicly available open-source code or exploits known vulnerabilities. In a copy-paste compromise, the attacker may make slight modifications to the copied code, but they will not develop custom tools or equipment for the task.

Copy-paste compromises should not be confused with copy-paste attacks (also known as “clipboard hijacking”), which are cyberattacks that inject malicious code into segments copied by the victim to their clipboard.

See also: script kiddie, malware-as-a-service, anti-malware, antivirus, vulnerability, vulnerability disclosure

How copy-paste compromises work

In a copy-paste compromise, the attackers are often “script kiddies” (amateur hackers with limited knowledge of the tools they abuse) that seek to exploit their victims’ negligence. They copy open-source tools from public repositories (like GitHub, GitLab, or BitBucket) and try exploits that have already been reported by the media.

Because these tools and exploits are also available to cybersecurity researchers, software companies can study them and develop countermeasures (typically in the form of security patches). Copy-paste compromises take advantage of the fact that many people and organizations do not regularly update their software or follow cybersecurity best practices.

Stopping copy-paste compromises

  • Regularly update your operating system and software. Open-source compromises rely on their victim ignoring a publicly known vulnerability in their system.
  • Use a reliable antivirus to detect malware and remove it from your device. Open-source compromises use “off-the-shelf” malware that can be readily detected by most antivirus tools.
  • Learn about the best practices concerning cybersecurity to avoid common phishing and hacking attacks.
  • Implement continuous monitoring in your system to detect suspicious behavior and code modifications.
  • Use NordVPN to encrypt your online traffic and hide your IP address. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature also detects malware in files as you download them, blocks ads, prevents you from opening malicious links, and stops web trackers.