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Hackers are collecting payment details, user passwords from 4,600 sites

May 12, 2019

Same hacker group compromises Alpaca Forms and Picreel to deploy malicious code to thousands of sites.

Both hacks have been spotted by Sanguine Security founder Willem de Groot earlier today and confirmed by several other security researchers.

Picreel is an analytics service that allows site owners to record what users are doing and how they’re interacting with a website to analyze behavioral patterns and boost conversation rates. Picreel customers –website owners– are supposed to embed a piece of JavaScript code on their sites to allow Picreel to do its job. It’s this script that hackers have compromised to add malicious code.

Alpaca Forms is an open-source project for building web forms. It was initially developed by the enterprise CMS provider Cloud CMS and open-sourced eight years ago. Cloud CMS still provides a free CDN (content delivery network) service for the project. Hackers appear to have breached this Cloud CMS-managed CDN and modified one of the Alpaca Form scripts.

The malicious code embedded in the Picreel script has been seen on 1,249 websites, while the Alpaca Forms one has been seen on 3,435 domains.

Cloud CMS has intervened and taken down the CDN that was serving the tainted Alpaca Forms script. The company is now investigating the incident and clarified “there has been no security breach or security issue with Cloud CMS, its customers or its products.” Currently, there is no evidence to suggest this, unless Cloud CMS customers used the Alpaca Forms script for their sites on their own.


In the past two years, attacks like these ones have become quite common. Known as supply-chain attacks, hackers groups have realized that breaching high-profile websites isn’t as simple as it sounds, and they’ve started targeting smaller businesses that provide “secondary code” to these websites, and thousand others.

They targeted providers of chat widgets, live support widgets, analytics companies, and more.

Motivations vary depending on the group. For example, some groups have hacked third-party companies to deploy cryptojacking scripts, while others have used the same technique to deploy specialized code that steals only data entered in payment forms.

Today’s attack is different because it is quite generic, targeting every form field on a website, regardless of purpose.

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