Help us figure this out: Scans for Apache "Nifi"

Published: 2023-05-23
Last Updated: 2023-05-23 16:45:26 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
3 comment(s)

Please let me know if you have any idea what they are trying to do here :)

I noticed today that our honeypots detected a few scans for Apache "Nifi." Nifi is a Java-based system that allows for the routing of data. It will enable you to select data from a source (let's say from a CSV file) and output it to a database. Numerous sources and destinations are supported. Dataflows are created via a web-based GUI. One critical use case of Apache Nifi is to prepare and import data into machine learning systems.

Today, I noticed a spike in requests for the URL "/nifi", the default URL used for the NiFi GUI.

Almost all the reports come from the same user-agent and IP address:

User-Agent: Go-http-client/1.1
Source IP:

The source IP, located in the Ukraine, has a history of scanning for various vulnerabilities, but nothing I would assign to a particular bot. Just "random" URLs like:

  • /boaform/admin/formLogin

There are a couple other IPs and User-Agents used to scan for Nifi: - Claiming to use headless chrome on Linux and Chrome on Windows. Reasonably recent versions so they may be real user agents. - Claiming to use Chrome, but ancient versions so I assume these user agents are fake

Both of these IPs are part of Qwest/CenturyLink/Lumen. at least used to be part of Paloalto.

But the real question: What are they looking for? Trying to steal data from badly secured NiFi installs? Poisoning ML data? cryptomining... ? There isn't a vulnerability that I would consider, other than bad configurations with no/weak/default passwords.

Let me know if you use NiFi, and if you have an idea what they may be looking for.



Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D. , Dean of Research,

3 comment(s)


They scanned our public /24 network over the last couple of days on port 8080. They died at our geofence so I don't have much more to offer than that.
I saw scanning my webserver at irregular intervals using a version of firefox relased in 2019 claiming to be using an Ubuntu Linux x86_64 operating system. They were trying to send a POST request to a page /boaform/admin/formLogin with a referer of "http://<ip-address>:80/admin/login.asp".

I also had the show up on logs for blocked connection attempts to udp port 500, on my home network.

hope this helps,
- Nick
I think the play is "data laundering" to hide exfiltration.

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