Feeds

Alternative browser spyware infects IE

Backdoor attack

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Some useful citizen has created an installer that will nail IE with spyware, even if a surfer is using Firefox (or another alternative browser) or has blocked access to the malicious site in IE beforehand. The technique allows a raft of spyware to be served up to Windows users in spite of any security measures that might be in place.

Christopher Boyd, a security researchers at Vitalsecurity.org, said the malware installer was capable of working on a range of browsers with native Java support. "The spyware installer is a Java applet powered by the Sun Java Runtime Environment, which allows them to whack most browsers out there, including Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape and others. In the original test, only Opera and Netcaptor didn't fall for the install but Daniel Veditz, who is the head of Mozilla security, has since confirmed to me that this will also work in Opera and Netcaptor," he explained.

In the example Boyd highlights surfers looking for Neil Diamond lyrics (of all things) are served with a variety of adware and spyware packages including Internet Optimizer, sais (180 Solutions) and Avenue Media. Thereafter, if victims allow the packages to install, victims will be bombarded with pop-up ads and their computer will be reduced to a crawl. The malware doesn't install automatically but managed web security firm ScanSafe reckons the pop-up dialogue it generates is obscure enough to fool most home users.

Alternative browser adware risk

ScanSafe reports an increase in spyware of 15 per cent over the last three months of 2004 compared to the previous quarter. Adware accounted for three of the top 10 most prolific threats recorded by ScanSafe over Q4 2004. Spyware authors have thus far restricted themselves to targeting vulnerabilities in IE but ScanSafe reckons it’s only a matter of time before they turn their attention towards alternative browsers.

John Edwards, CTO of ScanSafe, said that some users migrated away from IE to alternative browsers such as Firefox after various security scares last year. He cited figures from Secunia that Firefox and IE were both subject to five advisories in the first two months of this year to support his argument that Firefox was not "bullet-proof".

"Just switching away from IE does not give adequate projection. Now that Firefox and other alternative browsers have a toehold in the market the hacking community will get busy exploiting the vulnerabilities that exist in any complex browser," he said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.