Feeds

Beware of toxic blogs

Plan 9 from cyberspace

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Toxic blogs are been used to distribute malware and keyloggers, censorware firm Websense warns. Websense Security Labs said it has discovered "hundreds of instances" of blogs involved in the storage and delivery of harmful code this year. Anti-virus firms question why Websense has singled out blogs as a particular security risk but Websense does come up with at least one concrete example of the trick having been used in anger.

According to Websense, blogs can be attractive vehicles for hackers for several reasons — blogs offer large amounts of free storage, they rarely require any identity authentication to post information, and most blog hosting facilities do not provide antivirus protection for posted files.

In some cases, the culprits create a blog on a legitimate host site, post viral code or keylogging software to the page, and attract traffic to the toxic blog by sending a link through spam email or instant messaging (IM) to potential victims. Alternatively the blog can be used as a storage location from which PCs infected with Trojans "phone home" to get updated attack code.

For example, Websense Security issued an alert in late March detailing a spoofed email message that attempted to redirect users to a malicious blog that would run a Trojan horse designed to steal banking passwords. Targets received a message spoofed IM message, offering a new version of MSN Messenger. Upon clicking the link, the user was redirected to a blog page, which was hosting a password-stealing keylogger called bancos.ju.

"These aren’t the kind of blog websites that someone would stumble upon and infect their machine accidentally. The success of these attacks relies upon a certain level of social engineering to persuade the individual to click on the link," said Dan Hubbard, senior director of security and technology research for Websense. The firm says the risk from corrupt blogs is another good reason for firms to deploy layered security defences, such as its own Web Security Suite—Lockdown Edition.

Pete Simpson, ThreatLab Manager at security firm CLEARSWIFT, and maintainer of an IT security web log, questioned why Websense has singled out corrupted blogs as a particular security risk. "A web page is just a web page. If they were talking about spreading malware via RSS feeds I'd be more concerned," he said.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, commented that the risk Websense highlights only applies to blogs that allow code to be posted as comment. Neither CLERASWIFT nor Sophos has noted the tactic as a common attack vector though both say the use of corrupt blogs to spread malware is a possibility. ®

Related stories

Porno blog spam turns nasty
Interview with a link spammer
UK police issue 'vicious' Trojan alert

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.