Feeds

Feeling left out? Get your PC infected today!

Spoof malware campaign racks in the hits

Reducing security risks from open source software

A spoof ad campaign offering surfers the chance to infect their PCs with malware has drawn plenty of interest.

In an experiment, a security researcher bought a Google ad campaign to promote a site ostensibly offering to infest visitors' Windows PCs with computer viruses. The "click here to be infected" campaign was displayed 259,723 times and clicked on 409 times, at a click-through rate of 0.16 per cent or around one in 500. The cost of the six-month campaign was $23, or around 5c per chance to infect a PC.

That's the kind of figure that might be recouped by selling access to compromised zombie machines, providing hackers had enough funds up front, although there are undoubtedly cheaper ways to achieve the same objective. "I'm sure I could get much more traffic with a higher Google Adwords budget and a better designed ad," Didier Stevens writes.

The ad was pretty unambiguous in its intent:

Drive-By Download Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!

Users clicking on the ad were directed to the domain drive-by-download.info domain. Domain featuring .info are notorious for hosting malware. In this case, no malware or scripts were ever hosted on the site, but those visiting the site weren't to know it was just an experiment.

It'd be nice to think that those that clicked on the ads were cyber-savvy types with fully patched systems who were simply curious about the bizarre offer. But we doubt it.

As the SANS' Institute's Internet Storm Centre notes, the experiment provides evidence that some people will "click on anything".

Tricking users into visiting sites contaminated with malicious scripts has begun to outpace malware-infected email as the main means to deliver malware over recent months. Didier Stevens' experiment provides evidence that such malware trickery might be effective even without convoluted redirection chains or elaborate deception schemes, further illustrating how dangerous it is to visit "dodgy" websites. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.