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Malware authors are targeting parked domains in a bid to create a wider network of compromised zombie machines.

About 100 domains parked at NameDrive, one of the top 200 websites in the world, were pointed to an "ad server" serving Trojan downloader malware. This server accounted for 10 per cent of web-based malware attacks blocked by filtering service ScanSafe.

But because this malware ad (mad) server lay one step removed from the common pattern, a series of attacks that started in June was only recently detected. ScanSafe has detected infected ads on 126 sites, the majority of which have a .de or .nl top level domain.

NameDrive and ScanSafe are working together to identify the exact mechanism of the attack, which remains under investigation. NameDrive offers a service that allows domain owners to "park" inactive domains. Targeted ads are placed on these parked domains, allowing owners to rake in a percentage whenever visitors to the domains click on the ads.

Delivering malware via an infected ad or compromised ad server is a tactic that's been used before as a small part of the growing hacker tactic of tricking potential marks into becoming infected by visiting maliciously constructed websites. Using parked domains represents another evolution in this tactic. ®

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