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IndiaTimes website 'attacks visitors'

Targets multiple vulns, some new

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Visitors to the IndiaTimes website are being bombarded by malware, some of which appear to target previously unknown vulnerabilities in Windows, a security researcher warns.

In all, the English-language Indian news site is directly or indirectly serving up at least 434 malicious files, many of which are not detected by antivirus software, according to Mary Landesman, a senior security researcher at ScanSafe. She said at least 18 different IP addresses are involved in the attack.

"The end result of the compromise is that the user, going through their normal course of activities, is subject to a really massive installation of malicious files," she told us. "Coupled with the low detection by antivirus vendors, it does put the end user in a very vulnerable position."

Visitors can be infected even if they have up-to-date systems and they don't fall victim to tricks to install software or browser add-ons, she said. She urged people to avoid the site until it's been cleaned up.

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is in full swing in India and Landesman is concerned webmasters for the site may be hard to reach over this holiday weekend.

"Our hope is they'll cut their holiday short and take care of this before Monday," she said.

She said most pages on the IndiaTimes site are clean. Those that are infected, however, contain a potent cocktail of downloader and dropper Trojans and other binaries. They contain a script that points to remote sites, some of which link to still other sites. The malicious files exploit multiple vulnerabilities, and some appear to be previously unknown flaws in Windows, according to Landesman, who used to be a security researcher for Microsoft.

A Microsoft spokesman said he was looking in to the report.

ScanSafe first detected and began blocking the malware on the IndiaTimes on October 25. The site was continuing to serve malware at time of writing. ScanSafe's advisory is here. ®

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