Hackers re-poison Google search results
Tainted results punt scareware
Hackers have responded to a purge of malicious links within search results by Google with a fresh effort to subvert the search giant's page rank system.
As previously reported, miscreants recently set out to poison search results with links to malware infested sites. The tactic involved gaming search engines' ranking systems by automatically posting links to malign sites in blog and forum posts. Hackers automated this link spamming process using networks of compromised zombie PCs.
Google cleaned up its search index earlier this week, but the original hackers (along with a new group) have responded with a fresh assault, reports anti-spyware firm Sunbelt Software.
Once again, plugging innocuous terms into Google, such as "funny drunk quote", can lead to search results where at least some point to malware. The tactic goes hand in hand with establishing thousands of pages on compromised servers that mention targeted terms to obtain a relatively high search engine ranking score.
Two gangs are involved in the latest wave of attacks. Both are trying to direct surfers onto malicious webpages hosted in China. One group is using the tactic to push Spy-shredder, a rogue anti-spyware program. Sunbelt reckons this group is made up of the same group of individuals that launched the original attack.
A second group is using the tactic to divert traffic to targeted sites, thereby generating illicit income through pay-per-click affiliate programmes.
Sunbelt has dissected the attack in a blog posting here. ®
No, blacklisting the entire chinanet from the civilized world is the right solution for EXACTLY the reasons you listed for not doing it. Those interests you mentioned that needs the blacklisting to drop can lean pretty heavily on chinanet to do something about the abuse. Unless chinanet can start behaving responsibly, this is going to isolate china. I have personally today added
18.104.22.168-22.214.171.124 to my distributed blacklist, and will keep the range blacklisted until I read on a reliable source that Chinanet has cleaned house. Thanks for participating. Goodbye.
I don't worry about the domain name, but when I see spam that gets psst my blocklists, I update my firewall. whois often indicates a arge (up to /11) range of IP address, and I simply block the lot against smpt and ssh. www I don't worry about, but it's just crossed my bind I should also take out imap.
As an information security specialist based in Hong Kong, I recognise that many people around here communicate with .cn addresses on a regular basis, and "add to DENY Tables on sight" would not be an appropriate response. Also take a look at international trade statistics... a lot of other people, including, perhaps, your customers or employer, need to communicate with China.
Whether or not the Chinese military is hacking, I don't know, they don't tell me. However, broadband usage is growing in China, and millions of new users getting onto the internet means millions of poorly-secured machines to be turned into zombies. A lot of the non-Chinese spam I get comes from Chinese IP addresses. I guess that most of the malicious traffic from Chinese IP addresses is from botnets controlled from elsewhere. I would expect the Chinese military to bounce their attacks through non-Chinese addresses, to conceal the source.