Feeds

Ad hijacking Trojan targets Google

Misdirection ruse

Boost IT visibility and business value

Security researchers have identified a Trojan that hijacks Google text advertisements, replacing them with "ads" from a different provider that are likely to be laced with spyware.

The Qhost-WU modifies an infected computer's hosts file, thereby poisoning systems with bogus DNS lookup records. The hosts file matches domain names of websites with corresponding IP addresses. By corrupting the file hackers can redirect surfers to domains controlled by hackers even when users visit a trusted location.

In this case, the modified file contains a line redirecting the host "page2.googlesyndication.com" from a server run by Google to an imposter, potentially depriving web masters of revenue while leaving infected punters in a pickle.

"This is a serious situation that damages users and webmasters alike," said Attila-Mihaly Balazs, a virus analyst at Romanian security firm BitDefender. "Users are affected because the advertisements or the linked sites may contain malicious code, which is a very likely situation, given that they are promoted using malware in the first place. Webmasters are affected because the Trojan takes away viewers and thus a possible money source from their websites."

Although damaging, the Qhost-WU Trojan hasn't spread particularly widely. BitDefender rates it as a medium risk pathogen.

Without commenting on Qhost-WU specifically, Google said it purges entries for sites containing malware from its search index. "We have cancelled customer accounts that display ads re-directing users to malicious sites or that advertise a product violating our software principles," the ad trafficking giant told Reuters. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
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
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?