Feeds

Scareware package planted in ITV.com ads

Pop-up programme peril

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Updated again Users visiting the website of UK broadcaster ITV earlier this week risked exposure to a scareware package. Malware-laced banner ads that lead to download sites for the Cleanator scare package have also been served up on the Radio Times website.

Radio Times confirmed that it removed the offending ad late Wednesday morning, following initial reports of the problem on Tuesday. ITV said on Friday that it had "identified and blocked the attack". The broadcast station promised to work with its ad networks to ensure betterprotection for its viewers in future.

Cleanator is a rogue security program that shows false warning messages and misleading scan results in a ruse designed to scare punters into purchasing a "full" version of the package. Aggressive advertising tactics - including the use of Trojan downloaders - are used to distribute the software. Several security vendors (including Sophos (here), CA (here) and EMSI (here)) list Cleanator as a pest.

The attack on both ITV and Radio Times was not made from either site directly, but via malicious scripts by way of third party adverts. Other as yet unidentified sites may also be affected.

The presence of tainted ads on the ITV website was brought to our attention by Reg reader Gavin, who was prompted to install Cleanator after watching a video clip on the ITV website. "After wanting to watch a video, I was informed I had no DRM software and that I needed to install it. I reluctantly clicked yes only to be given this prompt that asks me to install 'Cleanator'," he reports.

Preliminary analysis by anti-virus experts at Sophos suggests that a PHP redirect to an Cleanator affiliate site was injected into advert traffic served up by ITV.com via third party agencies. Malware is thought to feature in the attack.

"One of ITV's affiliated advertisement sites contained a link to Gida-B. Gida-B is malicious shockwave file that in turn loads another copy of itself which loads a script to redirect you to a Cleanator site," explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Once they land on the Cleanator affiliate site, users are liable to get stuck in a pop-up loop that's difficult to escape, as explained in a blog posting (containing screenshots) by Sophos here.

Sophos reckons the people behind the attack are the same group who recently punted the Mac Sweeper scareware package, based on similarities between the two attacks. If the user browsing the tainted ads is on a Mac, they get redirected to the Mac Sweeper website. ®

Updated

Reports are coming in that Cleanator infections have also cropped up on MSN UK and the UK Press Gazette.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.