Feeds

Anatomy of a malware scam

The evil genius of XP Antivirus 2008

The essential guide to IT transformation

Anyone who has a blog has probably seen blog spam; comments to the blog that simply try to entice people to go to some other site. Most of the time the site being advertised is simply trying to boost its search engine rankings to generate more ad revenue.

The more links there are to a site, the more popular the search engines figure it is, and the higher up in the search results it ends up. Blog spam, therefore, is frequently thought to be a good way to boost the search engine rankings. In some cases this turns malicious. Some sites engage in wholesale intellectual property theft to boost their rankings.

A few of weeks ago, however, I started noticing something far more insidious. I moderate all comments to my blog. This is something I started years ago to keep the blog somewhat family friendly, and to avoid propagating malicious content. Recently I also completely disabled trackbacks to avoid boosting the search engine rankings for sites that steal my work. This means I see every comment that comes into my blog. The other day I noticed one that contained nothing more than a link to a fake Google site: google-images.google-us.info/index.html.

This looked very suspicious to me so I made a note of it. Over the next several weeks I noticed a lot more of these, not only pointing to Google but also to Yahoo and MSN. The servers they pointed to all had the same basic structure, such as google-homepage.google-us.info, msn-us.info, yahoo-us.info, etc. Every one resolves to the same IP address: 124.217.253.8. That IP address is registered to Piradius.net in Singapore. The server appears to be hosted out of Kuala Lumpur. The domains, however, are registered in Ukraine:

Registrant Name: ermua 

Registrant Organization: santa banta 

Registrant Street1: lenina str. 43/67 

Registrant City: Kiev 

Registrant State/Province: 

Registrant Postal Code: 0444 

Registrant Country: RU 

Registrant Phone: 044.763238 

Registrant Email: yura_gpz@mail.ru

Domaintools.com confirms this. You will soon see a related domain, xpantivirus.com. That one is registered to Chebotarev Oleksandr, in Odessa, Ukraine. This had me very curious and I wanted to know more about what this site was attempting to achieve. Consequently, I fired up a virtual machine and started investigating. What I found was an interesting tale of trickery.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Next page: The First Hint

More from The Register

next story
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'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.