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SQL injection taints BusinessWeek.com

Hacked pages target MBAs

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Website security in corporate America

Add BusinessWeek.com to the list of big-name sites felled by the mighty SQL injection attack.

According to Sophos, the business news site has been infected with attack code that since sometime last week has been trying to install malware on the machines of those who visit the site. The attack affected hundreds of BusinessWeek.com pages offering employment information to MBA students. On Monday, the pages pointed to a Russian website that was not online, but the site could be revived at anytime, Sophos warned.

SQL injection attacks, so called because they attack a website's SQL database, have emerged as a weapon of choice among miscreants trying to infect the PCs of the masses. Rather than spend the time and money setting up a fraudulent site that tricks users into installing a keylogger or other type of malware, bad guys have found it easier to attack legitimate sites with high readership. Other organizations that have been hit with similar attacks include the Department of Homeland Security, the Phoenix Mars website, and sites belonging to UK government agencies.

The attacks prey on servers that fail to sanitize searches and other types of user supplied data before sending them to a website's database. Once infected, the sites become a means for transmitting malware to thousands or millions of people visiting those sites.

A BusinessWeek spokesman said company security pros were still investigating the matter and said they had already determined no user information had been stolen. "The attack affected only one application within a specific section of our website and that application has been removed," he wrote in an email to The Register. ®

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