Feeds

Illegal pharmaceutical ads infiltrate gov, edu sites (again)

Princeton punts penis enlargement

Security for virtualized datacentres

Hundreds of thousands of webpages belonging to businesses, government agencies, and schools have been infiltrated by scammers pushing Viagra, Tadalafil, and other drugs. The towns of Birmingham and Horwich in the UK and Princeton University in the US are among those who have been hacked.

Yahoo searches here, here, and here show the success these scammers are enjoying in plastering their ads all over the net. In all, Yahoo catalogs more than 1.5 million such pages, although not all of those appear on sites that have been commandeered.

The compromised sites, which also include Wakefield Parish Council and Purdue University, join the growing ranks of legitimate organizations to be manipulated to do the bidding of net criminals. Security researcher Don Jackson of SecureWorks said it was hard to pinpoint a common vulnerability in the compromised sites he examined. So-called SQL injections, a leading cause of many website hijackings, did not appear to be at play here.

"I don't see any kind of pattern to the app behind the sites," he said. "That makes me think the tool is brute forcing FTP passwords."

Jackson suspects those responsible have used cracking tools such as D1ez FTP Money Maker, which automate brute-force password attacks on websites. Those who click on many of the infected webpages encounter obfuscated javascript that redirects their browsers to an affiliate of medicinezone.com, a site that sells prescription drugs online, in violation of laws in the US and elsewhere.

The infection isn't exactly new. Reg reader Ron Wallis stumbled on an infected page being hosted on the Birmingham Council website three weeks ago and even went through the hassle of trying to notify someone responsible. Alas, he never got a response. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.