Feeds

Illegal pharmaceutical ads infiltrate gov, edu sites (again)

Princeton punts penis enlargement

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.