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Security researchers have found a treasure chest of FTP passwords, some from high profile sites, on an open cybercrime server.

Jacques Erasmus, CTO at security tools firm Prevx, stumbled across a site where a Trojan is uploading FTP login credentials captured from compromised machines. So far, Erasmus has found logins for ftp.bbc.co.uk, ftp.cisco.com, ftp.amazon.com, ftp.monster.com and, even security sites including ftp.mcafee.com and ftp.symantec.com along the extensive list of more than 68,000.

Other login credentials refer to the Bank of America, one of the few organisations PrevX has had time to notify directly at the time of writing.

Initial investigations suggest the logins were swiped during the last two weeks and that at least some remain valid. The breach therefore opens the door for hackers to upload drive-by download scripts and other nasties onto compromised sites. PrevX is running scans to detect rogue iFrames on potentially vulnerable sites, and is yet to see any evidence that this has actually happened.

Erasmus explained that the FTP login data is getting uploaded by a variant of the zbot Trojan onto a server hosted in China, where they are stored in plain text and thus potentially open to all and sundry to find and abuse. PrevX has filed an abuse complaint against the site with the hosting provider.

"The data is harvested from users' machines, when they get infected," Erasmus explained. "A typical scenario might be that a web designer for one of the organisations gets infected, his stored ftp login details gets compromised, and so the attacker in this case is able to log in to the ftp site and compromise the website pages."

"It's the biggest compromise of its type I've seen," Erasmus told El Reg. ®

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