Feeds

Attacks spread malware with help from AppleInsider

And lawyers.com. And many more

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Malware purveyors are exploiting web vulnerabilities in appleinsider.com, lawyer.com, news.com.au and a dozen other sites to foist rogue anti-virus on unsuspecting netizens.

The ongoing attacks are notable because they use exploits based on XSS, or cross-site scripting, to hide malware links inside the URLs of trusted sites. That's something application security expert Mike Geide doesn't see often. As a result, people who expect to visit sites they know and trust are connected to a page that tries to trick them into thinking their computer is infected.

"What's interesting ... is the fact that it's embedding iframes to redirect people," Geide, who is a senior security researcher at Zscaler, told The Register. "Typically, cross-site scripting is just that - it embeds script tags so it will embed javascript to run."

The malicious links are blasted out on web forums and typically look something like:

hxxp://lawyers.com/find_a_lawyer/content_search/results.php?sCHRISTINA%AGUILERA%20ANOREXIC%20PICS%3C%2F%74%69%74%6C%65%3E%3C%69%66%72%61%6D%65%20%73%72%63%3D%2F%2F%61%73%6B%35%2E%65%75%3E

The last chunk of test is hexadecimal-encoded HTML that redirects users to ask5 .eu (a space has been added for your protection). A series of redirect links ultimately leads to a site that looks similar to a Microsoft Windows screen with a popup claiming the PC is overrun with malware. The user is prompted to download rogue anti-virus to fix the imaginary problem.

While it's not the most convincing attack we've ever seen, there's nothing to stop attackers from using the same technique to push web-based exploits, say the Adobe Reader zero-day attack that's now circulating in the wild.

The links work because appleinsider.com and the rest of the sites being abused fail to filter out harmful characters used in XSS attacks.

More about the attack is available from the Zscaler blog here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority
Let’s Encrypt to give HTTPS-everywhere a boost in 2015
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.