Feeds

Film review site hacked to spew malicious PDFs

Aintitcool.com attack isn't

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Hackers on Thursday exploited a vulnerability on Ain't It Cool News that redirected anyone visiting the movie review site to a server containing a malicious Adobe Reader file.

The attack targeted a vulnerable PHP script on one of AICN's servers that automatically appended the malicious link to banner ads served on the site, its publisher, Roland De Noie, said. As a result, anyone visiting the site over a 90-minute period on Thursday morning was silently redirected to speedconnection .cn which served a malicious file named annonce.pdf.

The booby-trapped PDF, according an analysis by researchers at Praetorian Prefect, exploited two vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader that the company has already fixed. When the file is opened by unpatched versions of Reader, it launches malicious shell code that hijacks the machine. Only 12 of the 41 major anti-virus programs currently detect the trojan, according to this VirusTotal analysis.

In September, Mozilla found that more than half of Firefox users used insecure versions of Adobe Flash. It wouldn't be surprising to find a similarly large proportion of the population using out-of-date versions of Reader, too.

"The point of weakness was actually our own ad server," De Noie told The Register. The unknown attackers "had cracked through a PHP server flaw and appended this link to all the ads."

AICN has yet to warn its users that they may have been attacked. De Noie said his staff was still collecting information.

The attack came as a shock to some AICN readers, many who consider themselves enthusiasts of science-fiction, fantasy and horror films.

"This didn't just happen once, randomly," one reader complained after encountering the poisoned PDF. "It's happened 9-10 times in a row as I accessed the AICN website. Specifically targeting my IP number." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.