Feeds

Fake Firefox site bundles undead adware

Zango crapware rises from the grave

Website security in corporate America

Adware slingers have taken advantage of the buzz around the latest version of Firefox to establish a fake browser download site.

The counterfeit Firefox download site is disguised as a kosher browser download site and might easily fool the unwary. A closer look, however, reveals the version of Firefox on offer is version 3.5 (instead of the latest 3.6 version supplied by Mozilla). In addition, terms such as "Anti-Pishing" (sic) are misspelled on the glossy counterfeit download site.

Web users taken in by the scam will wind up downloading browser software contaminated with the Hotbar toolbar from Pinball Corp, formerly Zango. The software bombards marks with irksome pop-up ads while also further slowing performance by loading the Hotbar weather application in the system tray.

Security firm eSoft, which documents the risk here, reckons that the ruse is more likely the brainchild of a rogue Pinball agent rather than the firm itself. Pinball rewards its pay-per-install affiliate with up to $1.45 per install, eSoft adds.

Users looking to get the latest version of Firefox are advised to go to Mozilla's getfirefox.com site. eSoft has blocked access to the fake site for users of its technology. Other vendors can be expected to follow suit.

Zango was repeatedly obliged to defend itself against accusations that its ad-serving software was distributed without the informed consent of users. Security firms routinely categorised Zango's software as adware, sparking unsuccessful lawsuits against Kaspersky Lab and PC Tools in 2007. Its PR staff tenaciously held the line that any problems were down to rogue affiliates, which it was in the process of culling even before it paid the FTC to settle a privacy lawsuit back in 2006.

However its chief tormentors - Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, and Chris Boyd, former security researcher at Facetime Security - continued to document evidence of malpractice by Zango years after the FTC settlement. Zango went titsup last April, but its Hotbar technology lingers on the interwebs, as evidenced by the fake Firefox download ruse. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.