Feeds

Fake Firefox site bundles undead adware

Zango crapware rises from the grave

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.