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Apocalyptic infection purged from PHP-Nuke.org

Better late than never

Website security in corporate America

The official website for content management system PHP-Nuke was purged of a nasty infection on Tuesday that for four days attempted to install malware on visitors' machines.

The website, which used an out-of-date version of PHP, was compromised as long ago as Friday, according to reports from Websense and Panda Labs. The infection redirected anyone visiting the PHP-Nuke front page to a series of attack sites and wasn't cleaned up until Tuesday, Sophos said.

"Here at SophosLabs we see hacked sites everyday and the majority are running PHP-driven applications such as Content Management Systems (CMS)," the blog post stated.

People who visited the site with an unpatched version of Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer and possibly other applications were exposed to exploits that silently installed malware on their computers. Despite the severity of the compromise, it was allowed to persist for more than 72 hours after it became public knowledge. Less than 12 per cent of antivirus products were detecting the malware during the early stages of the attack, according to VirusTotal, although that rate probably improved over time.

The Register was unable to reach PHP-Nuke officials for comment.

The compromise appears to be the work of the Eleonore exploit kit, which has been working overtime lately hitting sites operated by the US Treasury, among others.

It's not the first time PHP-Nuke has been reported to have security vulnerabilities, as Secunia advisories here and here show. ®

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