Feeds

Rogue AV pimps finally show love for alternative browsers

Ruse spoofs Firefox, Chrome, Safari

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

For years, ads pimping malware disguised as legitimate antivirus programs have gone to great lengths to mimic the look and feel of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and Windows operating system. Now Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari are getting the same treatment.

A security researcher from Zscaler has recently uncovered a campaign that's tailored to the browser that the intended victim is using. Those with IE will see the same tired graphic depicting a Windows 7 security alert, but look what happens when the visitor is using Firefox.

Screen capture of Rogue AV ad spoofing Firefox

Not only does the image contain internal Firefox elements in the source code, it also spoofs the security warning the browser shows when users attempt to navigate to an address known to be malicious, said Julien Sobrier, a senior security researcher at Zscaler.

When the intended mark visits the page with Chrome, the ruse looks altogether different. The first screen shows a warning window bearing the browser's distinctive logo and the words “Chrome Security has found critical process activity on your system and will perform fast scan of system files.”

Screen capture of Rogue AV ad spoofing Google Chrome

The user then sees what purports to be a Chrome window showing a virus scan.

Screen capture of Rogue AV ad spoofing Google Chrome

Not to be left out, Safari is also spoofed, although with significantly less effort. The initial warning looks like this:

Screen capture of Rogue AV ad spoofing Apple Safari

But the scan page defaults to the look and feel of IE.

The ads are an attempt to trick visitors into believing they have infections that can be cured by the software being offered in the ad. By customizing the screens to the browser, it stands to reason, malware mongers stand a better chance of succeeding.

“I've seen malicious pages tailored in the past, but they were mostly fake Flash updates or fake codec upgrades for Internet Explorer and Firefox,” Sobrier wrote in an email. “I've never seen targeted fake AV pages for so many different browsers.”

Some of the sites that redirect to the scam include columbia.faircitynews.com, www.troop391.org, jmvcorp.com. When successful, the redirected page pushes the file InstallInternetDefender_xxx.exe, where “xxx” is a number that changes frequently. At time of writing, it was detected as malicious by just 9.5 percent of the major (legitimate) AV packages, according to a VirusTotal scan.

No doubt, Reg readers are savvy enough to spot scams like this, but what about poor Aunt Mildred, who has being told by a well-meaning relative to never, ever use the heavily targeted IE? Makes you realize why fake AV can be such a huge revenue generator.

Sobrier, who blogged about his findings here, first spotted the customized ads on Monday. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
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

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
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.