Feeds

Rogue AV pimps finally show love for alternative browsers

Ruse spoofs Firefox, Chrome, Safari

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
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.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.