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LizaMoon mass-injection attack reaches epidemic proportions

iTune URLs and 380,000 other pages poisoned

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Malware writers are using website vulnerabilities to inject malicious scripts into thousands of websites as part of an ambitious attack ultimately designed to redirect surfers to a site pimping rogue anti-virus packages.

The so-called LizaMoon mass-injection attack uses SQL injection trickery to inject a line of malicious code into compromised pages, as explained in an advisory by net security firm Websense here. According to a Google Search, over 380,000 URLs have been compromised, including several web locations associated with iTunes URLs, as part of the attack.

The count only looks at unique URLs, not infected hosts, a more meaningful metric. Even so the assault still counts as among the most widespread mass-injection attacks on record. The assault, first spotted on Tuesday, started off using the domain lizamoon.com, but since then other domains have been deployed in the attack.

The domains linked to the attack host basic JavaScript code that redirects surfers towards a well-known rogue anti-virus site. This trick only worked in cases where surfers first visited a compromised site. Downloading podcasts or music via iTunes was never a risk thanks to the architecture of Apple's service.

Patrick Runald, of Websense Security Labs, explained: "iTunes downloads RSS/XML feeds from the publisher to update the podcast and list of available episodes. We believe these RSS/XML feeds have been compromised with the injected code. The good thing is that iTunes encodes the script tags, which means that the script doesn't execute on the user's computer." ®

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