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Creditsafe suspends website in wake of drive-by download attack

Precautionary disconnect

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

UK credit reference and credit recovery agency creditsafe.co.uk took its site offline on Tuesday, as a precaution, following a hacking attack. The site remains offline at the time of writing on Wednesday afternoon.

Miscreants planted malicious code on Creditsafe Limited's1 website. This code had the effect of redirecting surfers to a hacker controlled website that attempted to drop malware onto the PCs of surfers, likely using unlatched browser exploits or similar methods

Hackers often plant malicious code on legitimate sites as part of so-called drive-by download attacks. In the case of Creditsafe, the attack spawned concerns that its email and internal systems might also have been compromised.

The possibility that customers' personally identifiable information was also exposed was quickly discounted. Following a review, creditsafe concluded that its internal systems were also safe.

In a statement on its site, Creditsafe said it planned to restore its website to normal as soon as possible. A representative of the firm told El Reg that it hoped to restore the site either later on Wednesday afternoon or on Thursday. The initial attack itself remains under investigation, and it's not clear what kind of malware was been punted via the assault.

Creditsafe promises to update the status of its site via its Twitter feed.

Although Creditsafe's action disrupted its business it was wise to take its website offline while it established the scope of the breach against its systems. Consumers, in general, are more sensitive to the leak of personal information following high-profile breaches involving Sony, marketing outfit Epsilon and others over recent weeks.

Oddly these incidents seem to have more of an effect than hacks that exposed credit card details and resulted in fraud to customers of TJX and Heartland in previous years.

Firms in the financial service sector, in particular, need to be especially risk-averse, assuming the worst for the sake of their customers - as well as their own longer-term reputations.

1 Creditsafe Limited should not be confused with Creditsafe Business Solutions Limited, a separate firm unaffected by the security flap affecting its near-namesake.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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