Feeds

AVG, Avira and WhatsApp pwned by hacktivists' DNS hijack

Chatty, security-conscious surfers sent to pro-Palestine website instead

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The websites of freebie antivirus vendors AVG and Avira as well as mobile messaging service WhatsApp appear to have been hit by a DNS redirection attack today which sent users to pro-Palestinian websites.

A team of hacktivists calling themselves KDMS have claimed credit for the hacks.

Visitors to avg.com were greeted by a rendition of the Palestinian national anthem (via an embedded YouTube video) and a message from a pro-Palestinian group calling itself the KDMS Team, instead of the usual security tips and links to anti-malware downloads.

"It’s clearly embarrassing for a security company to be hit in this fashion by hackers, but there is no indication that any customer information or sensitive data has been compromised," writes Graham Cluley, a veteran of the antivirus industry turned independent security consultant. "It’s possible that the hackers managed to change the website’s DNS records, redirecting anyone who attempted to visit www.avg.com to a different IP address."

A blog post by Cluley - featuring a screen-shot of the AVG defacement - can be found here.

Security experts were quick to discover that all three victims use hosting biz Network Solutions as their DNS provider. Hackers may have exploited security shortcomings at Network Solutions to alter DNS records and so gain control of their targets' domains.

The KDMS team claims an affiliation with Anonymous Palestine. The same group pulled off a similar DNS hijack / redirection attack against the website of hosting firm leaseweb.com over the weekend.

LeaseWeb's statement on the attack can be found here.

Leaseweb denied earlier reports that a vulnerability in its WHMCS billing and support system software might have been responsible for the hijack, but without naming a cause. The hosting firm is seeking to play down the significance of the attack, which it characterises as regrettable but superficial and quickly resolved.

Update

A spokeswoman for AVG said: "AVG can confirm today that it has had a select number of online properties defaced as a result of our DNS provider being compromised. A number of other companies appear to have been similarly targeted. The situation is being monitored and assessed. Customers are our priority and AVG is working hard to resume normal service levels to its customer base."

An Avira spokesperson said: "Today we have experienced a major disruption in our DNS service. It appears that several websites of Avira as well as other companies have been compromised by a group called KDMS. The websites of Avira have not been hacked, the attack happened at our internet service provider, Network Solutions."

El Reg has also contacted Network Solutions for comment, but they had not responded at the time of publication. We'll update if we hear more. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Reg reader Kevin G, who was the first to advise us that AVG website visitors were getting their surfing sessions hijacked, as well as correctly diagnosing the DNS chicanery behind the attack.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.