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Innocent surfers drafted into ZOMBIE ARMY by sneaky XSS vuln

Javascript snafu turned 22,000 bods into unwitting DDoSers

Zombie cloud

Visitors to a video distribution website were unwittingly turned into participants in a hacker's DDoS battle against a third-party site earlier this month.

DDoS mitigation firm Incapsula identified the video website as Sohu.TV, after the Chinese streaming site plugged a vuln that enabled the browser-based botnet attack to happen.

Sohu.TV allows its users to log into the site. The DDoS attack was enabled by a persistent XSS (cross site-scripting) vulnerability that allowed the offender to inject JavaScript code into the tag associated with profile image.

As a result, every time the image was used on the one of the site’s pages the malicious code was also embedded inside it, to be executed by every future visitor to open that page, Incapsula explains.

The traffic hijacking technique was used to flood an unnamed third-party target, a client of Incapsula's, with more than 20 million requests from 22,000 users. The size of the attack is modest in the current era of gigabit-sized crapfloods and it's the subtle and sneaky technique used to recruit unwitting zombie drones that makes the attack noteworthy.

Incapsula has a full write-up of the attack in a blog post here.

Sohu.com (Chinese for "search-fox") is China’s eighth largest website and currently the 27th most visited website in the world, according to Alexa. As its name implies, Sohu provides search services. ®

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