Tag Archives: malware

Thousands of hacked websites are infecting visitors with malware

By Dan Goodin

(credit: Wired UK/Shuttershock)

Thousands of hacked websites have become unwitting participants in an advanced scheme that uses fake update notifications to install banking malware and remote access trojans on visitors’ computers, a computer researcher said Tuesday.

The campaign, which has been running for at least four months, is able to compromise websites running a variety of content management systems, including WordPress, Joomla, and SquareSpace. That’s according to a blog post by Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes. The hackers, he wrote, cause the sites to display authentic-appearing messages to a narrowly targeted number of visitors that, depending on the browsers they’re using, instruct them to install updates for Firefox, Chrome, or Flash.

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Source:: Ars Tecnica


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Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Kaspersky Lab)

Researchers have discovered malware so stealthy it remained hidden for six years despite infecting at least 100 computers worldwide.

Slingshot—which gets its name from text found inside some of the recovered malware samples—is among the most advanced attack platforms ever discovered, which means it was likely developed on behalf of a well-resourced country, researchers with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab reported Friday. The sophistication of the malware rivals that of Regin—the advanced backdoor that infected Belgian telecom Belgacom and other high-profile targets for years—and Project Sauron, a separate piece of malware suspected of being developed by a nation state that also remained hidden for years.

Complex ecosystem

“The discovery of Slingshot reveals another complex ecosystem where multiple components work together in order to provide a very flexible and well-oiled cyber-espionage platform,” Kaspersky Lab researchers wrote in a 25-page report published Friday. “The malware is highly advanced, solving all sort of problems from a technical perspective and often in a very elegant way, combining older and newer components in a thoroughly thought-through, long-term operation, something to expect from a top-notch well-resourced actor.”

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Source:: Ars Tecnica


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Critical Telegram flaw under attack disguised malware as benign images

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Kaspersky Lab)

Makers of the Telegram instant messenger have fixed a critical vulnerability that hackers were actively exploiting to install malware on users’ computers, researchers said Tuesday.

The flaw, which resided in the Windows version of the messaging app, allowed attackers to disguise the names of attached files, researchers from security firm Kaspersky Lab said in a blog post. By using the text-formatting standard known as Unicode, attackers were able to cause characters in file names to appear from right to left, instead of the left-to-right order that’s normal for most Western languages.

The technique worked by using the special Unicode formatting *U+202E* which causes text strings following it to be displayed from right to left. As a result, Telegram for Windows converted files with names such as “photo_high_regnp.js” to “photo_high_resj.png,” giving the appearance they were benign image files rather than files that executed code.

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Source:: Ars Tecnica


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Malicious Chrome extension is next to impossible to manually remove

By Dan Goodin

(credit: Malwarebytes)

Proving once again that Google Chrome extensions are the Achilles heel of what’s arguably the Internet’s most secure browser, a researcher has documented a malicious add-on that tricks users into installing it and then is nearly impossible for most to manually uninstall. It was available for download on Google servers until Wednesday, 19 days after it was privately reported to Google security officials, a researcher said.

Once installed, an app called “Tiempo en colombia en vivo” prevents users from accessing the list of installed Chrome extensions by redirecting requests to chrome://apps/?r=extensions instead of chrome://extensions/, the page that lists all installed extensions and provides an interface for temporarily disabling or uninstalling them. Malwarebytes researcher Pieter Arntz said he experimented with a variety of hacks—including disabling JavaScript in the browser, starting Chrome with all extensions disabled, and renaming the folder where extensions are stored—none of them worked. Removing the extension proved so difficult that he ultimately advised users to run the free version of Malwarebytes and let it automatically remove the add-on.

When Arntz installed the extension on a test machine, Chrome spontaneously clicked on dozens of YouTube videos, an indication that inflating the number of views was among the things it did. The researcher hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the add-on did more malicious things because the amount of obfuscated JavaScript it contained made a comprehensive analysis too time consuming. The researcher provided additional details in a blog post published Thursday.

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Source:: Ars Tecnica


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Google Chrome extensions with 500,000 downloads found to be malicious

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: ICEBRG)

Researchers have uncovered four malicious extensions with more than 500,000 combined downloads from the Google Chrome Web Store, a finding that highlights a key weakness in what’s widely considered to be the Internet’s most secure browser. Google has since removed the extensions.

Researchers from security firm ICEBRG stumbled on the find after detecting a suspicious spike in outbound network traffic coming from a customer workstation. They soon discovered it was generated by a Chrome extension called HTTP Request Header as it used the infected machine to surreptitiously visit advertising-related Web links. The researchers later discovered three other Chrome extensions—Nyoogle, Stickies, and Lite Bookmarks—that did much the same thing. ICEBRG suspects the extensions were part of a click-fraud scam that generated revenue from per-click rewards. But the researchers warned that the malicious add-ons could just as easily have been used to spy on the people or organizations who installed them.

“In this case, the inherent trust of third-party Google extensions, and accepted risk of user control over these extensions, allowed an expansive fraud campaign to succeed,” ICEBRG researchers wrote in a report published Friday. “In the hands of a sophisticated threat actor, the same tool and technique could have enabled a beachhead into target networks.”

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Source:: Ars Tecnica


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