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Santa's Web site hacked

Heatmiser, Coldmiser, and now we get Malwaremiser

By Robert McMillan
December 22, 2006 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - As if Santa Claus hasn't got enough to do this week, it turns out he's fighting off some very, very nasty elves.

The consumer advocacy group stopbadware.org said it was approached this week by an Incline Village, Nev., man who has legally changed his name to Santa Claus, who asked them to help figure out why his Web site was being flagged by Google Inc.'s Web site filters.

It turned out that Santa's Web site, Santaslink.net had been hacked.

On Friday, the Web site was still downloading malicious software, according to Roger Thompson, chief technology officer at Exploit Prevention Labs Inc. It exploits a bug in Internet Explorer that Microsoft Corp. patched last August, meaning that people running older versions of the browser could be at risk, Thompson said via instant message.

"The site is hacked," he said. "If you are not patched, it uses an exploit to silently install a huge amount of adware and spyware."

Claus is a children's advocate who has traveled across the U.S. meeting with legislators, according to his Web site. He also makes seasonal appearances as Saint Nick.

"He had consulted local experts, which we can only assume were elves, but they were unable to identify anything wrong with his site," wrote StopBadware.org Developer Jason Callina, in a Thursday blog posting.

"Nestled all snug in the bottom of his home page was a nice little bit of code containing a badware link," he added.

The problem was soon resolved, but alas, while good boys and girls may fall asleep waiting for a visit from St. Nicholas, there's no delay at all when you're dealing with the bad guys. On Friday, malware had again cropped up on the Web site.

Stopbadware.org was founded earlier this year, with funding from Google Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd. and Sun Microsystems Inc. as a community watchdog organization to help protect consumers from malicious software like spyware and viruses.

Callina said he's learned something from the Santa Claus experience.

"The moral of the story is that the Grinches who are looking to spread their unsafe software are willing to hack even Santa’s Web site."

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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