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Trend Micro site infected users with Trojan

Virus encyclopedia served up script-injection infection

March 13, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Antivirus vendor Trend Micro Inc. confirmed Thursday that "some portions" of its site had been hacked earlier this week, but hedged when asked if those pages had been serving up attack code to unsuspecting visitors.

"I can't confirm or deny the details," said Mike Sweeny, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based security company, on Thursday afternoon. "Some pages were compromised, but we took those pages down and took corrective action hours ago." When pressed for more information, Sweeny would only say that the attack was "under analysis."

But media reports from Japan, and a blog post by a rival, U.K.-based Sophos Plc, offered more information. The English-language edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers, said Trend Micro's site was hacked around 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time (7:00 p.m. Eastern, on Saturday, in the U.S.).

"When users viewed any of the modified pages, they were reconnected to other sites without realizing it, and a type of virus was installed on their computer that causes them to download other viruses in a series," said the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Security rival Sophos added more details late Thursday in a post to its blog. There, Graham Cluley, a Sophos senior security consultant, claimed that the hack had been an SQL injection attack and included a link to an alert Trend placed on its Japanese-language site that identified the malware as JS_DLOADER.TZE. The alert also said that users could have been infected by accessing one of 11 infected pages on the Japanese site or 20 pages on the English site, or by clicking a link embedded in the malware's name. All the pages were part of Trend Micro's malware encyclopedia, a searchable database of viruses, Trojans and worms.

Sweeny, Trend's U.S. spokesman, said "about 32" pages were involved, "most of them from the encyclopedia."

Other reports speculated that the Trend Micro hack was part of the larger campaign that has infected some 20,000 pages in the past few days. According to researchers at McAfee Inc., those hacks are script-injection attacks that reference JavaScript attack code that in turn — and only after several cascading pages — leads to an executable piece of malware. McAfee's experts said the still-ongoing script-based attacks are similar to those that compromised the Web sites of both the Miami Dolphins NFL team and its Dolphin Stadium days before the 2007 Super Bowl.

Security vendors swung into action late Thursday with warnings of their own, even though information was in short supply. Symantec Corp., for example, warned customers of its DeepSight threat network of the reports of ongoing attacks. "Our honeypots are flooded with known attacks targeting older vulnerabilities in the same manner," wrote Patrick Jungles, a Symantec analyst, in the alert. "Although the attacks regularly observed by our honeynet may not all be directly related to this recent grouping, it shows that the attacks are successful enough that they warrant ongoing efforts to obtain new distribution servers."

The script-injection attack tracked by McAfee that may have struck Trend Micro's site is not the only mass infection currently plaguing users worldwide. Another campaign that began about a week ago has taken to subverting Web sites' search caches with rigged IFrames, then redirecting visitors to malicious sites that install malware.

The infected-page tally for these IFrame attacks stands at more than 401,000, according to Dancho Danchev, the Bulgarian researcher who first reported the large-scale attack.

Although a warning had been posted on Trend Micro's Japanese-language site, as of 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, nothing similar was visible on the English edition.

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.



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