Drudge, other sites flooded with malicious ads
IDG News Service - Criminals flooded several online ad networks with malicious advertisements over the weekend, causing popular Web sites such as the Drudge Report, Horoscope.com and Lyrics.com to inadvertently attack their readers, a security company said Wednesday.
The trouble started on Saturday, when the criminals somehow placed the malicious ads on networks managed by Google's DoubleClick, as well as two others: YieldManager and ValueClick's Fastclick network, according to Mary Landesman, a senior security researcher with ScanSafe.
The attack comes just a week after the New York Times Web site was tricked into displaying a deceptive 'scareware' advertisement for fake antivirus software from scammers pretending to be ad buyers with Vonage, an Internet telephony company.
Instead of trying to trick Web surfers into buying bogus software, these ads attacked.
They would pop up a nearly invisible window in the victim's browser that contained a maliciously encoded pdf document, which included attack code that placed a variant of the Win32/Alureon Trojan horse program on the victim's computer. Sometimes, the ads would also try to exploit a previously patched flaw in Microsoft's DirectShow software, Landesman said.
"The user would have seen a very brief opening of a blank pdf window and it would be at the bottom portion of their screen," she said. The Alureon Trojan is known to download additional malware and often hijack victims' search results, she said.
The pdf attacks apparently only affected victims with out-of-date versions of Adobe's Reader or Acrobat software, she added.
Between Saturday and Monday, the ads accounted for 11 percent of all Web pages blocked by ScanSafe's Web filtering software, a sign that many people were being presented with the malicious ads. And because the pdf pages were modified slightly every time they were displayed, most antivirus products didn't detect them.
In tests, ScanSafe found that only 3 out of 41 antivirus vendors detected the malware.
"To be honest, they were pretty clever in the way they carried this out," Landesman said. "They managed to infiltrate sites that enjoy very good traffic and they were able to use a mechanism for creating this pdf that caused it to be nearly completely undetected."
This is not the first time Google's DoubleClick has been associated with this type of malicious advertising. Earlier this year criminals placed similar ads on the home page of technology trade magazine eWeek, whose ads were managed by DoubleClick.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Cybersecurity Imperatives Reinvent Your Network Security With Palo Alto Networks The Rise of CyberSecurity
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts