Attack hits Web servers with outdated Linux kernels
Cisco said the attack compromises legitimate websites to redirect visitors to malicious ones
IDG News Service - Web servers running a long-outdated version of the Linux kernel were attacked with dramatic speed over two days last week, Cisco Systems said on Thursday.
All the affected servers were running the 2.6 version, first released in December 2003, of the Linux kernel, which is the core of the operating system. Most were running a 2.6 Linux kernel version released in 2007 or earlier, wrote Martin Lee, technical lead of Threat Intelligence for Cisco.
"Systems that are unmaintained or unsupported are no longer patched with security updates," Lee wrote. "When attackers discover a vulnerability in the system, they can exploit it at their whim without fear of it being remedied."
"The two-stage process allows attackers to serve up a variety of malicious content to the visitor," Lee wrote.
The visitor is then served pay-per-view fraud pages, which load up advertisements. Other clues indicate some visitors may be served malicious software, he wrote.
One in 15 of Cisco's clients using its Cloud Web Security product had one of their users attempt to request one of the malicious URLs, Lee wrote. The company saw 400 distinct hosts, with a high number in the U.S. and Germany, affected on March 17 and 18, showing "the spread of this attack has been dramatic," he wrote.
About 2,700 URLs have been affected. Because the attack centers on compromising legitimate websites, "security awareness campaigns that train users to be wary of unknown websites may not be effective against trusted websites that become compromised to serve malware," Lee wrote.
The campaign highlights the need for system administrators to continually update their systems.
"Large numbers of vulnerable unpatched systems on the Internet are tempting targets for attackers," Lee wrote. "Such systems can be used as disposable one-shot platforms for launching attacks."
Send news tips and comments to email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk
- Transforming Information Security: Future-Proofing Processes This report provides a valuable set of recommendations from 19 of the world'd leading security officers to help organizations build security strategies for...
- The Evolution of Corporate Cyberthreats Cybercriminals are creating and deploying new threats every day that are more destructive than ever before. While you may have more people devoted...
- 3 Questions to Ask Your DNS Host about Lowering DDoS Risks Neustar has had wide-ranging conversations with clients wanting to know how they can optimize protection as DDoS attacks increase in frequency and size.
- The Danger Deepens: 2014 Neustar Annual DDoS Attacks and Impact Report This report compares DDoS findings from 2013 to 2012, based on a survey of 440 North American companies, including 139 businesses delivering technology...
- Establish Cyber Resiliency: Developing a Continuous Response Architecture Many enterprises fail to proactively prepare the battlefield for a data breach by only leveraging outdated techniques that focus on the perimeter or...
- An Incident Response Playbook: From Monitoring to Operations As cyber-attacks grow more sophisticated, many organizations are investing more into incident detection and response capabilities. In this webcast, learn how to develop... All Cybercrime and Hacking White Papers | Webcasts