Risk
4/9/2008
01:33 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Groups Still Littered With Malware-Infected Explicit Videos

Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry says the problem is directly tied to hacks of Google's CAPTCHA security.

Malware-infected porn continues to proliferate on Google Groups pages.

To demonstrate, Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry strode purposefully through the RSA Conference exhibition hall Tuesday afternoon, toward a bank of computers set up for public use by conference attendees. From the Google Groups advanced search page, he entered the keywords "porn video" and restricted the search to the past three months.

The Google Groups search results listed 838,000 posts made between Jan. 9 and April 8 that fit the search criteria. Most of those pages, Eckelberry said, contain malware. To prove his point, he clicked through to several of the Google Groups pages hosting explicit videos. In each case, dialogue boxes popped up asking Eckelberry to agree to install phony media codecs that are actually malware.

"This is directly because of the CAPTCHA hack," Eckelberry said, noting that the conference computers could not be infected because they were completely locked down.

Certainly not every one of those hundreds of thousands of pages contains malware. The handful of top Google Groups search results Eckelberry tested were infected. (Really, there are only so many porn pages one can test for malware on a public computer at a security show.)

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. CAPTCHA images are used by online companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to ensure that those creating new accounts or posting comments or content online are individuals rather than spam bots. But increasingly, machines are able to decipher CAPTCHA images.

According to MessageLabs, the CAPTCHA systems used by Microsoft's Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were being regularly defeated last year. In late February and early March, security vendors Websense and MessageLabs, respectively, said that spammers had managed to achieve at least a 20% success rate in attempts to defeat Google's CAPTCHA system.

CAPTCHA systems can also be defeated, albeit at a slower rate, by offering inducements to people in low-wage markets to solve CAPTCHA challenges.

A Google spokesperson said that the company's security engineers continue to see significant human involvement in creating accounts for misuse.

Google continues to mount a vigorous defense of its properties, to protect both its users and its brand. Google's spokesperson noted that the company in February had closed a hole that allowed malicious users to construct a Google URL with an "I'm Feeling Lucky" redirection command that could send victims to malware sites. The question is whether a vigorous defense is enough.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0607
Published: 2014-07-24
Unrestricted file upload vulnerability in Attachmate Verastream Process Designer (VPD) before R6 SP1 Hotfix 1 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code by uploading and launching an executable file.

CVE-2014-1419
Published: 2014-07-24
Race condition in the power policy functions in policy-funcs in acpi-support before 0.142 allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-2360
Published: 2014-07-24
OleumTech WIO DH2 Wireless Gateway and Sensor Wireless I/O Modules allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via packets that report a high battery voltage.

CVE-2014-2361
Published: 2014-07-24
OleumTech WIO DH2 Wireless Gateway and Sensor Wireless I/O Modules, when BreeZ is used, do not require authentication for reading the site security key, which allows physically proximate attackers to spoof communication by obtaining this key after use of direct hardware access or manual-setup mode.

CVE-2014-2362
Published: 2014-07-24
OleumTech WIO DH2 Wireless Gateway and Sensor Wireless I/O Modules rely exclusively on a time value for entropy in key generation, which makes it easier for remote attackers to defeat cryptographic protection mechanisms by predicting the time of project creation.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.