Risk
7/29/2008
04:29 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Most Malicious Code Launched From Legitimate Web Sites

The proliferation of user-generated content on popular Web 2.0 sites has opened the door for hackers to plant malware, says Websense report.

Seventy-five percent of Web sites with malicious code are legitimate Web sites that have been hacked, according to a new security report issued by Websense that covers the first two quarters of 2008. This represents a 50% increase over the previous six-month period.

Stephan Chenette, manager of Websense Security Labs, said that while security vendors differ on many things, they pretty much all agree that compromised legitimate sites currently serve most of the malicious code in circulation.

And it's not just small sites being subverted to serve malware. "Sixty percent of top 100 sites are either involved in or had malicious content in last 180 days," said Chenette.

Twenty-nine percent of malicious Web attacks include code that steals data, the Websense report says. Of those attacks, 46% steal data over the Web.

Ninety of the top 100 sites are either social networking or search sites, according to Websense. More than 45% of them support user-generated content.

The problem, said Chenette, is that so many Web sites allow users to upload content, but they don't filter it carefully. He cited Google Page Creator Web pages and Blogger Web pages as "hosting a tremendous amount of malware."

"As more organizations and their employees are adopting Web 2.0 technologies for legitimate business reasons, users are given privileges such as directly editing Web content or uploading files -- potentially causing more security issues as many organizations lack the adequate security technologies and practices to enable safe Web 2.0 use," the report says. "The increase in Web 2.0 applications has allowed hackers to target users and businesses using mash-ups, unattended code injection, and other tactics providing yet another level of complexity for organizations and users that want to prevent data loss and malicious attacks."

Compounding the problem is the tendency of many Web 2.0 sites to focus more on size than on security. The Web 2.0 business model looks a lot like that pursued by the credit card industry, where high rates of fraud and payment defaults are tolerated to maximize the possible base of interest paying customers.

"If [Web sites] have more users, they are willing to take some of those security risks," said Chenette. "They find that the value of having more users is more valuable than [the risk of] having certain security flaws."

A further complication is that Web URLs are no longer a meaningful indication of the source of Web page content. Web pages now may include multiple iframes, which call out to servers that may not be apparent to the user to fetch content or code.

There is some good news, sort of. Twelve percent of Web sites with malicious code were infected using Web malware exploitation kits. That represents a 33% decrease since December 2007. Websense attributes the decline to a shift toward customized attacks as a way to avoid detection.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8148
Published: 2015-01-26
The default D-Bus access control rule in Midgard2 10.05.7.1 allows local users to send arbitrary method calls or signals to any process on the system bus and possibly execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

CVE-2014-8157
Published: 2015-01-26
Off-by-one error in the jpc_dec_process_sot function in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image, which triggers a heap-based buffer overflow.

CVE-2014-8158
Published: 2015-01-26
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in jpc_qmfb.c in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image.

CVE-2014-9571
Published: 2015-01-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/install.php in MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) admin_username or (2) admin_password parameter.

CVE-2014-9572
Published: 2015-01-26
MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 does not properly restrict access to /*/install.php, which allows remote attackers to obtain database credentials via the install parameter with the value 4.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.