Endpoint
5/21/2010
04:34 PM
Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson
Quick Hits
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

New Threat For Wireless Networks: Typhoid Adware

Some users could become "carriers," unknowingly passing infections to others, university researchers say

There's a potential threat lurking in your Internet cafe, say University of Calgary computer science researchers: Typhoid adware.

Typhoid adware works in similar fashion to Typhoid Mary, the first identified healthy carrier of typhoid fever who spread the disease to dozens of people in the New York area in the early 1900s. "We're looking at a different variant of adware -- Typhoid adware -- which we haven't seen out there yet, but we believe could be a threat soon," says associate professor John Aycock, who co-authored a research paper with assistant professor Mea Wang and students Daniel Medeiros Nunes de Castro and Eric Lin. Typhoid adware could be spread via a wireless Internet cafe or other area where users share a nonencrypted wireless connection, the researchers say.

"Typhoid adware is designed for public places where people bring their laptops," Aycock says. "It's far more covert, displaying advertisements on computers that don't have the adware installed, not the ones that do."

The paper, which DeCastro recently presented at the EICAR security conference in Paris, demonstrates how Typhoid adware works and suggests ways to defend against it.

Typically, adware authors install their software on as many machines as possible. But Typhoid adware hijacks the wireless access point and convinces other laptops to communicate with it instead. Then the Typhoid adware automatically inserts advertisements in videos and Web pages on hijacked computers, the researchers say. Meanwhile, the carrier sips her latte in peace -- she sees no advertisements and doesn't know she is infected, just like symptomless Typhoid Mary.

The researchers offer a number of defenses against Typhoid adware. One is protecting the content of videos to ensure that what users see comes from the original source. Another is a way to "tell" laptops they are at an Internet cafe to make them more suspicious of contact from other computers.

"When you go to an Internet cafe, you tell your computer you are there and it can put up these defenses," Aycock says. "Antivirus companies can do the same thing through software that stops your computer from being misled and redirected to someone else."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-3946
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco IOS before 15.3(2)S allows remote attackers to bypass interface ACL restrictions in opportunistic circumstances by sending IPv6 packets in an unspecified scenario in which expected packet drops do not occur for "a small percentage" of the packets, aka Bug ID CSCty73682.

CVE-2012-5723
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco ASR 1000 devices with software before 3.8S, when BDI routing is enabled, allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted (1) broadcast or (2) multicast ICMP packets with fragmentation, aka Bug ID CSCub55948.

CVE-2013-6738
Published: 2014-04-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM SmartCloud Analytics Log Analysis 1.1 and 1.2 before 1.2.0.0-CSI-SCALA-IF0003 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via an invalid query parameter in a response from an OAuth authorization endpoint.

CVE-2014-0188
Published: 2014-04-24
The openshift-origin-broker in Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2.0.5, 1.2.7, and earlier does not properly handle authentication requests from the remote-user auth plugin, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and impersonate arbitrary users via the X-Remote-User header in a request to...

CVE-2014-2391
Published: 2014-04-24
The password recovery service in Open-Xchange AppSuite before 7.2.2-rev20, 7.4.1 before 7.4.1-rev11, and 7.4.2 before 7.4.2-rev13 makes an improper decision about the sensitivity of a string representing a previously used but currently invalid password, which allows remote attackers to obtain potent...

Best of the Web