Vulnerabilities / Threats
7/20/2011
02:24 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Warns Searchers Of Windows Malware Infection

Google has started alerting users running Windows about a specific form of local malware it can detect through network traffic flows.

10 Massive Security Breaches
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: 10 Massive Security Breaches
Hundreds of thousands of people using Google Search have seen this message atop a search results page recently: "Your computer appears to be infected." While finding malware on one's computer can be disconcerting, it's also disconcerting to consider that Google appears to know what's on your computer.

In fact, Google doesn't know about your applications, apart from those you use to access Google services on the Internet. If the company has identified malware on your computer, it's because your computer is probably infected with malware that hijacks Google search results and redirects search traffic to websites for payment.

For years, Google has presented alerts about websites in its search index that it believes may have been compromised to serve malware. It has also provided open-source Web security research tools such as skipfish, ratproxy, and DOM Snitch. This is the first time Google has applied its knowledge of Internet network traffic to identify malware on its users' local computers.

Google security engineer Damian Menscher said the company's security team discovered unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of its data centers. "After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or 'malware,'" he explained in a blog post.

The malware prompts infected Windows computers to send traffic to Google through proxy servers. Google is detecting traffic that comes from these servers and notifying users sending the traffic that their computers appear to be infected.

Google says that that several million PCs appear to be affected, that it has warned several hundred thousand people, and that the source of the infection appears to be one of roughly a hundred variants of fake antivirus software. The company says it is not aware of a specific name for the fake antivirus software responsible for the infection.

Google advises that users utilize current antivirus software to scan for an infection and to be wary of inadvertently installing fake antivirus software in an attempt to correct the problem. If legitimate antivirus software fails to fix the issue and Google searches still bring a warning message, Google provides instructions for manually cleaning one's Windows hosts file, through which the malware redirects Web requests.

Black Hat USA 2011 presents a unique opportunity for members of the security industry to gather and discuss the latest in cutting-edge research. It happens July 30-Aug. 4 in Las Vegas. Find out more and register.

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-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.