Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Partner Perspectives  Connecting marketers to our tech communities.
11/29/2016
10:25 AM
Matthew Rosenquist
Matthew Rosenquist
Partner Perspectives
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
50%
50%

Beware: Scalable Vector Graphics Files Are A New Ransomware Threat

SVG files offer many advantages as far as graphics go, but hackers looking to embed malware on websites can exploit them.

Creative cyber criminals are taking advantage of Facebook's compatibility with SVG images to infect victims with ransomware. SVG (scalable vector graphics) files are dangerous on social media sites, email, and even instant messaging tools, as this format is designed with the ability to contain embedded content code such as JavaScript, which can be opened via Web browser. 

A recent incident involved spammers that leveraged Facebook to conduct a campaign to infect unsuspecting victims with the Locky ransomware. This malware is unforgiving and is designed to encrypt users’ files and hold them for extortion.

SVG images are also used on websites, making them a target. If attackers hack a website and replace the current SVG files with ones containing malware, then visitors to that site may become infected. By the time the company realizes its Web page has been infecting its customers, the situation may turn into a catastrophic business debacle.

Many organizations implement strong precautions and security to protect their internal networks from external threats, but not as many are vigilant in watching code on their websites for minor graphical changes.

Technology is great and can be used to do wonderful things. SVG files offer many advantages as graphics go, but they can be abused. Without sufficient controls to protect potential victims, I recommend blocking SVG files on social media sites. Although extreme, it may be prudent to also abandon the use of SVG images on websites until security software can catch up with features to test such embedded code for malicious actions with a high degree of confidence.

Interested in more? Follow me on Twitter (@Matt_Rosenquist) and LinkedIn to hear insights and what is going on in cybersecurity.

Matthew Rosenquist is a cybersecurity strategist who actively advises global businesses, academia, and governments to identify emerging risks and opportunities.  Formerly the cybersecurity strategist for Intel Corp., he benefits from 30 years in the security field. He ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
hieuhuule
50%
50%
hieuhuule,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/1/2016 | 10:11:28 AM
How to Block?
How do you block the SVG file in a browser?
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2016 | 1:18:49 PM
Bah
What with all of these advanced threats based on newer technology -- not to mention how long it takes to load modern webpages -- I think we'd be better off going back to 1990s-style websites.  :/
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-30480
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Zoom Chat through 2021-04-09 on Windows and macOS allows certain remote authenticated attackers to execute arbitrary code without user interaction. An attacker must be within the same organization, or an external party who has been accepted as a contact. NOTE: this is specific to the Zoom Chat softw...
CVE-2021-21194
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Use after free in screen sharing in Google Chrome prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-21195
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Use after free in V8 in Google Chrome prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-21196
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Heap buffer overflow in TabStrip in Google Chrome on Windows prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-21197
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-09
Heap buffer overflow in TabStrip in Google Chrome prior to 89.0.4389.114 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.