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.

Endpoint

12/10/2010
02:13 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google DoubleClick Unknowingly Served Up Malicious Ad

JavaScript-based drive-by attack automatically infected website visitors with fake antivirus

Major online ad network Google DoubleClick this month inadvertently posted a malicious advertisement on websites that infected users visiting sites running the ad.

This was no typical malvertising campaign attack, says Wayne Huang, CTO and researcher at Armorize, who discovered the threat. The ad automatically installs a rogue antivirus program on the victim's computer and holds it for ransom until the user purchases software to "fix" it.

"It's a JavaScript program that tries to exploit multiple vulnerabilities in your browser. It will succeed and then a malicious program is installed without the website or malicious ad tricking you to" install it," Huang says.

The malicious program includes both a backdoor Trojan and the fake AV. "It's a real Windows program, and if you try to execute another program, it won't let you do anything. It tells you your hard disk is failing," he says.

The malware in question is HDD Plus, which has been mysteriously spreading around the Internet during the past few days, including via msn.com, according to Armorize. "A lot of people were talking about it, but no one said one of the means it was spreading was through DoubleClick," Huang says.

The attackers used a name similar to the legitimate AdShuffle online ad firm, but with an extra letter "f," just enough to fool DoubleClick into posting the ad on websites. The ads first appeared around Dec. 4, and DoubleClick had caught and removed the malicious ad, which featured greeting cards as well as other items, by Dec. 8, according to Huang, who says he doesn't know how many users might have been infected.

The malware targets Internet Explorer, but it also uses exploits that go after PDF plug-in flaws in other types of browsers. Huang says most AV packages should detect the malware now. The attack demonstrates just how easy malvertising attacks can be executed, he says.

"You don't need to compromise a website, just submit an ad on an exchange," he says. "It's as easy as registering a similar domain name as an existing advertiser."

Huang is posting a blog here today with more details on the attacks.

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.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19012
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
An integer overflow in the search_in_range function in regexec.c in Oniguruma 6.x before 6.9.4_rc2 leads to an out-of-bounds read, in which the offset of this read is under the control of an attacker. (This only affects the 32-bit compiled version). Remote attackers can cause a denial-of-service or ...
CVE-2019-19022
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
iTerm2 through 3.3.6 has potentially insufficient documentation about the presence of search history in com.googlecode.iterm2.plist, which might allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information, as demonstrated by searching for the NoSyncSearchHistory string in .plist files within public Git r...
CVE-2019-19035
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
jhead 3.03 is affected by: heap-based buffer over-read. The impact is: Denial of service. The component is: ReadJpegSections and process_SOFn in jpgfile.c. The attack vector is: Open a specially crafted JPEG file.
CVE-2019-19011
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
MiniUPnP ngiflib 0.4 has a NULL pointer dereference in GifIndexToTrueColor in ngiflib.c via a file that lacks a palette.
CVE-2019-19010
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-16
Eval injection in the Math plugin of Limnoria (before 2019.11.09) and Supybot (through 2018-05-09) allows remote unprivileged attackers to disclose information or possibly have unspecified other impact via the calc and icalc IRC commands.