[funsec] Hackers Can Now Deliver Viruses via Web Ads

Gadi Evron ge at linuxbox.org
Thu Jul 19 11:42:30 CDT 2007

No! Really?

On Thu, 19 Jul 2007, Richard M. Smith wrote:

> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118480608500871051.html?mod=todays_us_market
> place
> Hackers Can Now Deliver Viruses via Web Ads
> July 19, 2007; Page B1
> Web ads are becoming a delivery system of choice for hackers seeking to
> distribute viruses over the Internet.
> In a development that could threaten the explosive growth of online
> advertising, hackers have started to exploit security holes in the
> online-advertising chain to slip viruses into ads. Just going to a site that
> shows such an ad can infect a user's computer.
> In May, a virus in a banner ad on tomshardware.com automatically switched
> visitors to a Web site that downloaded "malware" -- malicious software
> designed to attack a computer -- onto the visitor's computer. ScanSafe Inc.,
> one of the first security firms to discover the virus, estimates the banner
> ad was on the site for at least 24 hours and infected 50,000 to 100,000
> computers before Tom's Hardware removed it.
> After the incident, Tom's Hardware's parent, TG Publishing, was acquired by
> BestofMedia Group. The company says it won't discuss what may have happened
> under prior management. But a person familiar with the situation says that
> Tom's Hardware was unaware of the threat and that ads on the site were
> supplied by an outside server and likely appeared on a number of other Web
> sites as well. Users of an online forum hosted on the Tom's site discussed
> the case, with some people noting that their antivirus software had
> protected their computers and others lamenting that a virus had been
> downloaded onto theirs.
> Clicking on ads that appear in the sponsored-link results section of
> Web-search engines can also be very dangerous. Web-security firm McAfee Inc.
> found in May that 6.9% of sponsored links led to suspicious sites that might
> have automatically downloaded malicious software.
> "Not being able to offer a safe haven is one of the things that could stand
> in the way of reputable advertisers and dollars," says Scott Howe, president
> of Internet-ad network Drive Performance Media, a unit of Seattle-based
> aQuantive, which Microsoft Corp. recently agreed to buy for $6 billion.
> "That's the single biggest fear that many advertisers have....It has taken
> them a hundred years to build their brand, and it can be destroyed pretty
> quickly if they are not careful."
> ...
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