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Background images emerging tool of MySpace hackers

Posted on November 9, 2007 - 17:53 by egeorge

MySpace users, look out for a new brand of website hacking technique that's emerged over the past week. The hack inserts code that loads a background image linking back to a badware site, and has so far had several prominent victims, most notably pop star Alicia Keyes.

A user who clicks anywhere on the site that is not a legitimate, pre-existing link will be redirected by the linked background image to the badware site, apparently hosted in China. The user will also be prompted to download a codec to view videos - something one might expect on a MySpace page - which itself delivers malware.

The attacks were first noted last week by researchers at FaceTime Communications, and have gained widespread coverage this week due to the hacking of Keyes's page.

While MySpace reacted quickly to reports of the hacks, there is also word that Keyes's page, at least, has been reinfected once. There's no estimate yet on how many users may have been infected, or how many MySpace pages have been compromised, but one thing seems certain: this is a technique to watch out for in the future, on MySpace, and beyond.

Badware targeting Macs

Posted on November 5, 2007 - 14:26 by egeorge

At StopBadware, we often talk with regular internet users, from the novice to the sophisticated, about internet security and precautions users can take. One comment we hear again and again is the belief that some operating systems - such as Mac OS X - are immune to badware.

The truth is, badware production is driven by the potential for monetary gain, and while the market share of the Mac operating system is not high, it's starting to be recognized as a potentially valuable target.

The security world has long known that it was possible to create a virus that would affect Mac OS X - several researchers have demonstrated various "proof of concept" viruses that, because they were created by the good guys, were never released into the wild.

Last week saw the first public debut of a trojan apparently created for Mac OS X by organized criminal producers of badware. The trojan relies on social engineering pulls - the lure of pornography, and the confidence of Mac users - to convince users to download and install it, posing as a "codec" required to view video files.

For more on this issue, see StopBadware co-director Jonathan Zittrain's blog post or check out the coverage at the SunBelt Software blog.