Google advert exploit attack analysed

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   May 1, 2007

Video demonstrates malware infiltration via ads for legitimate sites.

Details continue to emerge of a serious attack using the Google Adwords advertising system to lure unsuspecting victims to malicious exploit sites. Links placed in advertising accompanying Google search results ended up at the proper, legitimate sites of the organisations being advertised, including the Better Business Bureau, but got there via sites which used exploits to initiate drive-by downloads of backdoor and data-gathering malware.

Analysis of the attack, released last week by Exploit Prevention Labs, shows how the lack of mouse-over details of sponsored links carried by Google hid the redirection, and how MDAC vulnerabilities were used to gain remote access to vulnerable systems led through the malicious pages. As well as backdoor trojans for remote control of victims, other malware designed to gather sensitive online banking details for a wide range of banking services was deployed.

Google has since shut down the suspect advertising accounts, preventing further misdirections, but no information is yet available as to how many people were affected by the attack.

A release from Exploit Prevention Labs, including links to a YouTube video demonstrating the attack in progress, is here, with more technical detail in a blog entry here. Commentary from McAfee is here.

Posted on 01 May 2007 by Virus Bulletin



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