NOD32 alerts on suspect adverts

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jul 2, 2007

False positive reveals sneaky techniques used in ads.

ESET's NOD32 product was updated several times in close succession over the weekend, as false positives were introduced flagging some JavaScript-based web advertising as the JS/Tivso trojan, and rapid adjustments were made to correct the false alarms.

The incident, besides showing some very speedy response times for turning around fixes (an initial fix went out within an hour-and-a-half of initial notification, and the whole incident lasted less than 7 hours), also reminds users of some of the similarities between the darker side of the advertising world and full-blown malware. The adverts involved in this incident used code-obfuscation techniques, typical of malware creators, to protect some aspect of their advertising code which is designed to run in secret on the systems of its unwitting, unwilling recipients.

'With advertising money funding a large proportion of spam, and behind the menace of adware, intrusive online advertising has long been unpopular,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'Its creators will not make any new friends by using devious obfuscation techniques, and no complaints were received from ESET customers denied access to advertising.'

A report on the issue can be found at heise security, here, with an ESET blog entry responding to the problem here.

Posted on 02 July 2007 by Virus Bulletin

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