Mass attack infects over half a million web pages

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Apr 24, 2008

United Nations and UK Government sites among those infected by SQL injection.

Hackers have managed to insert malicious code into hundreds of thousands of websites, making their pages serve malware to users who have not patched their computers. Among the affected sites are various websites run by the United Nations as well as by the UK Government.

Unlike a similar attack earlier this year, this time the hackers did not need to gain root access to the web servers to insert the malicious code. Instead, they used a vulnerability in Microsoft's ASP pages, which results in the server not checking the user's input carefully enough. By using cleverly constructed URLs, the hackers managed in each case to manipulate the SQL database that is read for the website's content and insert malicious code into certain fields.

The code, which caused JavaScript to insert an iframe into the page, forced the users' browsers to download a page containing malicious code. As is common with drive-by download attacks, the malware authors tried to install their malware - believed to be an online gaming trojan - on the users' computers through various known vulnerabilities in a number of Windows applications.

Webmasters of infected sites are urged not only to clean up their databases, but also to fix the vulnerabilities that caused their site to be compromised in the first place. To prevent themselves from becoming victims of these attacks, users are advised to make sure they use up-to-date anti-virus software and have the latest patches installed for the software they use.

More details can be found at the ISC here, at Sophos here and at F-Secure here.

Posted on 24 April 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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