Posted by Martijn Grooten on Feb 12, 2018
The technique used wasn't particularly advanced: some mildly obfuscated code had been added that loaded the miner from Coinhive, a site used in many such attacks. In fact, the same Coinhive account had been used against some other websites a few days earlier. TextHelp, the company that was serving the code, took the affected web server offline after about four hours.
The current value of most cryptocurrencies makes this an attractive way for cybercriminals to make money, but as attacks go, it is barely more harmful than inserting a silly YouTube video into the web page. But while we consider all the other things that could have happened (such as form data being stolen, or an exploit kit being served) it is worth noting that there are important lessons to be learned from this hack.
The second lesson is that a company like TextHelp can make it easy for researchers to find a security contact to report issues like these. This is where the recently introduced security.txt standard becomes very useful: it is a simple text file hosted at a predictable location on a website, where the site owner can put their security contacts, as well as various security policies. Both Facebook and Google have adopted the standard, but it is probably most useful for smaller companies and organisations that don't have a large and visible security team.
This morning, Virus Bulletin added a security.txt file to its website.