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Ad Attack Targets Popular News, Entertainment Sites

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hackers are taking over expired domain names in one of the latest means to deliver malware to unsuspecting web surfers.

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The discovery was made after popular sites including BBC, MSN and others were targeted. The hackers acquired the domain name of an advertising firm and used it, after visitors to the impacted site clicked on an advertisement, to deliver malware to computers.

In a technical report, Daniel Chechik, Simon Kenin and Rami Kogan of Trustwave explained they noticed several high profile sites were fetching a JSON file which is hosted on “brentsmedia[.]com” as part of their process for pulling advertising content from their ad providers.

Brentsmedia.com was the website used by hackers to serve up malware. It expired on January 1 and was registered again, under the same site, on March 6 by a different buyer.

The BBC reported anyone clicking on a malicious advert was taken to a separate page that attempted to infect them with either a variant of ransomware known as Cryptowall. The attacks only worked on users with a Windows operating system.

In their blog entry, the researchers stated it is not known if such attacks are becoming a more common problem.

“Whether or not this will turn into a new trend, it’s certainly an interesting development in the world of Malvertising, once again reminding us how difficult it is for both end-users and ad networks to deal with this threat,” they stated.

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W. Brice McVicar

W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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