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Malware Search Poisoning

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Malware Search Poisoning

Unread postby th3fall3n777 » July 13th, 2013, 2:02 am

I recently wrote a Security Awareness whitepaper for the company I work for and thought I would share some interesting statistics that I found in my research. This information is based on the June 2013 Google Transparency Report, specifically their Safe Browsing section.

Just to be clear, Google’s Safe Browsing technology examines billions of URLs per day looking for unsafe websites. These unsafe sites fall into two categories, both of which threaten users’ privacy and security:

- Malware Sites contain code to install malicious software onto users’ computers. Hackers can use this software to capture and transmit users’ private or sensitive information.

- Phishing Sites pretend to be legitimate while trying to trick users into typing in their username and password or sharing other private information. Common examples are web pages that impersonate legitimate bank websites or online stores.

The June 2013 report provided some statistics that weren't a surprise, but others that were quite a surprise - all were eye-opening!

Hacked sites still remain a major problem – with about 60% hosting malware, and 40% being used for phishing attacks.

Dedicated attack sites numbered in the hundreds until late 2009, when they began to increase. They crested at the end of last year above 6,000, but that number has since dropped. As of June 9, 2013, Google reports the number of these malicious sites at 3,891.

Dramatically worse is the problem of compromised sites. Web sites that are supposed to be legitimately safe but that have been hacked to infect visitors. During the week of June 9th, Google tallied 39,247 hacked sites.

Web sites that you think are safe but have been compromised to distribute malicious software are far more prevalent than sites that are intentionally dangerous.
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Re: Malware Search Poisoning

Unread postby CyberMafia » July 13th, 2013, 12:12 pm

So is there any way to get protected from these sites and you're saying the hacker installed java drive by's on the hacked sites?
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Re: Malware Search Poisoning

Unread postby th3fall3n777 » July 13th, 2013, 1:50 pm

Yes Cyber, that's exactly what they do - in the paper I wrote, I actually used a virtual machine to do a search for Lebron James (during the last game of the NBA finals) on Google. I clicked on the #2 search result, which I took me to a black listed website that asked me to install an Adobe Flash Player upgrade - I knew it was bogus, but I wanted the screenshots! So I clicked the "upgrade" and about 30 seconds later, my screen was full of Rogue AV pop ups! (Good pictures though!) - I just deleted the virtual machine after I got my photos.

In the research I did, Barracuda Labs demonstrated how cyber-criminals use analysis applications they've built to search for "trending search topics," and they target the biggest search engines... at the time of the study, that was Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Twitter, and "poison" the results through a complex method. Their goal obviously is to "get in front of as many eyes as they can."

Your absolute best protection against these sites is by keeping your third party applications patched at all times, and disabling the ones you don't need. If you don't use websites that require Java, disable Java under your manage add-ons menu - if you do need Java, make sure you regularly check for patches (you can use java.com, but I use ninite.com) - same with the other "top offenders" - Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Silverlight, .NET, and the "lesser offenders," Adobe AIR, Adobe Shockwave. Also keep your Microsoft Security patches up to date, and your antivirus definitions.

There is a really good article on this website that GaryR wrote - viewtopic.php?f=4&t=54766#.UeGTN_Ao6Hs - It talks about how to keep yourself protected - but the first thing the author mentions is that you can't keep yourself 100% protected - that's where your judgment obviously kicks in as you're surfing the web.
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