Alicia Keys' MySpace page hacked, serves up attacks

Sites spewing socially engineered attacks and behind-the-scenes drive-by exploits

Multiple MySpace pages, including the official page of popular R&B singer Alicia Keys, have been hacked and are spewing both socially engineered attacks and behind-the-scenes drive-by exploits, a security researcher said.

Although it's unclear how the MySpace pages were originally compromised, they're now dangerous places to visit, said Roger Thompson, chief technology officer at Exploit Prevention Labs Inc. Among the attacks being served by Keys' page are Trojans that pose as new video codecs; when installed, they actually change the computer's Domain Name System settings to redirect future searches to unauthorized sites -- sometimes porn pages, other times URLs selling bogus security software.

Users wary enough to avoid those attacks may still be nailed, said Thompson, who described how unpatched PCs vulnerable to existing exploits are also infected. "They're using an exploit to install software in the background," he said in a video demonstration of the attack posted on his blog. "So they get you one way or the other."

Talking via instant messaging, Thompson spelled out the attackers' unique tactics. Rather than embed the script that redirects the user to the exploit site in an almost-invisible single-pixel IFRAME, this attack uses a huge 8,000-by-1,000-pixel background "href" tag. "Click anywhere but right on top of a control or link on [Keys'] page, and you end up at the exploit site," said Thompson.

Because Keys' page, like many on MySpace, sports lots of audio and video content, a dialog box requesting that the user install a new ActiveX control or a codec wouldn't be suspicious, Thompson added. "You're already expecting a video, aren't you?"

The codec angle, said Thompson, may point to the hackers who recently expanded their attacks from Windows-only to include Trojans targeting Mac owners. The attackers controlling Keys' page include code that "looks to see what the user agent is, and if it's Safari, they serve up a Mac Trojan," said Thompson.

It was only a week ago that several security vendors, Mac-specific Intego first among them, reported the appearance of a codec Trojan written for Mac OS X.

The exploit site, which carried a Chinese domain, was offline as of 8:00 p.m. EST. Keys' MySpace page had been cleansed of the attack script about an hour prior. According to Thompson, the Keys' page may have been infected as long as five days ago, when users of Exploit Prevention Labs' LinkScanner Pro exploit blocker began reporting that the software was warning of dangerous content on the MySpace site.

Messages left with MySpace seeking comment were not returned.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?