Malicious GIF conceals PHP attack

Evil image pops up on major image site

Hackers have begun circulating a PHP exploit embedding it in a seemingly harmless GIF image, according to security researchers.

The exploit was discovered in at least one GIF on a major image-hosting website, according to a bulletin from the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC) on Tuesday.

"It's interesting and scary to find a file that acts like a regular GIF file, but contains a script exploit," said SANS ISC handler Lorna Hutcheson in the bulletin.

The exploit, coded in PHP script, could be a dangerous new development, Hutcheson said.

"Interestingly enough, the file itself contains a completely legitimate 1x1 gif image at the beginning of the file," she wrote. "It is a clever way to pass exploit code to others without it setting off alarms or attracting attention all while bypassing network security tools."

She also suggested the technique could be used to create a Remote File Inclusion attack, an attack that lets hackers run their own malicious code on an otherwise harmless website.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?