SANS solves mystery of mass Web site infections

The SANS Institute said they've found the software tool responsible for infecting up to 20,000 Web sites with malicious software.

The SANS Institute has uncovered what they've termed a "rare gem" as far as computer security investigations go that sheds new light on how up to 20,000 Web sites have been hacked since January.

They found a sneaky software tool that uses Google's search engine to hunt for Web sites running certain kinds of vulnerable applications, wrote Bojan Zdrnja, on the institute's blog.

"While we had a general idea about what they do during these attacks, and we knew that they were automated, we did not know exactly how the attacks worked, or what tools the attackers used," Zdrnja wrote.

When the tool finds a site that is vulnerable, it kicks into action. "The exploit just consisted of an SQL statement that tried to inject a script tag into every HTML page on the web site," Zdrnja wrote.

That SQL statement was crafted to target Web sites running Microsoft's Internet Information Server and SQL Server. Once compromised, the Web sites were then rigged to serve malicious software to visitors using JavaScript, which tried various exploits based on known software vulnerabilities.

Among the malicious programs served up was a password-stealing program for the game "Lord of the Rings Online," security vendor McAfee said last month.

SANS said the software tool also reports to a server based in China, a feature that may be used to count the number of infections in order for the person using the tool can get paid, Zdrnja wrote. The tool may have other functions, but SANS is still analyzing it.

Among the victims from these attacks were the Web sites of security vendor Trend Micro as well as CA.

Join the newsletter!

Or
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.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

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.

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?