Fireshark plugin decodes the malicious Web

The tool for Firefox expediates investigation of Web sites that may have malicious code

A computer security researcher has released a plugin for Firefox that provides a wealth of data on Web sites that may have been compromised with malicious code.

The plugin, called Fireshark, was released on Wednesday at the Black Hat conference. The open-source free tool is designed to address the shortcomings in other programs used to analyze malicious Web sites, said Stephan Chenette, a principal security researcher at Websense, which lets Chenette develop Fireshark in the course of his job.

Hackers often target legitimate Web sites with code that can either infect a machine with malicious software or redirect a user to a bad Web page.

Websense specializes in detecting Web pages that have been infected, as many site administrators don't know that their sites are harmful to visitors or have difficulty reverse-engineering malicious code. Fireshark will "show you the exact details of a mass compromise," Chenette said.

Over the last 12 months, the number of newly compromised Web sites has increased about 225 percent, Chenette said.

"That means attackers are controlling more content that ever before that is being fed to users."

Fireshark must be run in a virtual machine in order to prevent an infection. Users can input a list of Web sites for investigation. Fireshark then exposes the Web sites' code.

That harmful code is often obfuscated, so it is difficult to tell what it actually does, Chenette said. But the obfuscated code has to run in the browser in order to work. Fireshark exposes the code, which normally can't be viewed, when it runs in the browser's memory.

"I became frustrated at the publicly available tools," Chenette said. "I heard the outcry from the community that there are not the correct tools to reverse the obfuscated content."

Once the code has been exposed, it's then possible to do more investigation and see if other Web sites are affected, Chenette said. Fireshark will show vulnerabilties and exploits on Web sites.

Many Web sites will be infected with code that either delivers malware or redirects users to bad Web sites. The tools also generate maps of those redirections, which can give clues as to who may be behind the attacks.

Fireshark collects the data in a ".yml" file, which is similar to an XML file, Chenette said. The ".yml" file can then be integrated into other security analysis tools, Chenette said. The data that Fireshark collects is all held locally, and none of it is shared with Websense.

Fireshark is available to download.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Firesharkopen sourceFirefoxsecurityblack hatmalwarewebsense

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?