Password-stealing hackers infect thousands of Web pages

McAfee is warning of a widespread Web attack aimed at gamers that has infected more than 10,000 Web pages

Hackers looking to steal passwords used in popular online games have infected more than 10,000 Web pages in recent days.

The Web attack, which appears to be a coordinated effort run out of servers in China, was first noticed by McAfee researchers on Wednesday morning. Within hours, the security company had tracked more than 10,000 Web pages infected on hundreds of Web sites.

McAfee isn't sure how so many sites have been hacked, but "given how quickly some of these attacks have come on, it does seem like some automation has gone on," said Craig Schmugar, a researcher with McAfee's Avert Labs. In the past, attackers have used search engines to scour the Internet for vulnerable Web sites and then written automated tools to flood them with attacks, which ultimately let criminals use legitimate sites to serve up their malicious code.

The infected Web sites look no different than before, but the attackers have added a small bit of JavaScript code that redirects visitors' browsers to an invisible attack launched from the China-based servers. This same technique was used a year ago, when attackers infected the Web sites of the Miami Dolphins and Dolphins Stadium just prior to the 2007 Super Bowl XLI football game.

The attack code takes advantage of bugs that have already been patched, so users whose software is up-to-date are not at risk. However, McAfee warns that some of the exploits are for obscure programs such as ActiveX controls for online games, which users may not think to patch.

If the code is successful, it then installs a password-stealing program on the victim's computer that looks for passwords for a number of online games, including the Lord of the Rings Online.

These online game passwords are a popular hacker target, in part because many online gaming resources can be stolen and then sold for cash.

Widespread Web attacks such as this are becoming more common too.

In January, security vendor Finjan reported a widespread hacking effort that infected 10,000 Web sites with malicious code that attacked visitors and then installed data-collecting software on their machines.

This type of attack is attractive to criminals, in part because it can be hard to thwart. "It's more subtle than spamming a malicious executable file to billions of e-mail addresses," Schmugar said. "You allow the people to go to the sites that they normally go to and pull off a low-scale attack that flies under the radar."

Join the Good Gear Guide 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.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

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?