Sophos: St. Petersburg consulate Web site was hacked

Security vendors are warning that State Department Web sites in Russia may have been hacked.

Security vendors are warning that two US Department of State Web sites based in Russia could contain malware and should be avoided.

The most serious compromise was on the Web site for the U.S. Consulate General for St. Petersburg. About a week ago, researchers at Sophos discovered that the site had been hacked and was apparently serving up malicious software to visitors.

The compromise seems to have been short-lived. By the time researchers were able to check the site manually, the infection had been cleaned up. By looking at a cached version of the page in question, however, they were able to find the malicious code in question.

A State Department spokeswoman said she was unaware of any breach.

As of Thursday, Sophos customers were still being blocked from accessing the St. Petersburg consulate Web server, which is hosted on the stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov and www.stpetersburg-usconsulate.ru domains.

The St. Petersburg consulate site was probably not deliberately targeted because it was one of about 400 sites infected by the criminals behind the hack, said Ron O'Brien, a senior security analyst with Sophos." The malware writer was looking for vulnerable sites and happened upon that site," he said.

Attackers were using these compromised servers to install Trojan software on victim's computers, O'Brien said. "It was a malware that allowed for remote access and it also attempted to download additional malware from a remote server."

These type of Web-based attacks have become increasingly common over the past years as criminals have created a number of kits, designed to lure victims to compromised Web sites and where unauthorized software is installed on their PCs. Webattacker is the best-known of these kits.

Separately, McAfee's SiteAdvisor software is now warning Web surfers not to visit the State Department's Moscow embassy Web site. According to a SiteAdvisor alert, this site has been associated with e-mail messages that contained computer viruses.

"After entering our e-mail address on this site ... We received two e-mails which contained a virus," McAfee said in the alert.

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.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?