Hackers ramp up Facebook, MySpace attacks

Five-exploit toolkit includes code aimed at Image Uploader ActiveX control

Hackers are actively exploiting an Internet Explorer plug-in that's widely used by Facebook and MySpace members with a multi-attack kit, a security company has warned.

The exploit directed at Aurigma's Image Uploader, an ActiveX control used by Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites to allow members to upload photos to their profiles, is just one of five in a new hacker toolkit being used by several Chinese attack sites, said Symantec.

Attacks begin when users receive spam or an instant message with an embedded link, said Darren Kemp, the Symantec analyst who authored the advisory. The link takes users to a bogus MySpace log-in page, which tries to steal members' credentials as it also silently probes the their computers for vulnerabilities in Uploader, Apple's QuickTime, Windows and Yahoo Music Jukebox.

Although the Windows and QuickTime bugs were patched 8 and 13 months ago respectively, the Uploader and Yahoo vulnerabilities were made public and fixed only within the last few weeks. Kemp noted the hackers' fast reaction time. "[This demonstrates] how quickly attackers are leveraging new vulnerabilities," said Kemp. "It is unlikely that attackers will stop trying to leverage this vulnerability any time soon."

The Aurigma bug was disclosed at the end of January by researcher Elazar Broad; shortly after that, a spokeswoman for Facebook and MySpace claimed that the social networking sites were alerting members of the danger. New bugs cropped up a week later, however, forcing Aurigma to again patch the ActiveX control. Not until February 13 did the company claim "Image Uploader is safe again!"

Yahoo, meanwhile, plugged a pair of holes in Music Player on February 6, two days after Broad published attack code for both.

Symantec has been tracking attacks against the Aurigma vulnerabilities most of the month. More than three weeks, ago, for example, another of its analysts reported seeing evidence of a new multi-exploit hacker toolkit -- presumably the same one analyzed by Kemp -- that included an Image Uploader attack.

Exploits against ActiveX controls are nothing unusual; scores of bugs in the Microsoft-made technology were uncovered and exploited in 2007, according to Symantec. It counted 210 ActiveX vulnerabilities in the first half of last year alone, a prime factor in making IE a popular attack target.

In fact, after the Uploader and Yahoo Music Jukebox vulnerabilities were disclosed, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which is part of the US Department of Homeland Security, recommended IE users disable ActiveX.

Kemp, however, saw the social networking angle as just as important. "Given the growing popularity of social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, attacks leveraging vulnerabilities in their client-side components are not surprising," he wrote in the warning.

Symantec urged users to update the Image Uploader ActiveX control to version

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.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


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

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?