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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?