Asbury Park’s Website Potentially Spread Malware During Brief Attack

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Asbury Park’s website was felled by Turkish hackers this week in an exploit that apparently took advantage of the site’s content management system.

The city’s internet presence is maintained by local design company M Studio — which immediately shuttered the site once employees noticed the issue.

From @BrianKrebs:

If you run a site powered by the Joomla content management system and haven’t yet applied a critical update for this software released less than two weeks ago, please take a moment to do that: A trivial exploit could let users inject malicious content into your site, turning it into a phishing or malware trap for visitors.

Without seeing the exploit code it’s impossible to know exactly what these cyber criminals were after, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t solely mischief.

There are only two reasons why these sites are attacked, says Ken Baylor, a research vice president at the information security research and advisory company NSS Labs.

1) recruit DDoS zombies to attack banks (and a few other paid targets)

Here the focus is on taking over machines that are hosted in facilities with large internet connected pipes. Once compromised, these machines attack bank web servers. Servers in these facilities can generate much larger amounts of traffic than a home machine (as the internet connection is faster) and can do much more damage. This is common in the at Qassam bank DDos attacks

Sometimes third parties like Gwapo will offer a service to ‘wipe a company off the net’: see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9MuuW0HfSA

2) distribute account takeover trojans.

This relies on unpatched wordpress and joomla servers. These servers display webpages just like a blog or a news site. Hackers change the code (via an injection) so that not only is the normal page displayed, but their code is executed when a victim machine visits the site. When this code is executed it forces the victim to download an account take over trojan.

Added information on this exploit from Versafe — a press release, and additional research.

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