Skip to comments.Auto download adware carries vicious payload
Posted on 03/03/2005 1:39:36 PM PST by holymoly
Security experts issued a warning this morning after detecting infections caused by Searchmeup, the first adware to use the Exploit/LoadImage vulnerability which downloads itself onto computers without the user's permission.
Panda Software's PandaLabs warned that the pages from which Searchmeup are downloaded also contain a series of exploits to download other malware onto the computer, such as the Tofger.AT Trojan, which steals banking passwords, Dialer.BB and Dialer.NO, and adware called Adware/TopConvert.
Searchmeup is downloaded onto the computer when the user visits maliciously coded web pages. Once installed it changes the home page to that of a search engine that displays pop-ups every time it loads with the aim of installing spyware and diallers on infected computers.
Searchmeup affects computers running Windows 2003, XP, 2000, NT, Me and 98, and allows arbitrary code to be run.
It could be exploited by an attacker hosting a specially crafted cursor or icon on a malicious web page or HTML email. Microsoft has released a patch to correct this problem, and users are advised to install it immediately.
The web pages from which Searchmeup is downloaded also drop Tofger.AT onto computers, a Trojan which runs every time Internet Explorer is opened.
Tofger.AT keeps track of the user's internet activity, logging passwords for secure 'https' connections which are often used for connections with online banks. Once it has collected this information, Tofger.AT sends it to a remote server.
Searchmeup can also generate an error in the 'services.exe' file, informing users that the computer will be restarted in one minute.
After the restart, the computer operates perfectly. On some occasions Searchmeup can also display blue screen errors, and Tofger.AT can actually update itself to a new version.
"The Exploit/LoadImage vulnerability can be used on web pages or HTML email by crafting a special icon or image file that causes a buffer overflow that in turn can be used to take control of the user's computer," said Patrick Hinojosa, chief technology officer at Panda Software US.
"This can be very serious as the user does not have to do anything unusual like opening a suspicious attachment. This is what is sometimes referred to as a 'drive by' attack."
Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, added: "The appearance of Searchmeup is a sign of the continuous evolution of malware, and of spyware and adware in particular.
"The first stage was that adware reached computers as a component of a freeware application, then web pages appeared that installed adware on users' computers using ActiveX.
"Now they have gone a step further, as Searchmeup exploits a vulnerability that even virus creators had not used until now."
freeware is ruined.
I just love Firefox!
Anyone caught intentionally pushing malware on PCs should be shot, I mean it. This has ramifications for the economy.
Important to stay up to date on everything... browsers, antivirus... and now this spyware adware stuff. I am using MS AntiSpyware Beta, even though I've never had any spyware or adware to speak of.
Wrong! They should be tortured first, then hanged, then drawn and quartered...then shot.
Ping for later
Bless your smug heart... the buggers will hassle you soon enough. ;~D
I don't know. The problem is if they can do it, Red China can do it. I want the systems secure. Nobody should be able to do it.
Way to be posting stuff from January 11th.
This has been patched since then and if you've simply had the autoupdate on, it hasn't affected you since then. It's what, March 3rd today?
PS. Firefox dl'd four trojans on me last week. IE was bulletproof on the same sites. FYI
Which reminds me...
|PC security-related links. All software is freeware/open source.
Last Update: 02/18/2005
On-demand virus checker
AntiVir® Personal Edition
The MS-DOS version is free
On-demand scanner. Detects & cleans a small number of virii/trojans (around 50).
On-demand AntiVirus Utility
|Alternatives to MSIE, Outlook & Outlook Express:
Mozilla Suite (browser, email & usenet client), Firefox browser, Thunderbird E-mail client
Off By One
The world's smallest and fastest web browser
Spybot - Search and Destroy
Offers on-demand scanning and full-time protection
Tiny Personal Firewall 2
(Last freeware version)
ZoneAlarm Free Download
CastleCops Security Forums
Cyber Tech Help Support Forum
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
This guide will teach you how to ask questions in a way that is likely to get you a satisfactory answer.
|How-to and Tutorial:
PCWorld: How to Install a Firewall
Using Ad-Aware SE
Using Spybot - Search and Destroy
|Useful sites, articles, etc.:
Firewall Test, Security Test and Security Scan
Test your firewall against internal extrusions (leaks)
Spyware/Adware/Malware FAQ and Removal Guide
Waging the war against spyware
U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team
Mozilla Plugin Support on Microsoft Windows
Netscape Browser Archive
Because newer is not always better
Internet diagnostic tool
Combats adware, spyware, trojans, etc.
Anyone caught intentionally pushing malware on PCs should be shot, I mean it.I agree. Virus writers/Adware developers/Spyware authors are the absolute scum of the earth, and should be tied up and beaten with Louisville sluggers until only a bloody stump remains where their heads once existed.
In addition to Spybot S&D and AdAware, I use HiJack This! It is a program that takes care of browser hijacking by malware after it happens.
I don't see TDS3 or a2 personal in there, maybe add them?
I agree, and their body parts should be sold.
I have had many hours stolen from me the last 7 days fighting what sounds like the same thing.
I have beaten the stuff back, but my computer is going to have to have the hard drive replaced because of this garbage and I make my living from my computer.
if you have XP service pack 2, you dont need the fix
Don't forget to do the same to the spammers and virus writers.
He he he he...
That's a lot of links... my Microsoft life seems a lot simpler to me... and the people writing the code actually have jobs ;~D
Kerio has a free version of their firewall program here: http://www.kerio.com/us/kpf_download.html
IMO HiJack this is a bit powerful for the average user. Most of the time, when the automated tools don't work for someome, I steer them towards the SpywareWarrior.com forum, where they can find out more about HiJack this, and post their logs for expert help. (Better safe than sorry.)
Speaking of blasting computers with shotguns, http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail118.html
A little comic relief from one of the strangest sites out there.
Anti trojan. Free trial.
This is the reason I no longer visit Drudge's page. He should change the name of his page to the Popup and Spyware Report. Who knows what measures he is taking to make sure the pop ads he accepts are clean. And if you clear out your adware, then visit his site and check again, you can see he has dropped three to five spyware programs on your computer.
I'll wait until someone posts on FR what is on Drudge to see what he has to say. Too risky going to his page.
Yes, nearly two months ago. Anyone with automatic updates turned on should already have this.
I'm not as cocky about Firefox as I used to be, since we're starting to see malware and Trojans coded for it. It's still generally safer than IE, and better too IMO (tabbed browsing, among other things), but now that it's getting notice and market share, the script kiddies are starting to find its holes. No software is perfect.
Sometimes it requires more than just installing Ad-Aware and Spybot.
Thanks- I'll inform friends and relatives.
I rec'd an email from MSFT today which said that there will be no new security updates for the month of March.
And that clear plastic packaging that is so impossible to get into.
Note that IE doesn't need to be running to be vulnerable; that's just one of the many benefits derived from tight OS/browser integration.
Maybe using a variation of Internet goat hunting, but with a robotic boxer we can take turns controlling? After sentencing, of course.
Mozilla and Firefox have two features which I value.
The first is cookie management, which allows you to prohibit the sites you choose from placing cookies on your system.
The second, of course, is tabbed browsing, where you may have any number of sites open within the browser.
There are probably others I'm forgetting.
I have nearly 300 cookies, is that bad?
Whatever. Fact is that Firefox Downloaded 4, not 1, not 2, not 3, but FOUR trojans.
Fact is that with Norton, the same sites failed to penetrate IE. But I see this kind of blind fanboyism all the time online by hyped pseudo 'experts'. Excuse me whilst I roll my eyes at you.
Your opinion doesn't change my log files, nor the fact that Firefox was wide open. I call BS on your assertion - because where I'm from facts speak louder than fanboyism.
If you aren't able to secure IE then I suggest that you don't have the backing of your so ineloquent and sophomoric barb.