Malvertising campaign hits 10 million users in 10 days

Pierluigi Paganini July 29, 2015

Security Firm Cyphort Labs reported that 10 million users may have been infected in ten days by a malvertising and exploit kit campaign.

Nick Bilogorskiy, a security researcher at Cyphort  revealed that 10 million users may have been infected in ten days due to a malvertising and exploit kit campaign. According to the expert threat actors behind the malvertising campaign used the popular Angler exploit kit to compromise million computers worldwide.

malvertising _spike_blog1

The campaign dates back to at least 11 July, the experts observed several infections across Asia, the US, and in some European countries.

“In the last 10 days, Cyphort Labs found many more infected domains – they are listed below. Please refrain going to these sites as they are dangerous. 
We have notified about this issue and they are actively working to resolve it. At least 10 million people have visited these websites and were potentially exposed to the Angler exploit kit in the last 10 days according to our estimates and data from SimilarWeb.” states the post published by the company.

As usually happens in malvertising campaigns, the attackers used to compromise websites with a large number of visitors, in this case among the websites exploited by hackers to spread the malware there were the Japanese branch of The Huffington Post, Magna, and the Indonesian paper Below the complete list of compromised domains.

7/16/2015 USA 1.1 Million visits per month
7/16/2015 India 0.6 Million visits per month
7/17/2015 Thailand 2.8 Million visits per month
7/19/2015 Vietnam 3.7 Million visits per month
7/19/2015 Indonesia 3.6 Million visits per month
7/22/2015 Vietnam 7.2 Million visits per month
7/23/2015 Japan 1.8 Million visits per month
7/23/2015 USA 0.9 Million visits per month
7/25/2015 USA 0.3 Million visits per month
7/25/2015 Vietnam 0.6 Million visits per month
7/25/2015 Italy 0.6 Million visits per month
7/25/2015 Sweden 0.3 Million visits per month
7/26/2015 Greece 4.4 Million visits per month
7/26/2015 Japan 1.1 Million visits per month
7/27/2015 Japan 0.5 Million visits per month
7/27/2015 Czech Republic 0.7 Million visits per month

“All of these appear to be top popular websites in various countries including Vietnam, Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.”

Bilogorskiy confirmed that Cyphort Labs has advised the companies affected by the malvertising campaign, including Microsoft Azure, and the ad platforms and

The experts at Cyphort Labs noticed that cyber criminals adopted any precaution to avoid to raise suspicion, including the use of multiple SSL redirectors to encrypt traffic.

Below an example of redirection chain adopted for this campaign.

 1 start
 2 malvert
 7 Angler<malware>

Malvertising campaigns are very insidious, in June security experts noticed a spike in the malicious activity, hackers served malicious ads on popular sites including The Drudge Report, CBS Sports, the PerezHilton magazine, Yahoo, Verizon FiOS, and eBay UK.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Malvertising,  cybercrime)

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