Child Abuse Images Being Used By Criminals To Infect Computer With Malware'

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Normal Child Abuse Images Being Used By Criminals To Infect Computer With Malware'

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:39 am

6 August 2013


CResearchers at the UK's Internet Watch Foundation have discovered the motive behind the hacking of innocent websites, including a furniture retailer, to host extreme child abuse images.

The move is part of an attempt by cybercriminals to take control of users' PCs – and seems to have been timed to take advantage of prime minister David Cameron's high-octane rhetoric over access to child abuse images in mid-June.

The IWF, a Cambridge-based charity which checks for child abuse and "extreme" pictures online and cooperates with ISPs to get them removed or blocked, says that criminals used the hacked servers to infect viewers' PCs with malware hosted there.

Users of adult pornography sites who clicked on innocent-looking links would find themselves taken to the hacked sites, where they would be shown the images of child abuse, which are so extreme that they rank 4 on the 5-point scale used by the IWF.

While that happened, their PC would be silently infected with malware automatically downloaded from the site. The criminals then relied on the user being too scared of arrest for having viewed the images on their computer to get it properly disinfected. About 30 sites have been hacked, the IWF said.

The timing of the hacking ties in with the high-profile criticism by prime minister David Cameron of search engines and ISPs for failing to "clean up" British internet use by blocking access to child abuse images.

Cameron held a summit on the topic in the week beginning 17 June, and culture secretary Maria Miller
demanded action from ISPs. The IWF spotted the first use of a hacked website to display the images on Thursday 20 June.

"It's apparent that the main reason they're hacking the websites isn't for the distribution of images," said Sarah Smith, technical researcher at the IWF. "It's instead to get the malware onto peoples' machines – probably to create a network of bots for hire."

Cybercriminals create networks of "bots" – compromised PCs – using malware which allows them to spy on the user's activities, but also to rent out the use the computer to send out spam, host phishing websites, and create "denial of service" attacks to order on target websites. Some "botnets" comprise more than a million PCs controlled from a central server, unknown to the machines' owners.

Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of people are reckoned to have been infected by the latest malware, which was first created in September 2012, after they clicked through from adult pornography sites.

Rik Ferguson, vice-president of security research at Trend Micro, said: "We've seen this tactic of showing child abuse images used before in 'ransomware', where the virus takes over your PC and demands that you pay money to the criminals – it flashes up a message saying these are examples of content found on your PC. This sounds like an evolution of that."

The malware being used was first identified by malware companies in September 2012. "Using a redirection from a website is quite clever," said Ferguson. "People who it happens to will think that the police know about it. That's definitely new."

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Post by Slys Hunny on Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:04 am

my son was on his sisters computer and was looking up movies when he got hit. It looked very legit and even took his picture. He was one scared kid and was seriously going to take $300 out of his savings to save his sisters computer.
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Post by raine1953 on Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:28 am

I would destroy the hard drive. I am not kidding you at all. Nothing can be wiped 'cleaned' from a hard drive, LE can always find anything.
I know someone that something like this happened, he ended doing two years federal time and now he must register as a so for the rest of his life. I would trust this guy with my grand kids.
Trust me, it happens.
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