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AskMen Compromised to Distribute Financial Malware: Report

The popular online magazine AskMen has been compromised and abused to distribute a piece of malware, Websense reported on Monday.

The popular online magazine AskMen has been compromised and abused to distribute a piece of malware, Websense reported on Monday.

According to Websense, the attackers injected malicious code into several AskMen pages, including the main site, askmen.com, and some subdomains such as au.askmen.com. The malicious code, which has been obfuscated by the attackers, is designed to silently redirect the site’s visitors to a page hosting exploits for Java and Adobe Reader.

The obfuscation techniques used on the exploit page along with the exploit for a particular Java vulnerability (CVE-2013-2465) led researchers to believe that the attackers are relying on the Nuclear Pack exploit kit or a variant of it.

The exploit page is hosted on a .pw domain whose name changes every day. The domain name is generated based on the current date (year, month, date) which is hashed using a CRC32 algorithm, Websense researcher Abel Toro explained in a blog post.                                       

If the exploit is successful, a version of the Caphaw (Shylock) banking malware is dropped onto visitors’ devices. In September 2013, Zscaler reported a Caphaw surge, with the customers of two dozen financial institutions being targeted.

According to statistics from SimilarWeb, AskMen was visited over 11 million times in May 2014, by users mostly from the United States. This indicates that the potential number of victims for such an attack is very high.

Websense says it has informed AskMen of the breach, but it hasn’t heard back from the company. SecurityWeek reached out to AskMen for comment but did not receive a response by publishing time.

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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