Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

LA Times Subdomain Directed Readers to Malware

For at least six weeks, a subdomain for the Los Angeles Times was redirecting visitors to a separate domain hosting the Blackhole Exploit Kit. The story was broken by Brian Krebs, and confirmed by both the news organization and security firm Avast.

For at least six weeks, a subdomain for the Los Angeles Times was redirecting visitors to a separate domain hosting the Blackhole Exploit Kit. The story was broken by Brian Krebs, and confirmed by both the news organization and security firm Avast.

According to Krebs’ article, Avast confirmed reports sent to him by his readers that the Wheels and Deals subdomain on the LA Times portal was compromised. Avast was able to determine that the domain has been hijacked since before Christmas, serving visitors up to the malware Gods for more than six weeks. 

According to traffic data, the “Wheels and Deals” section of the LA Times could have exposed more than 300,000 people to the Blackhole Exploit Kit, but the exact number of compromised users is unknown.

Shortly after Krebs broke the story, the LA Times issued a statement:

“On February 6th the Los Angeles Times was made aware that malware was possibly being served by OffersandDeals.latimes.com. We quickly determined the problem was contained within the Offers & Deals sub-domain, which is maintained by a third party. Our forensics team undertook what is now an ongoing investigation and is working closely with the vendor to collect evidence surrounding the event.

“To ensure safety, the Offers & Deals platform has been rebuilt and further secured. The sub-domain generates only advertising content and does not contain any customer information. As a trusted source of news and information, The Times takes matters of internet security very seriously and are pleased to report that there is no malware currently detectable on Offers & Deals.”

Around the time that the LA Times was targeted, SecurityWeek published a report surrounding research from Sophos, who said that Blackhole Exploit Kit attacks will continue blanket the Web.

More than 80 percent of attacks in 2012 were redirects (similar to the one discovered on the LA Times), and the majority of those redirects were from legitimate sites that had been hacked, Sophos found in its Security Threat Report for 2013. According to their data, the Blackhole Exploit Kit accounted for 27 percent of exploit sites and redirects in 2012. Sophos predicted more premium features, such as scriptable Web services, APIs, and malware quality assurance platforms, will be built-into Blackhole for even more complex attacks.

Written By

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Cybercrime

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Cybercrime

The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Cybercrime

A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Application Security

PayPal is alerting roughly 35,000 individuals that their accounts have been targeted in a credential stuffing campaign.

Cybercrime

The degree of danger that may be introduced when adversaries start to use AI as an effective weapon of attack rather than a tool...