Website of UK landmark hacked to serve malware
- 10 February, 2008 22:00
The website of one of the UK's most famous landmarks, the Forth Road Bridge, has been torn open in embarrassing fashion to serve malware, researchers are reporting.
The bloggers speculate that the hack appears to go beyond embedding code. "Something else on the web server has been compromised allowing access to the FETA [the Forth Estuary Transport Authority] website files," they suggest. "One of the website developers has a compromised workstation computer that allowed hackers to gain the FTP username and password directly using a key logger."
The hack doesn't appear to have been hard for the researchers to spot using Exploit Labs' (now AVG's) Linkscanner Pro firewall-oriented scanning software.
"In order to prevent dynamically obfuscated code and similar types of advanced hacking techniques, we recommend businesses to include real-time content inspection products to analyse and understand the active code embedded within web pages on-the-fly before it reaches the end-user machine," he said.
Dynamically obfuscated code of the type created by the Neosploit Crimeware toolkit could be difficult to root out. "This is because the analysis needs to break the obfuscated code into its constituent segments and interpret what the code segment intends to do, and take appropriate action," he said.
Neosploit's most famous victim is probably Monster.com, which late last year had to endure the humiliation of having its jobs website hijacked to serve similar exploits.
Website hacks of this sort are becoming more common, with Neosploit, Icepack, and the well-known Mpack attack kits now in common circulation.
It's only one website among many millions, but as fish go, the FETA site is no small fry. The bridge itself is the main crossing across the river Forth from Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh, and as much of a landmark in the U.K. as the Brooklyn or Golden Gate bridges would be in the US.