This is just a short update on the .htaccess redirect attack that I wrote about last month.
I can still see many sites (mainly osCommerce-powered) that redirect search traffic to malicious sites. However, the pattern of the redirect URLs has changed.
Having read the Sucuri’s article about the kirm-sky .ru attack, I decided to complement it with my own information.
I started to track this website infection back in April. It has been active all these months.
The attack creates/modifies .htaccess files to redirect site visitors that come from major search engines and popular websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, Ebay, etc) to scareware sites that aggressively push fake anti-virus software. The redirects also occur if visitors request unexisting pages or pages that produce server errors.
This .htaccess conditional redirect approach is nothing new. It has been actively exploited by hackers for at least couple of years (and Unmask Parasites does a good job of detecting such redirects). And while the .htaccess code in this particular case has some new features (maybe more about it next time), it isn’t the most interesting thing about this attack.
Selected short messages and links you might have missed if you don’t follow me on Twitter.
Some time ago I had a series of post about the .htaccess exploit that redirected search engine traffic to bogus Antivirus sites.
This sort of exploit is still very wide-spread. Many site owners wonder why Google blacklists their sites when their web pages are absolutely benign and sites mentioned on Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostic pages have absolutely nothing to do with their site’s content.
Here is an excerpt from a typical Safe Browsing Diagnostic page for an affected site:
Malicious software is hosted on 5 domain(s), including best-antimalware-pro-scan .com/, fastantimalwareproscanner .com/, fullantispywareproscan .com/.
4 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including module-antispyware .info/, securedradiostation .cn/, great-antispyware .info/.
When I see multiple antivirus-related domain names in the diagnostics, I almost sure the site has a hacked .htaccess file that redirects search engine traffic to scam sites. Still I need to verify my guess.
In the previous post I described the symptoms of the Antivirus 2009 .htaccess exploit, how to detect it and get rid of it.
This time I’m going to further unmask this exploit and show how it works.
Let’s start with the most “popular” exploit of the last week.
I’ve seen dozens of messages all over the web (WordPress forums, BadwareBusters.org, StopBadware discussion group, etc) regarding compromised web sites and why Google blocked them. When I checked them with Unmask Parasites, their reports looked pretty much the same: no title and a chain of four redirects. All those sites were hit by the bogus Antivirus 2009 .htaccess exploit.