Mac Flashback attack stole ad revenue
(UPI Science News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Flashback attack on Mac computers brought criminals $10,000 a day in stolen ad revenue by redirecting clicks from infected systems, U.S. experts say.
Researchers at security software vendor Symantec said attackers behind the Flashback malware were stealing advertising revenue from Google by redirecting clicks from users of infected systems so ad revenue from those clicks went to the cyber-criminals not Google, eWeek.com reported Tuesday.
"The Flashback ad-clicking component is loaded into Chrome, Firefox and Safari where it can intercept all GET and POST requests from the browser," Symantec said in a blog post. "Flashback specifically targets search queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker's choosing, where they receive revenue from the click."
Revenue from the intended ad click never reached Google, the researchers said.
As many as 700,000 Apple Macs worldwide were infected by the Flashback malware at its height, Symantec said.
The Flashback malware began as a Trojan horse masquerading as an update to Adobe Flash, and then a subsequent version infected unprotected systems that visited a malicious Web site.
"Not much detail has been said about the ad-clicking component, so we will reveal the true motivation behind the malware: the end goal of this Trojan is revenue generation," the Symantec Security Response team wrote in the company blog.
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