Archives for March 2013

UNICAMP – Used to Host Phishing Pages

We just discovered that UNICAMP (Universidade Estadual de Campinas), a renowned Brazilian University, has had their infrastructure compromised and it is being used to host phishing link which are then being used email spear phishing campaigns.

In this specific campaign they appear to be targeting a visitors credit card information. We came across the issue while working on an infected site. The attacker had modified the site’s .htaccess to redirect incoming traffic to the Phishing files:

hxxp:// (The URL was slightly modified to avoid accidental clicks)

This link was leading to the following URL which is still live. The content looks to have been cleared up:


This was a phishing page pretending to be from Cielo, one of the biggest electronic payments operators in Brazil. It was pretending to offer promotions and discounts that requested the visitors credit card information.

Here’s an image of the phishing page:


We also found a file containing an email message and script to send emails to potential victims. Here’s the content of the email file:

Caso não esteja vendo as imagens desse e-mail, click aqui:

While there does not appear to be any evidence of other nefarious activities on the site, it is still best practice to avoid the site until the University has an opportunity to clean themselves up.

Written by Magno Logan and Fio.

Comment SPAM Bad Neighborhood Analysis (2013-Mar)

We track and block a lot of comment SPAM via our WordPress plugin and our CloudProxy WAF. One thing we noticed is that the majority of the SPAM we detect come from the same “bad neighbors” (IP ranges that are known for sending a lot of SPAM).

We did a little query for the month of March (just in 23 days) and these are the top 20 networks used by comment Spammers:

# of comments sent | IP range

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Virtual Hardening with Sucuri CloudProxy

If you read our blog you know that we are really open to providing insight into malware infections, remediation and hardening tips. The goal is to help educate website owners where and when we can. Unfortunately, that education only goes so far. We have learned that when it comes to hardening no single environment is the same and what you tell one person doesn’t necessarily apply to another person.

Take into consideration three of the simple things we tell website owners that use the WordPress platform:

  • Restrict wp-admin access for only certain white listed IP addresses
  • Disable PHP execution inside the uploads directory
  • Disable direct PHP execution inside the whole wp-content directory whenever possible

Although effective for many of them, most are unable to apply them. Reasons include things like static versus dynamic IP’s and lack of understanding of the use of secure tunnels and static IPs proxies. Then you have the challenges of web servers, is it a Windows IIS web server, or an Apache web server? Is it something else? And what if the environment is a hybrid with varying elements, each with specific considerations.

The same applies to guidance we provide other content management system (CMS) applications like Joomla, Magento, vBulletin, osCommerce and many others. The fact of the matter is that it’s hard to provide one solid solution that all website owners, regardless of platform, can use and employ to harden their websites.

Hardening is HARD

The main issue with hardening is that not everyone is technical enough to follow or understand the guidance. Especially when they see long posts like this one: WordPress Security – Cutting Through The BS or WordPress and Server Hardening – Taking Security to Another Level. The reality is that every one of the configuration changes is one potential new headache for the website owner. What works for one, doesn’t work for the other. Perhaps a host doesn’t allow a specific directive or disables specific functions. How do you account for that when talking to the masses?

Then you have to keep up with the growing threats. Is there a new attack vector? Is there a new hardening tip to address that vector? How do you know? How do you apply the hardening in time to avoid becoming vulnerable and exploited?

Enter Virtual Hardening

In our previous post, we talked about the concept of virtual patching: Virtual Patching for Websites with Sucuri CloudProxy, it is the idea that a non-patched web site can still be protected (patched) by a web application firewall (our CloudProxy).

Fortunately, the benefits of our CloudProxy does not stop there. By default, every site under our CloudProxy is already hardened without any work. In our WordPress plugin we have the 1-click hardening. That’s the no-click hardening. You no longer need to run any security plugin or modify your configuration, since all the hardening is done “virtually” by our WAF.

You can automatically restrict access to your administration panel per IP address. All direct access to non-allowed directories are blocked. And all the steps we provide in our blogs are implemented there to all our users.

Go back a few months and look at the Timthumb mass compromise, where thousands of sites were hacked. Any site that was hardened like we recommend would not get hacked through it, even if they had the insecure timthumb installed. And even without any type of virtual patching or custom WAF rule. Just the hardening alone.

That’s what the Virtual hardening offers without any work for web site owners.

If you have questions about virtual hardening, or the Sucuri CloudProxy service, email us at and we can get you setup.

Virtual Patching for Websites with Sucuri CloudProxy

All software has bugs, and some bugs can lead to security vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities can be extremely dangerous when your software is running over the web, allowing anyone to reach and try to attack it. That’s why patching and keeping web applications updated is so important.
Sucuri Cloud Proxy

The reality is there is no shortage of websites running outdated Joomla installs, or outdated WordPress, or name your favorite CMS. There are also plenty of websites running themes/templates with known vulnerabilities, or forgotten plugins that are being exploited in the wild. The #1 excuse for keeping these web applications outdated is that their websites will break.

We often hear things like “My theme was heavily modified, so I can’t update it”, or “I am afraid it will break some functionality if I update this plugin”, or “I modified core files so now I am stuck”, or even “My web developer left us and nobody knows how this piece of code works”.

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2012 Web Malware Trends Report Summary

Sucuri is a website security company focused on the detection and remediation of web malware. In 2012, via our SiteCheck scanner, we scanned 9,953,729 unique domains. This small report is based on the data we were able to compile from that platform and our analysis of that same data.

2012 Web Malware Trend Report Summary

The Foundation

Healthy Website View

We consider a site to be healthy when we cannot identify any unauthorized modification of its content. If any type of malware including injections, SPAM, defacements, etc. are found on a site, or if it is blacklisted by any major security company or search engine, we consider it to be compromised. Based on this view, only 74% of the sites we scan were deemed to be healthy. All the others were either blacklisted or had some malicious injection on them.

  • Total unique domains scanned and analyzed: 9,953,729
  • Sites in which a malicious injection was identified: 15%
  • Sites in which a malicious injection was identified and it was also blacklisted: 4%
  • Sites that were only blacklisted: 7%

Note that the 15% represents unique domains that were classified malicious only by our scanner via our detection mechanism. The blacklisted percentage is based on data made available by the following blacklist API’s:

  • Google
  • McAfee
  • Yandex
  • Norton
  • PhishTank

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