Website Malware – Evolution of Pseudo Darkleech


Last March we described a WordPress attack that was responsible for hidden iframe injections that resembled Darkleech injections: declarations of styles with random names and coordinates, iframes with No-IP host names, and random dimensions where the random parts changed on every page load.

Back then, we identified that it was not a server-level infection. The malicious PHP code was injected into the wp-includes/nav-menu.php file. It fetched the actual iframe code on the fly from a remote server.

Since then, we’ve been regularly cleaning sites infected with this malware. While the PHP code in the wp-includes/nav-menu.php file didn’t change much, the site visitor facing part of this attack has changed significantly.

First of all, the attack became stealthier. It won’t reveal itself if a request comes from any of the networks (including whole countries) that the attackers are not interested in.

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Joomla SQL Injection Attacks in the Wild

Last week, the Joomla team released an update to patch a serious vulnerability on Joomla 3.x. This vulnerability is an SQL injection (CVE-2015-7858) that allows for an attacker to take over a vulnerable site with ease. We predicted that the attacks would start in the wild very soon, due to the popularity of the Joomla platform along with how easy the exploitation was.
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Website Malware – The SWF iFrame Injector Evolves

Last year, we released a post about a malware injector found in an Adobe Flash (.swf) file. In that post, we showed how a SWF file is used to inject an invisible, malicious iFrame.

It appears that the author of that Flash malware continued with this method of infection. Now we are seeing more varieties infecting both WordPress and Joomla websites. Though it’s uncertain how many iterations existed in the wild when we first reported the issue, this time we’ve found a lot of websites where the infection looks similar:
Identifying the Flash Infection

The similarities are easy to spot once you know what they are. The malicious .SWF file is always stored in /images/banners/ and the file name is three random characters followed by .SWF with an ID parameter appended:
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Joomla! 3.3.5 Released – Fixing High Priority Security Issues

Update: It seems like there is a glitch in the new version and the Joomla team is urging its users not to upgrade yet. From their Twitter:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.04.31 PM

Original post:

The Joomla team just released versions 3.3.5, 3.2.6 and 2.5.26, patching high priority security issues. The first one is an Remote File Include (RFI) vulnerability and the second one is a Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability that affect all previous versions. If you are using Joomla, stop what you are doing and update it now!

The good news for our clients and what’s very exciting for us, me especially, is to see how the virtual hardening on our CloudProxy Website firewall protected our clients automatically against this vulnerability. As our researchers started to analyze the disclosure, we quickly noticed that it was already covered and the URL used to trigger this bug was already blocked by default. It means that our clients got zero-day protection without anyone even knowing about this issue.

For more information on these vulnerabilities, you can get straight from the Joomla! release notes:

High Priority – Core – Remote File Inclusion:

Project: Joomla!
SubProject: CMS
Severity: Moderate
Versions: 2.5.4 through 2.5.25, 3.2.5 and earlier 3.x versions, 3.3.0 through 3.3.4
Exploit type: Remote File Inclusion
Reported Date: 2014-September-24
Fixed Date: 2014-September-30
CVE Number: CVE-2014-7228

Inadequate checking allowed the potential for remote files to be executed.

This issue was discovered by Johannes Dahse and disclosed to Akeeba (and Joomla). The Akeeba team released a good post explaining the issue. We recommend reading if you are interested in the technical details.

Medium Priority – Core – Denial of Service:

Project: Joomla!
SubProject: CMS
Severity: Low
Versions: 2.5.4 through 2.5.25, 3.2.5 and earlier 3.x versions, 3.3.0 through 3.3.4
Exploit type: Denial of Service
Reported Date: 2014-September-24
Fixed Date: 2014-September-30
CVE Number: CVE-2014-7229

Inadequate checking allowed the potential for a denial of service attack.

Again, if you are using the Joomla! we highly recommend updating immediately.