All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Facebook and LinkedIn used in Blackhole exploit kit spam campaigns

18 Apr 2013

McAfee has uncovered a new cyber campaign sending out malicious spam messages pretending to come from high-profile companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

The security firm reported uncovering a new automated spam campaign using the Blackhole exploit kit in a blog post on Thursday.

"[We've seen a number of] spam campaigns based on the Blackhole Exploit Kit send messages that contain links to compromised legitimate websites, which serve hidden iframes and redirections that exploit vulnerabilities across operating systems - from Android to Windows," wrote McAfee's Paras Gupta.

"Spam themes vary rapidly and are disguised to appear as legitimate messages from familiar services. Campaigns spoofing Facebook, LinkedIn, American Airlines, and various banking services carry embedded links to malware."

The campaigns are becoming increasingly common although the exact malware used in each campaign varies greatly.

McAfee linked the campaigns to malware designed to do everything from enslaving the infected machine to a criminal botnet to basic data theft.

The use of big name companies by criminals is an ongoing problem for the security community.

McAfee said that the issue is getting worse as criminals are developing new ways to make the  messages look legitimate so people are more likely to trust them and click the malicious link.

"Spammers abuse email templates from familiar service providers by capturing automated emails, replacing links in the template with links to malware, and rebroadcasting those messages to harvested or predicted recipients," wrote Gupta.

"This tactic has proven effective for spammers. Recipients are likely to click links in familiar-looking emails and often create custom whitelist entries for common sending domains without enforcing Sender Policy Framework or DomainKeys Identified Mail validation."

Security firm Webroot reported uncovering a new online black market selling stolen business contact details of executives from Forbes 100 companies to help criminals mount spam campaigns, underlining the extent of this issue.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Work location poll - office, remote or home?

Where do you spend most time working on your primary work device?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Beacon technology: what are the opportunities and how does the technology work?

This paper seeks to provide education and technical insight to beacons, in addition to providing insight to Apple's iBeacon specification


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

IT Security Analyst (Cyber, Wireshark, SIEM)

IT Security Analyst (Cyber, Wireshark, SIEM) Why apply...

Systems Operations Supervisor

Our Client is seeking an Operations Systems Analyst/Supervisor...

Project Manager / Technical Project Manager - (Prince 2, ERP, MS Project, ISO, PPI)

Project Manager / Technical Project Manager - (Prince...

Software QA Tester - No.1 Online Video Gaming Tech Provider

Software QA Tester - No.1 Online Video Gaming Tech Provider...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.