Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab has admitted it was the victim of a hacking attack on Sunday that exploited a bug in a web program which apparently involved software downloads.
Kaspersky said that the scammers were able to fool visitors into thinking that they were downloading an official Kaspersky product when in fact it was a fake.
The trick seems to be a fairly old one, and users were presented with a pop-up box that offered to run a scan on their machines. If accepted, this would alert users to an 'infection' and prompt them to download the rogue application.
Kaspersky said that the attack was limited to its kasperskyusa.com domain, and exploited a vulnerability in a third-party application used for "assisting web site administration routines".
The company confirmed in a statement that the domain redirected visitors to a fake program for around three and a half hours.
"As a result of the attack, users trying to download Kaspersky Lab's consumer products were redirected to a malicious web site," the firm said.
"The web site was simulating a Windows XP Explorer window and a pop-up window showing scanning processes on the local computer, offering the user a fake anti-virus program to install."
Once Kaspersky had been made aware of the vulnerability, probably through its own forums, the affected server was taken offline in 10 minutes.
Vulnerable components were removed and replaced with clean files, and Kaspersky promised that it has audited the site and that no personal user information had been exposed.
"Kaspersky Lab takes any attempt to compromise its security seriously. Our researchers are currently working on identifying any possible consequences of the attack for affected users, and are available to provide help to remove the fake anti-virus software," the company said.
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