Malware ads hit London Stock Exchange Web site

The ad was placed on the Unanimis advertizing network, used by the site

Visitors to the London Stock Exchange's Web site were hit with malicious ads over the weekend, designed to pop up fake security messages on their computers.

The culprit was an online advertisement that was somehow placed on the Unanimis ad network, which is used by the the Web site, a London Stock Exchange spokeswoman said Monday. "We had an advert on the site that linked through to a third-party website that was hosting this malware," she said. She did not know how many people had been served the malicious ad.

The Stock Exchange's Web site itself was not compromised, and the ad was removed as soon as it was discovered on Sunday, she said.

Nevertheless, visitors to the site early Monday were greeted with browser warnings saying that had been reported as an attack page. The warnings showed up in the Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers, but were removed later in the day.

"The malware was a classic spoof antivirus program which used a software vulnerability to download and install native executable code," said Paul Mutton, a researcher with Web analytics firm Netcraft, who reported the issue on his personal blog.

The malware pops up a message on the victim's computer that reads "Warning! You're in danger! Your computer is infected with spyware." This is a common type of malicious program, called "rogue antivirus," which is designed to trick the user into paying for useless antivirus software. Typically the victim ends up handing money over to the scammers, but the malicious software doesn't really go away.

In an online chat, Mutton said he did not know what bug the hackers used to install their malware. He also said he couldn't discuss the incident further.

In a brief statement, Unanimis said it had found malware "which affected some advertisements on our network." Unanimis is owned by European telecommunications giant Orange France Telecom Group.

Security experts say that criminals have become adept at sneaking onto online ad networks in recent years. In December, Google's ad network was hit with a similar type of malware. That attack lasted for about five days, according to security vendor Armorize.

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer contributed to this story.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags london stock exchangeOrange France Telecom Groupsecurityfinanceindustry verticalsmalware

More about etworkFrance TelecomGoogleIDGMicrosoftNetcraftOrange

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Robert McMillan

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place