PageFair says small percentage of users were at risk from attack

Although AV programs may not have detected the malware, users would have had to approve running it

PageFair, an Irish ad analytics company, said Monday a small percentage of users were at risk after attackers compromised its systems over the weekend.

CEO Sean Blanchfield wrote that 501 publishers that use the company's javascript tag were affected.

Ninety percent of publishers have less than ten million page views per month, and 60 percent have less than one million page views per month, he wrote.

PageFair has calculated that about 2.3 percent of the visitors to those sites would have been at risk of being infected.

The attackers gained access to a key email account at PageFair and then reset the password for a PageFair account at a content distribution network (CDN).

The CDN was used to serve a javascript tag created by PageFair that collects data about websites. The hackers swapped out the javascript tag for their own malicious code, which was then served by some publishers that use PageFair's tag.

"This intentionally harmful javascript prompted visitors to install a fake Adobe Flash update, which appears to be a botnet trojan that targets Windows," Blanchfield wrote.

The attack was noticed within five minutes, but it took PageFair 83 minutes to completely stop the attacks.

Blanchfield wrote that an analysis of the malicious code delivered indicated that the majority of antivirus programs wouldn't have detected it at the time of the attacks.

But for the attacks to be successful, users would have had to approve the download of the executable file delivered, which Windows would have warned about, he wrote.

F-Secure wrote on its blog on Monday that the malware delivered was a remote access tool called NanoCore.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about F-Secure

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 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

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place