Stegano Attacks Australian Internet Users

Researchers at ESET have recently discovered a new exploit kit that is spreading through the internet via malicious ads on established websites that generate high traffic. Over the last two months, cybercriminals have targeted users of Internet Explorer on computers with vulnerabilities in their Flash Player. Hackers have attempted to download remotely and execute different types of malware through loophole exploits.

ESET has said that the newly identified attacks fall under “malvertising” because of the distribution of malicious code via advertising campaigns.  Steganography or “Stegano” is the exploit kit that cybercriminals use to hide some parts of the malicious code in the pixels of an advertisement’s banner images. Once the victim’s computer has been infected by malware, the cybercriminals will start to download and execute the malware.

According to Nick Fitzgerald that senior research fellow of ESET, it is important to ensure that operating systems and application software are fully patched and updated. Aside from targeting systems using specific web browsers and outdated Flash versions, Stegano invests extensive efforts to avoid running on common security research computers whether it is virtual, sandbox or a standard infectible machine so as to avoid detection. Stegano also complicates ongoing monitoring and research activities.

Fitzgerald provides computer users with the following tips to prevent being infected with malware:

  • Run security updates and patches to determine whether your computer has been infected with malware
  • Always make sure to check for any suspicious activities on online banking accounts. Check whether there are fraudulent transactions.
  • A proper security solution must be customized for your device and user habits to avoid malware attacks.
  • Change your login credentials and strengthen your passwords

The recent Stegano “malvertising” campaigns have targeted Australian internet users who have not properly updated and configured their security apps.

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