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Pop-up ads are annoying. Unfortunately many sites rely on them to pay for their operational expenses and even to make some extra cash. However when you see pop-ups on your own site and you never added such ads yourself, you know that something is wrong.

Recently, an owner of a vBulletin forum asked us to help remove unwanted popups from their site. We noticed that web pages made requests to is[.]gd/KHoxPa and is[.]gd/a8nxlP, which in turn loaded ad scripts from onclickads[.]net and go.pushnative[.]com.

Upon further investigation, we found the following code injected into clientscript/yui/yuiloader-dom-event/yuiloader-dom-event.js:

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Recently we wrote about how hackers hijacked payment process on an ecommerce site and redirected customers to a fake checkout page on a third-party site. This sort of attacks is not limited to online stores. Even non-commercial sites may be affected.

This week we cleaned a compromised site where hackers managed to upload backdoors and quite a few other malicious files. At first it looked like typical infection. But there was an interesting detail.

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Some people are unfamiliar with the Drupal CMS, it doesn’t enjoy the popularity that some others do like WordPress and Joomla, but it's a powerful CMS none the less. Compared to the way WordPress is structured, Drupal is a big monster! There are lots of included files, modules, and of course… a lot of places for malware to hide.

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In order to avoid detection and maintain access to compromised websites, attackers use different techniques to hide their malicious code.

During our cleanup investigation we identified an interesting malicious code that pretended to be a legit Joomla core file. In this particular case the attackers based their malware on the libraries/application/application.php file from the 1.5.26 version.

The malware acts like a regular backdoor, allowing arbitrary command execution on affected websites.

Here is a snippet of the code that reveals the backdoor:

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During an incident response process performed in our client’s website, one of our analysts found a very interesting web shell. Our tools detected a suspicious file called "./v8.php" and after some time decoding it, we found out that it was a backdoor giving full shell access to the attackers.

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We wrote multiple times about various attacks on e-commerce sites that try to steal credit card details of their customers. In most cases, all such attacks need is the shortest moment when the site processes the payment details. It can be an injected JavaScript that steals your data as you enter it in the order form. Or it can be a server side script that builds itself as a middleman between the code that receives the data from user and the code that sends that data to a secure payment gateway. Note, in both of these scenarios e-commerce sites don’t even try to save the credit card information on their servers. The mere fact that they have the payment form on their own domain is enough for hackers to hijack it once they break into the site.

However, hijacking a payment form means that hackers can only steal details of ongoing payments. They have to wait for people to buy something from the compromised sites. But if hacked sites use really poor security practices and save all the payment details on their own servers, the attackers can easily steal credit card details of their customers without having to wait for new victims.

For example, in some versions of PrestaShop, there are standard tables (ps_payment_cc and ps_order_payment) for storing all credit card information (card number, expiration, card holder, etc.). Unfortunately, some PrestaShop payment modules indeed save credit card details in the database, so hackers just couldn’t help taking advantage of this.

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Recently we cleaned a site that had a malicious wp-page.php file at the root of the WordPress site. It was responsible for pharma spam doorways created on this site. The file was quickly located and deleted. To our surprise, when we loaded that wp-page.php in a browser to verify that the problem was resolved, the malicious content was still there. And the headers stated that it was not a cached page.

We checked the file on server - indeed it was there with a very fresh modification date. We deleted the file again and a few seconds later the file was recreated. This behavior was typical for malware that used cronjobs to reinfect sites. However, when we checked the user’s crontab, we didn’t find any suspicious cron jobs there.

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Sharing spam content and getting blacklisted is not a matter of choice when a website is hacked, these are just some of the consequences when attackers compromise a blog/website and that is why it is so important to have security measures/policies in place to prevent such issues from happening.

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We often find code that is developed with good intent but the security aspects of it are not always taken into consideration.

During a routine cleanup investigation we found a php script in a theme that used mail capabilities without any type of security check or direct access prevention. Because of that, attackers would be able to abuse such features and send mass SPAM.

This script is part of one premium WordPress theme and here is a snippet of it (with comments removed):

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Spammers are constantly looking for ways make use of resources of hacked sites in their black hat SEO schemes. In most cases, spam injections and doorway script are quite hard to detect but in this example attackers didn’t worry much about that aspect.

The technique consists of abusing server resources (storage and database) by installing spammy WordPress sites (Oakley and Ray Ban spam in our case) in subdirectories of the original site and providing additional scripts to automate WordPress management (they probably don’t know about the XML-RPC API).

During our investigation, we identified common patterns between different infected websites with this type of injection.

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