“A potentially dangerous Internet attack on personal computers by a virus designed to steal financial data and passwords from Web users rippled across the Internet on Friday, computer security experts said,” Duncan Martell reports for Reuters. “The attack, which surfaced earlier this week and is known as the “Scob” outbreak, exploits a vulnerability in servers using a version of Microsoft Corp.’s IIS software, and has been called more dangerous than the recent ‘Sasser’ and ‘Blaster’ infections.”
“The infected servers in turn exploit another vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser to install a Trojan Horse virus on the PCs of Web surfers who visit the infected Web sites, said Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering at Internet security company Symantec Corp.,” Martell reports. “‘All of this takes place while it looks like you’re viewing the same Web page,’ Huger said. ‘You don’t even know that parts of your browser have been redirected to another Web site.'”
“The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness team warned on its Web site that ‘any Web site, even those that may be trusted by the user, may be affected by this activity and thus contain potentially malicious code.’ The Trojan Horse places a keystroke logger on users’ PCs and is designed to capture credit card numbers and passwords and send them back to a server in Russia, said Michael Murray, director of vulnerability and exposure at computer security firm nCircle Network Security,” Martell reports.
“The attack is more alarming than most because there are no patches available yet from Microsoft to fix the vulnerability in Internet Explorer that lets the hackers take control of computers, security researchers said… The Macintosh version of Internet Explorer is not affected, nor are non-Microsoft browsers such as Mozilla, Opera and Apple Computer Inc.’s Safari browser, security experts said,” Martell reports.
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