PornHub Users Infected With Virus After Hackers Unleash Malware

PornHub Users Infected With Virus After Hackers Unleash Malware

The attack apparently had been active for over a year and "exposed millions of potential victims in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia", according to Proofpoint, a security company cited by the Guardian.

The campaign was tightly focused, with ads being displayed only to users in the United Kingdom, the US, Australia and Canada, and further limited depending upon which ISP they used, said security firm Proofpoint in an advisory.

Security firm Proofpoint detected the large-scale malvertising attack, which it says was carried out by the KovCoreG group as a way of infecting visitors with the Kovter ad fraud malware. "In 2016, Google removed 12 million bad ads which, aside from malware, included illegal product promotion and misleading ads".

Like other malvertising actors, the KovCoreG group is now focusing on redirecting users to social engineering sites (i.e. fake download), instead of redirecting users to websites hosting exploit kits.

A sign at the PornHub booth is displayed at the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 18 in Las Vegas.

The redirects surfaced automatically through ads displayed on Pornhub and caused the browser to display a full-page warning that appeared legitimate, researchers said.

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With the help of malvertising, the use of online advertising to spread malware, hackers hijacked advertising platforms to deliver fake browser updates for the three most popular Windows browsers.

A hacking group has been preying on PornHub users for over a year, infecting their computers with malware disguised as software updates. Force the user has installed, Kovter, malware, fraud advertising on their PC.

"While the payload in this case is ad fraud malware, it could just as easily have been ransomware, an information stealer, or any other malware", Proofpoint said.

"Campaigns on very high-ranking websites ... that convince users to infect themselves means that potential exposure to malware is quite high, reaching millions of web surfers, " Proofpoint wrote.

Although Pornhub, the world's largest pornography site with 26bn yearly visits according to data from ranking firm Alexa, and its advertising network have shut down the infection pathway, the attack is still ongoing on other sites. This popularity makes it even more of a target for hackers.

According to the Guardian, PornHub did not comment on this development. "This has led to an upturn in the number of reputable organizations distributing malvertising".

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