Some time ago, an antivirus expert from our Global Research and Analysis Team, David Jacoby, discovered multiplatform malware that was distributed through Facebook Messenger. A few years ago, similar outbreaks were occurring quite often, but none have appeared lately; Facebook was doing a lot to prevent similar attacks.

 

First a preliminary report was published. At that time, Jacoby still had not had enough time to research many details about how the malware operated, but now he has, and we are ready to share them. From a user’s perspective, here’s how the infection progressed.

 

● The user received a message in Facebook Messenger from a friend. The message contained the word “Video,” the name of the sender, a random smiley, and a short link. It might look like this, for example:

 

● The link redirected to Google Drive, where the user saw something resembling a video player with a picture of the original sender in the background and what looked like a Play button.

 

● If the victim attempted to play back the “video” in Google Chrome, they were redirected to a page that looked much like a YouTube page and offered to install an extension for Chrome.

 

● If the user agreed to the installation, then the extension began to send out malicious links to their friends – and everything followed the same algorithm for each of them over again.

 

● Users of other browsers were persistently reminded to update their Adobe Flash Player instead of being offered the extension. The file they downloaded turned out to be adware – essentially, malefactors used advertisements to earn their money.

 

Jacoby, along with Frans Rosen, a researcher with whom he has been working on a project called “Hunting bugs for humanity,” have analyzed this malicious campaign and worked out how it operates.

 

The page that users were redirected to after following the link in Facebook Messenger was basically a PDF file that had been published to Google Drive. It opened as a preview. The file had a picture from a user’s Facebook page – the user whose identity was used to spread the malware – an icon for playing back the video shown over the picture, and the link that the victim opened by trying to click the playback button.

 

Clicking the link led friends of the victim to this page.
The link caused several redirections, landing the user on one of several websites. Victims using browsers other than Google Chrome ended up on a website offering to download adware masked as an update for Adobe Flash Player.

 

Browsers other than Google Chrome offered to download adware disguised as Adobe Flash Player.
In the case of Chrome, that was just the beginning: If the victim agreed to install the extension offered on the landing page, it began monitoring what websites the user opened. As soon as the victim navigated to Facebook, the extension stole their login credentials and the access token and sent them to the malefactors’ server.

A fake YouTube page offering to install Google Chrome extensions.
The crooks had found an interesting bug in Facebook. As it turned out, the unsecure Facebook Query Language (FQL), which was disabled a year ago, was not completely wiped out; it was blocked for applications, but with a few exceptions. For example, Facebook Pages Manager, an iOS application, still uses FQL. Thus, to gain access to the “locked out” feature, malware simply has to act on behalf of the application.

 

By using the stolen credentials and accessing the obsolete Facebook feature, the crooks could request that the social network send them the contact list of the victim, cull those who were not currently online, and randomly select 50 new victims from the remainder. Then, those users were bulk-messaged with a new link to Google Drive with a PDF file preview generated with the picture of the person on whose behalf the new messaging wave commenced. All in all, a vicious cycle.

 

It is worth noting that among other things, the malicious script “liked” a specific Facebook page, apparently to collect statistics for the infection. In the course of the attack, Jacoby and Rosen observed, the malefactors changed several of the specific pages, possibly as Facebook closed the previous ones. Judging by the number of “likes,” there were tens of thousands of victims.

One of the pages that infected users “liked.”
Their analysis of the code revealed that the malefactors were initially planning to use localized messages but then changed their minds and resorted to the short and simple “Video.” The localization function‘s code showed that the crooks were primarily interested in Facebook users from several European countries such as Turkey, Italy, Germany, Portugal, France (also, francophone Canada), Poland, Greece, Sweden, and all countries with English-speaking users.

 

The mutual effort of several companies has put an end to the infection’s spread for now. Nonetheless, this story is a great reminder that extensions for browsers are not as harmless as they may seem. To stay safe and not fall victim to similar malicious campaigns, avoid installing browser extensions without absolute confidence that they are safe, that they will not steal your data, and that they won’t track your online activities.

 

Also, clicking every link, even links that seem to be from someone you know, is out of the question. It is always a good idea to make sure that it is really your friend on the other end of the line, not some criminal who took control of your friend’s account.


RECOMMENDED ARTICLE FOR TECHWORLD


 
Honeywell Awards Three Scholarships to Chemical Engineer Students in the Philippines
Techworld Date Posted: 7 November 2017 4:41 PM | 279 Views
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that it has awarded scholarships to three Filipino students majoring in chemical engineering at a leading university in Philippines, affirming Honeywell’s continued investment in building the future engineering talent.... See More
 
Honeywell Awards Three Scholarships to Chemical Engineer Students in the Philippines
Techworld Date Posted: 4:41 PM | 279 Views
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that it has awarded scholarships to three Filipino students majoring in chemical engineering at a leading university in Philippines, affirming Honeywell’s continued investment in building the future engineering talent...See More

 
UBTECH Announces Arrival of Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Robot with Companion App
Techworld Date Posted: 9 January 2018 4:50 PM | 372 Views
UBTECH Robotics, a global leader in intelligent humanoid robots, today announced its latest offering, the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Robot by UBTECH, is now available in retail stores and online.. See More
 
UBTECH Announces Arrival of Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Robot with Companion App
Techworld Date Posted: 4:50 PM | 372 Views
UBTECH Robotics, a global leader in intelligent humanoid robots, today announced its latest offering, the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Robot by UBTECH, is now available in retail stores and online.See More

 
OPPO to Launch Power-Packed F9 in the Philippines
Techworld Date Posted: 9 August 2018 4:41 PM | 245 Views
OPPO announced its latest model F9, which is set to launch in the country on August 15. OPPO F9 is the brand-new breakthrough F series smartphone that will ship with VOOC Flash charge, gradient.... See More
 
OPPO to Launch Power-Packed F9 in the Philippines
Techworld Date Posted: 4:41 PM | 245 Views
OPPO announced its latest model F9, which is set to launch in the country on August 15. OPPO F9 is the brand-new breakthrough F series smartphone that will ship with VOOC Flash charge, gradient...See More

 
400% More Than Last Year: Kaspersky Lab Blocks over 8M Attacks on PH Users in Q3 2018
Techworld Date Posted: 23 November 2018 12:01 PM | 178 Views
In just three months, Kaspersky Lab has monitored more than eight million web threats against Filipino Internet users. This places the Philippines as the 10th most attacked country worldwide in terms of online infections.... See More
 
400% More Than Last Year: Kaspersky Lab Blocks over 8M Attacks on PH Users in Q3 2018
Techworld Date Posted: 12:01 PM | 178 Views
In just three months, Kaspersky Lab has monitored more than eight million web threats against Filipino Internet users. This places the Philippines as the 10th most attacked country worldwide in terms of online infections...See More

 
ASUS Republic of Gamers Showcases Latest Gaming Lineup at CES 2018
Techworld Date Posted: 11 January 2018 1:23 PM | 752 Views
ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today unveiled its latest lineup of gaming accessories at CES® 2018, including the ROG Strix Flare RGB mechanical keyboard, ROG Aura Terminal addressable RGB controller,. See More
 
ASUS Republic of Gamers Showcases Latest Gaming Lineup at CES 2018
Techworld Date Posted: 1:23 PM | 752 Views
ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today unveiled its latest lineup of gaming accessories at CES® 2018, including the ROG Strix Flare RGB mechanical keyboard, ROG Aura Terminal addressable RGB controller,See More

 
Five Ways to Make the Most Out of Your PLDT Home Prepaid Wi-Fi
Techworld Date Posted: 11 September 2018 10:59 AM | 200 Views
PLDT Home Prepaid Wi-Fi, the first prepaid service of the country’s No.1 broadband, is here and it is allowing more Filipino families to finally get their own high-speed Internet connection and enjoy their favorite.... See More
 
Five Ways to Make the Most Out of Your PLDT Home Prepaid Wi-Fi
Techworld Date Posted: 10:59 AM | 200 Views
PLDT Home Prepaid Wi-Fi, the first prepaid service of the country’s No.1 broadband, is here and it is allowing more Filipino families to finally get their own high-speed Internet connection and enjoy their favorite...See More

 
Lenovo Continues Support for ‘Outstanding Tech Visionary’
Techworld Date Posted: 2 October 2018 11:22 AM | 125 Views
Lenovo, a global leader in PC and smart devices, recently renewed its support to the youth by providing additional laptop grants to the University of the Philippines Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society (UP.... See More
 
Lenovo Continues Support for ‘Outstanding Tech Visionary’
Techworld Date Posted: 11:22 AM | 125 Views
Lenovo, a global leader in PC and smart devices, recently renewed its support to the youth by providing additional laptop grants to the University of the Philippines Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society (UP...See More

 
Phantom 4 Advanced vs Phantom 4 Pro: 4 Differences You Need to Know
Techworld Date Posted: 24 August 2017 9:41 AM | 251 Views
DJI's most recent release, the Phantom 4 Advanced, is a slightly altered version of the Phantom 4 Pro unit which came out late last year. Its titanium and magnesium alloy makes the aircraft more durable.... See More
 
Phantom 4 Advanced vs Phantom 4 Pro: 4 Differences You Need to Know
Techworld Date Posted: 9:41 AM | 251 Views
DJI's most recent release, the Phantom 4 Advanced, is a slightly altered version of the Phantom 4 Pro unit which came out late last year. Its titanium and magnesium alloy makes the aircraft more durable...See More

 
Kaspersky Lab Moving Core Infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland; Opening First Transparency Center
Techworld Date Posted: 16 May 2018 3:56 PM | 592 Views
As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.. See More
 
Kaspersky Lab Moving Core Infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland; Opening First Transparency Center
Techworld Date Posted: 3:56 PM | 592 Views
As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.See More

 
Get Free Globe Home Wi-Fi with Every Purchase of Selected Lenovo Devices
Techworld Date Posted: 26 September 2018 3:55 PM | 187 Views
As we gear up for the holidays, leading PC developer Lenovo and leading telecommunications provider Globe Telecom team up for an always-connected “Ber” season in a promo.. See More
 
Get Free Globe Home Wi-Fi with Every Purchase of Selected Lenovo Devices
Techworld Date Posted: 3:55 PM | 187 Views
As we gear up for the holidays, leading PC developer Lenovo and leading telecommunications provider Globe Telecom team up for an always-connected “Ber” season in a promo.See More


Power by

Download Free AZ | Free Wordpress Themes