Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

4/16/2019
04:55 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Threat Group Exploits Chrome Bug to Serve Malicious Ads to iOS Users

A new exploit developed by eGobbler is allowing it to distribute malvertisements-more than 500 million to date-at huge scale, Confiant says.

In one of the biggest malvertising campaigns in the last 18 months, a previously known threat group called eGobbler is taking advantage of a security bug in Google's Chrome browser to target millions of iOS users. 

Security vendor Confiant, which has been tracking the campaign since it launched April 6, estimates that more than 500 million malicious ads have been served to iOS users already. Users are being redirected to scam "You've won a gift card" landing pages hosted on a top-level domain previously associated with eGobbler.

Google, which makes most of its money from online advertisements, is currently working on a fix for the bug after being notified about the issue April 11, Confiant said in a report Tuesday. The company did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

According to Confiant, the problem exists in the manner in which Chrome for iOS handles pop-ups. Like other browsers, Chrome incorporates ad sandboxing features to ensure that any code used to insert ads into a Web page only has limited ability to interact with other components.

Sandboxing is a method of restricting what actions are available to any advertisement that is served from a different domain than the page hosting it, says Eliya Stein, senior security engineer at Confiant. The goal is to prevent malicious advertisements from hijacking browser sessions via pop-ups and redirects to websites and landing pages the user did not intend to visit.

Normally, an ad sandbox should prevent a pop-up from being launched unless the user takes some direct action to enable it. The Chrome vulnerability allows attackers a way around this protection.

Chrome Sandboxing Fail
According to Stein, the exploit that eGobbler has developed and is using with such success essentially tricks Chrome for iOS into allowing pop-ups without any direct interaction. "The security bug in Chrome is around Chrome’s built-in pop-up blocker," Stein says. "All versions of Chrome on iOS are impacted."

Because the eGobbler exploit allows the attacker to redirect a user with a pop-up, any other standard sandboxing protections that Chrome has against browser redirections, such as disallowing JavaScript, are moot, he says. "We believe that this exploit was key in magnifying the impact of this attack," Stein says.

He adds that Confiant wants to give Google's Chrome team a reasonable amount of time to fix the bug before releasing more details on how it works. Confiant will release a full analysis of the bug at a later date.

So far, eGobbler has launched eight individual malvertising campaigns mostly targeting iOS users in the US over a six-day period starting April 6. Each individual campaign has lasted between one to two days, Confiant said.

The threat group managed to place over 30 malicious advertisements on legitimate but previously compromised ad servers and used cloaked intermediate CDN domains as part of their ad delivery.

"The CDN domains are used to host the payload that performs the actual redirect and/or the pop-up," Stein says. These are intermediate domains in the ad-serving process that attackers often use for loading ad-serving code. "Attackers rotate these kinds of domains often in attempt to fly under the radar," Stein noted.

The original campaign targeting iOS users has now pivoted to another platform and is ongoing, though Stein declined to name the targeted platform. It is not clear whether eGobbler is exploiting the same Chrome bug, but chances are high they are, he says. "This requires some follow-up on our end," Stein says.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...