Reports: Yahoo servers hit in malware attack
Visitors to Yahoo's Web pages who clicked on ads in the past few days are potentially at risk of having their computers infected by malware, according to published reports Sunday.
Fox IT, an Internet security firm that discovered the alleged malware infection, says 300,000 users were visiting the infected ads every hour. That means roughly 27,000 computers and devices were being infected every hour since typically 9 percent of computers are actually infected after visiting the site. Most computer users either use software that combats such infections or may have configured their computers to be resistant to the attacks.
Malware, short for malicious software, is software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Computers connected to a network can spread the malware onto many more computers. The malware may have started spreading on Dec. 30.
This is just the latest technical problem to hit the struggling Yahoo as it attempts to become more relevant as online services proliferate. The company's email service experienced widespread outages and problems in late December.
Consumers should know that this Yahoo malware attack works by redirecting clicks to ads on Yahoo to an infected site, which then uses security holes in Oracle's Java to install malware. Java is a commonly used “plug-in” designed to add additional computational capability to Internet browsers.
The infected site proceeds to install a variety of malware to the user's device, including those called ZeuS, Andromeda, Dorkbot, Tinba or Necurs, Fox IT said. Most of the users affected have been in Great Britain, France and Romania.
Yahoo said it is aware of the security issues.
Computer users can protect themselves from this and similar attacks. Perhaps the easiest form of defense is turning off the Java plug-in, which is commonly installed in most browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Internet Explorer users can easily turn off Java by clicking on the icon that looks like a gear in the upper right corner of the screen and selecting “Manage add-ons.” Under the “Add-on Types,” look for a section titled Oracle America Inc. Right-click on any entry that starts with the word Java, and choose Disable. Oracle took ownership of Java when its acquisition of Sun Microsystems closed in 2010.
Any computer users concerned they might be infected should run a scan of their computer. Microsoft provides a free scanning tool called the Microsoft Safety Scanner that is able to detect and remove most malware.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Medicare paid for drug coverage of patients who had died, investigators say
- FCC chairman floats ‘hybrid’ ruling on net neutrality
- Federal civil rights charges called ‘unlikely’ in Ferguson shooting
- Mexican judge releases retired Marine held for 8 months in jail
- Unaccompanied immigrants put heavy strain on schools, charities
- Designer of ‘Operation’ game short of surgery cash