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12/4/2006
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MySpace Shuts Down User Profiles Due To Worm Infection

A worm directed victims to a phishing site where they were asked to type in their user name and password, a security firm said.

MySpace over the weekend shutdown hundreds of user profiles that had been infected by a worm that directed victims to a phishing site where they were asked to type in their user name and password, a security firm said.

As of Monday, all infected profiles on the popular social network had been taken down, Websense said. Out of the half-dozen phishing sites used in the attack, only one remained operational.

The worm, which was discovered Friday, exploited the Javascript support within Apple Computer's QuickTime player, which can be embedded in MySpace user profiles. The vulnerabilities were used to replace the legitimate links on MySpace profiles with links to the phishing site.

People logged into MySpace could have their profiles infected by simply visiting an infected profile. The malicious code was able to find visitors' profiles through cookies in the victims' browsers, said Dan Hubbard, VP for security research at Websense. Besides changing links, the worm also embedded the infected video in victims' profiles.

People redirected to a phishing site were asked for their MySpace user name and password. Such information could be useful to gain access to a person's personal social network, making it easier to launch more malicious attacks by posing as the victim in instant messages, Hubbard said.

In October, MySpace had 49 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. The worm infection isn't the first for the site, which has been attacked in the past by scripts with similar methods of spreading.

In July, a worm spreading through the site embedded JavaScript code into profiles that redirected visitors to a site claiming the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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