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3/14/2008
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Trend Micro Details Its Recent Failed Web Attack

The code inserted in some Web pages of its site was meant to redirect the visitor to a malicious server that would download malware capable of stealing passwords.

Security software company Trend Micro on Friday confirmed that it had suffered a Web attack early in the week in which hackers embedded malicious code on the security vendor's Web site, but said its investigation showed no one visiting the site was affected.

The code inserted in some Web pages of the site was meant to redirect the visitor to a malicious server that would download malware capable of stealing passwords on an infected computer, Trend Micro spokesman Michael Sweeny said. The attempt, however, failed.

"We now know that the redirect on the site was broken code," Sweeny said. "It didn't work properly and didn't infect anybody."

Sweeny declined to provide further details, but said that such attacks in general typically involve the use of ActiveX controls, a Microsoft technology used in building user interfaces; and JavaScript, a popular scripting language supported by most Web browsers.

Hackers have exploited such technologies for the last couple of years in trying to embed malicious code in popular Web sites to redirect visitors to malware-carrying servers. Such redirections happen behind the scenes, so the victim doesn't know malware is being downloaded.

Sweeny said the practice is widespread and even security vendors "need to continue to be constantly vigilant, take corrective action, and harden our infrastructure."

Malware attacks was estimated to cost surveyed businesses, government agencies and universities $8.4 million last year, according to the latest annual Computer Crime and Security Survey, released in September by the Computer Security Institute.

While malware remained a serious threat, it was surpassed last year by financial fraud, which cost the same organizations $21.1 million, the survey found. While a total of 494 companies took part in the study, 194 companies willing to answer the monetary loss part of the survey added up to $66.9 million.

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