Friday, 25 May, 2018

UK And US Government Websites Infected With Mining Malware

The hackers forced government systems to run software that mined for cryptocurrencies The hackers forced government systems to run software that mined for cryptocurrenciesGETTY IMAGES
Mandy Jefferson | 15 February, 2018, 07:49

"We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it". "Government websites continue to operate securely", said the spokesperson.

The good news is the attack took place on Sunday morning and Texthelp has been quick to recognise the issue and take its service temporarily offline to fix it.

In addition to the ICO website, the report said other British sites are also affected, including the Student Loans Company and Barnsley Hospital, as well as thousands of others worldwide.

Australian government websites using the same plugin were also compromised.

Over 4,200 sites were infected with a malicious version of a widely used tool, Browsealoud from United Kingdom software maker Texthelp, which reads out webpages for people with vision problems, according to The Register. Over 4,300 website owners were reminded of this fact over the weekend when a hack hijacked a popular plugin to make both their sites and their visitors secretly mine the bitcoin rival Monero.

The Information Commissioner's website, as well as others, seems to have been infected by crypto-mining code inserted into some accessibility software they all use. The attacker added malicious code to the file to use the browser CPU in an attempt to illegally generate cryptocurrency.

Closing an affected computer's web browser - or even just a browser tab that has loaded a compromised website - would be enough to end the connection and block the mining, cybersecurity researchers said.

Texthelp's Browsealoud script allows users to request that a page it's embedded into be read aloud or translated into another language.

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Browsealoud will remain offline until 12 pm on Tuesday.

Both the National Cyber Security Centre and National Crime Agency are now assisting with Texthelp's criminal investigation.

Helme found that the Browsealoud library was updated to include the cryptocurrency miner at around 3am GMT on Sunday, and the malware appears to have been served to website visitors during a four-hour period that day.

Hackers often seek to infect others' computers with cryptominers because the mining process requires vast amounts of computational power, which often dramatically slows the device.

The company added that no customer data has been accessed or lost.

"At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that members of the public are at risk". "There are easy ways to make sure they don't do that".

Texthelp said no customer information has been exposed due to the security lapse, and "Browsealoud [was removed] from all our customer sites immediately, addressing the security risk without our customers having to take any action".

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