Security researchers have discovered malicious advertisements showing up on the UK version of popular dating website Match.com.
UK users of mainstream dating website Match.com are potentially at risk after a malware advertisement scam was discovered on the website, reports BBC.
Security firm Malwarebytes discovered the malicious advertisements and confirmed that the ads are specifically targeting UK users. Significantly, Match.com and its servers were not breached, unlike the now infamous Ashley Madison breach that leaked personal data of millions of users.
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Match.com visitors and users are at risk from malware that could potentially steal personal information, trigger spam emails and indulge in ransomware.
“We alerted Match.com and the related advertisers, but the malvertising campaign is still ongoing via other routes,” wrote Malwarebytes in a blog post.
The Malware on Match.com
The malvertising attack works through shortened Google URLs through which malicious operators behind the malware have installed an ‘Angler’ exploit kit. The kit proceeds to plant Bedep ad fraud Trojans through banner advertisements on the website.
A Bedep Trojan routinely initiates a high volume of pings toward rogue advertising networks, when a computer is infected. The rogue networks redirect the targeted users to a host that then loops the connection over to another exploit kit. This cycle leads to more malware being installed in the system, all over again.
Redirects like these aren’t uncommon with malware exploits. The process is to put the user through a series of links embedded with code to check if the user is running outdated versions of popular plugins and software.
Malwarebytes confirmed that bugs in versions of Flash, Java, Adobe Reader and Silverlight were all being exploited by the malicious code.
Match.com users are also at risk from ransomware, the kind of malware that locks and encrypts files on a computer and holds users to ransom demands if they are to gain access to their systems. Individual users can be told to be up to $500 as a ransom demand to decrypt files on their computer.
“We’re seeing these types of attacks happen more and more,” MalwareBytes said. “Companies should always have effective measures in place to monitor for these malicious ads.”