Cybercrooks have brewed up a botnet that uses a bogus Firefox add-on to scan the web for hackable websites.
The so-called Advanced Power botnet runs SQL injection attacks on websites visited from infected machines. The malware, disguised as a legitimate add-on for Mozilla Firefox, found its way onto 12,500 systems, reports investigative security journalist Brian Krebs.
The malware is essentially designed to carry out the time-consuming task of searching websites for exploitable vulnerabilities while obscuring who might be behind this scanning malfeasance. SQL injection is a prevalent class of website vuln that's frequently used to attack unguarded sites.
In response to the discovery, Mozilla disabled the fraudulent Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant add-on behind the ruse. The bogus extension was added to the Firefox developers' block list on Monday.
Michael Coates, a one-time director of security assurance at Mozilla, now director of product security at Shape Security, said the target of the attack was vulnerable websites rather than consumers whose machines were infected by the malware.
“Advanced Power is ultimately a technique for compromising websites. The plugins doesn't necessarily harm the infected user; it uses them for the larger goal of finding websites that can be compromised and used to host malware.
“Malicious actors will always turn to easy attack vectors such as malicious plugins to build networks of unsuspecting endpoints to carry out their ill will,” he added. ®