A new round of SQL injection attacks has infected millions of web pages belonging to businesses and government agencies, including those that belong to the National Institutes of Health and Education Department in the US and the UK Trade & Investment.
This search shows at least 1.45 million infected pages and queries here and here out some of the US and UK government websites that have been hit by the attack. Not exactly reassuring to know that government-run websites are open to such a basic attack.
We strongly recommend not clicking on the infected sites unless you know what you're doing. Punters unfortunate to land on infected pages that are still live can wind up at sites "where a CGI script starts the road of pain," according to this post from Sans.
SQL injections take advantage of web developers who write applications that accept user-supplied data without inspecting it for malicious characters. The input is usually entered into search boxes or other fields that interact with the site's SQL database. Commands in the entered data instruct the website to add links that redirect visitors to websites under the control of attackers.
We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Given the prevalence of pages from supposedly reputable organizations that threaten their users, Firefox using the NoScript extension is an effective, but by no means perfect, measure to insulate yourself against these attacks. ®