Yahoo Inc has confirmed that most of its European online sites were recently used to spread malicious software. The technology firm disclosed that the so-called ‘malvertisements’ or malware-infected advertisements were spread before weekend but it assured that it had already contained and controlled the problem.
It was on Friday, January 3, when Dutch computer security company Fox-IT revealed in its blog that Internet attackers used ads in Yahoo to spread viruses. It said that malicious ads were inserted into ads.yahoo.com. Yahoo did not immediately confirm that report.
It was on Sunday, January 5, that Yahoo finally admitted the accuracy of the blog revelation. Through a spokesperson, the company admitted that on January 3, its European Websites were compromised to serve and spread ads that it described as ‘not meeting its editorial guidelines.’ The technology firm admitted that those ads contained and helped spread malware.
As expected, Yahoo reiterated that it immediately removed those bad ads. It said the problem does not prevail anymore. It also revealed that Mac PCs and mobile devices were certainly not affected by the issue.
What is malware?
Basically, malware is a form of software or computer program that is intended to disrupt a PC’s operations. At the same time, it could be used by unscrupulous parties to gather and obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. It could also be designed to gain access to even the most private and secured PC systems.
The spread of malware is not an uncommon occurrence. Every year, thousands of malware are being released and spread across the Internet. But there are special and rare instances when those are publicized and talked about, just like this latest incident that involved Yahoo.
According to the data reported by Fox-IT, the malware delivered though Yahoo sites and ads were spread to about 300,000 users each hour. It could have lead to around 27,000 infections each hour. Up to now, there is still no estimate about the total number of victims that were compromised. Meanwhile, the countries that were most affected were Great Britain, France, and Romania.
Up to now, it is still not clear which specific group of malware producers and attackers could be blamed for the latest attack. However, probers are certain that those parties were financially motivated. Those even seem to be offering services to other parties.
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