GoDaddy Attack Started With Spear-Phishing
Last week's attack on Websites hosted by GoDaddy likely originated with a spear-phishing attack to steal user credentials. Trustwave researchers said it could have been worse.More than 400 Websites hosted with domain registrar GoDaddy were compromised, redirecting unsuspecting visitors to a malicious site. It appears the sites were hit by a spear-phishing attack and the attackers could have done far greater damage, security researchers said. "Many" sites hosted on GoDaddy servers had their Apache configuration files modified to include rules to redirect visitors to another domain, security researchers at Sucuri wrote on a blog post Sept. 14. GoDaddy's security team identified approximately 445 hosting accounts that had been compromised and it cleaned up the affected systems by Sept. 15, according to Todd Redfood, GoDaddy's CISO.
Attackers modified .htaccess, an Apache file often used for authentication, with new rules that were executed every time a user visited the site, Nicholas Percoco, senior vice president and head of Trustwave Spider Labs, told eWEEK. The redirect code applied only to visitors coming to the site from search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing. Those visitors were first redirected to the domain sokoloperkovuskeci.com, registered to a person in Florida, and then to other malware-laden sites.
"Once an attacker has access to make changes to a Website, the sky is the limit for the nefarious activity that could come from it," Percoco said. GoDaddy does not think the attack was against the company because it impacted less than 1 percent of domains hosted on the platform. However, there was no discernable pattern to the types of sites that were affected. Percoco agreed, speculating that the attackers went after a large hosting provider in order to get a big pool of potential victims. This kind of attack has a "high success-to-failure ratio with minimal effort," according to Percoco.