RBN Takes a Bite Out of Monster

Part of Monster.com was bumped offline by an attack reportedly linked to the Russian Business Network.

A section of Monster.com was bumped offline by an iFrame injection attack late on Nov. 19. The attack has reportedly been linked to the Russian Business Network. The attack affected a slew of companies represented on Monsters Company Boulevard, including Eddie Bauer, GMAC Mortgage, BestBuy, Toyota Financial and Tri Counties Bank.

The Monster Company Boulevard allows visitors to research prospective employer companies and search for job openings specifically by company. A spokeswoman told eWEEK that the malicious attack inserted code into the pages that could cause vulnerable systems to download a virus. She said that Monster.com "immediately" removed and cleaned all the affected Web pages.

Exploit Prevention Labs identified the incident as a NeoSploit attack. NeoSploit is a malware tool found in the wild. When it first cropped up in the spring, Jose Nazario, senior security engineer for Arbor Networks, noted that it was carrying at least seven distinct exploits with which to infect a PC. NeoSploit is able to handpick an exploit based on a given systems weak points.

In a Nov. 19 posting, Exploit Prevention Labs Roger Thompson said that EPL hadnt yet figured out what exploits exactly were in use in this current attack, given that its "fairly well encrypted." Thompson noted that Monster had already taken the pages offline.

The attack employed a malicious HTML tag called an iFrame: an HTML element through which one HTML document can be embedded within a main document.


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Its not clear how many pages were affected by the attack. The Monster.com spokeswoman said that the malware was designed to recruit bots into a spamming bot network. She also said that the virus is detectable by most major anti-virus makers and that users running Windows with up-to-date security updates shouldnt be affected.

Monster has reason to believe that only a small number of site visitors have been potentially infected prior to the pages being cleaned up, but the company isnt providing details on how exactly its site was compromised in the first place.

Monster does think, however, that the attack originated with what the spokeswoman called "an online crime group that targets leading Web properties" and is working with law enforcement on the matter.

Thompson told news outlets that at least one of the exploit sites to which visitors were being redirected by the iFrame attack is associated with the RBN (Russian Business Network), the notorious Russian online gang that recently shut down its St. Petersburg IP addresses, moving first to a Chinese IP address block to set up shop and later disembarking elsewhere in its quest to evade network IP blocks.

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