McAfee Labs has observed various spam runs exploiting the recent sensational Carrie Prejean news. The Prejean video is rapidly becoming one of the most searched-for topics ever on the net since the existence of the tape became common knowledge.
Source: Google Trends
Java applets provide everything from interactive features to web applications to advertisements. Since the birth of Java, attackers have exploited its security platform. Attackers are now taking advantage of a feature in Java to social-engineer not tech-savvy Internet users into infecting themselves with malware.
Here’s how an attack works:
The signed applet contains a signature that browsers should verify through a remote, independent certificate-authority server. Once the signature is verified and the user also approves, the signed applet can gain more rights, becoming equivalent to an ordinary application. When the app is injected into a trusted website, users would hardly take the trouble to validate if the certificate is legitimate.
This approach is very effective for the following reasons:
The malicious applet has almost no detection on Virustotal, but it is detected by McAfee with the current DATS as Exploit-ByteVerify.b. The malicious executable incorporates SMTP functionality that is capable of sending spam and is currently detected as BackDoor-EHP.
We urge users to handle unknown Java applets with caution and make sure any digital signature comes from a trusted authority before executing it.