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Wednesday, 07 November 2018 05:37

Attackers breach Statcounter, target cryptocurrency site Featured

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Attackers breach Statcounter, target cryptocurrency site Pixabay

Malicious attackers breached Web analytics platform Statcounter on 3 November and inserted JavaScript that would target the cryptocurrency exchange gate.io, the security firm ESET says in a detailed blog post.

The firm's Matthieu Faou said gate.io was a popular exchange, with millions of dollars, including US$1.6 million in bitcoin, being transacted every day.

Statcounter has more than two million members and calculates Web statistics on more than 10 billion page views each month. Its Alexa ranking is a little above 5000.

The inserted code had the effect of creating a Web page that would transfer bitcoin from a gate.io account to an external bitcoin address.

Faou said depending on whether the victim entered an amount more than 10 bitcoin, the attackers' script would use it or else use the victim's daily withdrawal limit.

The redirection of the withdrawal was probably not noticeable by victims, as it happened after they clicked on the submit button, he pointed out.

"Even if we do not know how many bitcoins have been stolen during this attack, it shows how far attackers go to target one specific website, in particular a cryptocurrency exchange," Faou said.

"To achieve this they compromised an analytics service’s website, used by more than two million other websites, including several government-related websites, to steal bitcoin from customers of just one cryptocurrency exchange website."

And, he added, "It also shows that even if your website is updated and well protected, it is still vulnerable to the weakest link, which in this case was an external resource.

"This is another reminder that external JavaScript code is under the control of a third party and can be modified at any time without notice."

Contacted for comment, Stacounter's Aodhan Cullen said: "The extra piece of Javascript code has been removed.

"We are using a content delivery network to speed up the delivery of our service to our users around the world. We suspect that it was through the CDN that the extra piece of Javascript was added.

"We're investigating currently. We'll let you know when we have more details."

 

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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