A new computer virus targeting Google users is rapidly mutating, becoming what some consider to be the biggest threat to online security today.
The worm, known as Gumblar, attacks computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in some versions of Adobe reader and Flash player. Once it infects a victim's computer, it redirects Google search results to sites that download more malware to the user's machine or allows criminals to carry out “phishing” attacks to steal user name and password information. to online banking, websites and social networks.
Gumblar has also started to spread through other websites where passwords or software has already been compromised, so that visitors to these sites are infected without even realizing it; it is a download attack. The infected Flash movies and PDF documents on the site attack victims' computers.
Although Gumblar has been around for some time, its activity has increased rapidly in recent weeks. The authors of the virus, still unidentified, have modified their attack mode to download malicious code from a website in China, and have developed new techniques to avoid detection.
"The Gumblar attacks have mutated again," said Mary Landesman, a security researcher at ScanSafe, adding that this can only be described as a growing botnet - a web of robot programs - of infected Web sites.
Scansafe recommends that people concerned about the safety of their own sites visit a site called "Unmask Parasites."
The updated version of Gumblar has also been modified to more effectively attack the users of Google's Chrome browser, avoiding the built-in black list of suspicious websites.
Last week, the occurrences of Gumblar on the Internet increased almost 2.5 times, and the security company Sophos claims that it is responsible for 42% of all cases of malicious code found on websites.
Gumblar's infection speed has already prompted a series of warnings from leading security specialists.
The Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), the organization responsible for online safety in the US, issued a Gumblar warning earlier in the week, encouraging users to install software updates to protect themselves.
Source: The Guardian Technology