Malicious code infects Chinese security site

The website of one of China's internet security organisations has been laced with malicious code.

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The website of one of China's internet security organisations has been laced with malicious code.

At least three pages on the Chinese Internet Security Response Team's (CISRT) website are rigged with a malicious "iframe," a hidden window on a web page that can allow code such as JavaScript to run on a visitor's PC, according to Trend Micro's malware blog.

CISRT said the attack takes advantage of vulnerabilities associated with an ActiveX control in the BaoFeng Storm multimedia player. The iframe loads scripts that download more malicious code to a victim's machine, Trend Micro said. One of the downloaders is named "sms.exe."

CISRT apologised for the problems on its blog. "We are very sorry that when sometimes visiting our ... pages, malicious codes are inserted," it said.

How the code appears on CISRT's website was unclear. CISRT said it may be an Address Resolution Protocol attack, where data sent from a server to a PC can be manipulated or tainted.

Curiously, the attack appears to affect visitors to the site only intermittently, according to the security company Sûnnet Beskerming.

"This is actually quite an interesting method that will extend the useful life of a hack by making it harder to isolate and investigate," the company said in its blog. "With intermittent attacks on visitors, it also means that investigators need to look at all of the intermediate connections between site visitors and the website."

China has been accused by the West of state-sponsored hacking, although government officials have denied it and said they also have been under attack. Security analysts have warned of China's highly-skilled hacking community.

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