Chinese smartphones mount massive web attack

SmatphonesCHINESE smartphone users may not have known they were taking part in the web attack

More than 650,000 Chinese smartphones have been unwittingly enrolled in a massive attack that overwhelmed a web server. The huge attack saw the target site hit with about 4.5 billion separate requests for data in one day.

The tidal wave of data was traced to a pool of booby-trapped adverts that had been seeded with malicious code.

The adverts seem to have been shown in apps popular in China, said Cloudflare, which uncovered the data deluge.

Analysis found that it relied on the widely used Javascript language as it tried to knock the site offline.

“It seems probable that users were served advertisements containing the malicious Javascript,” wrote Cloudflare security analyst Marek Majkowski in a blogpost.

What was not entirely clear, said Majkowski, was how so many Chinese phone owners were tricked into visiting the pages hosting the booby-trapped adverts.

He speculated that the attack had worked because its creators had joined one of the networks that piped adverts to people as they browsed the web.

Many of these ad networks run live auctions with the available slots going to the firm that bids the highest. By bidding high, the cybercriminals seem to have won the right to get their adverts in front of lots of people, he said.



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