By Brian Prince
A botnet is outfitting its army of compromised computers with a SQL
injection attack tool to hack Web sites, researchers at SecureWorks have
According to SecureWorks, the Asprox botnet, once used solely to send
out phishing e-mails, is pushing the tool out to systems in its network
via a binary with the file name msscntr32.exe. The executable is
installed as a system service with the name "Microsoft Security Center
Despite the name, the file is in fact a SQL injection attack tool that
when launched searches Google for .asp pages that contain certain terms.
It then launches SQL injection attacks against the Web sites returned by
the search. According to SecureWorks, the attack is designed to inject
an IFrame into the Web site that tricks visitors into downloading a
This file in turn redirects computers to a site where additional
to be down when SecureWorks first reported the attacks May 14. When
successful, however, the site installs additional copies of Asprox, the
password-stealing Trojan Danmec or the SQL attack tool.
According to a list from VirusTotal, only a handful of the major
anti-virus vendors are detecting the attack tool at this time.
"This is the first time I've seen a SQL injection tool, but certainly
other botnets have tried to spread in a similar manner, infecting Web
sites with IFrames," said Joe Stewart, director of malware research at
SecureWorks. "For instance, Storm tries to get your password if you log
in to a Web site with FTP, and will put an IFrame into the page for
So far, SecureWorks has found 1,000 Web sites infected by this wave of
SQL attacks. Visitors to these infected Web sites are infected with the
Asprox malware.turning them into bots.and also download some scareware.
"We've estimated [the Asprox botnet] at around 15,000 hosts, but that
was before the wave of SQL attacks," Stewart said in an interview with
Researchers are still investigating exactly what vulnerability on the
Web sites is being exploited, Stewart said. The Web sites are
English-language and their owners include law firms and midsize
A similar attack technique is currently being seen spreading
game-password-stealing Trojans from China. Whether the tool is related
or only the attack syntax is shared, it is clear that SQL injection
attack activity is on the rise from multiple sources, Stewart wrote in
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