Hackers target People’s Republic of Cork

6 Nov 2007

Popular Irish satirical website Peoplesrepublicofcork.com has come under attack from hackers aimed at spreading malware, or malicious software, through spamdexing, which is the process of adding a spam-like list of keywords to help the site get listed highly in Google or other search engines.

Web security company ScanSafe came across the security threat on 18 October.

“Investigation revealed a multi-site, multi-faceted compromise involving system information gathering, spamdexing, and exploit leading to the installation of malware,” said ScanSafe.

“In effect, Peoplesrepublicofcork.com is serving as fuel to boost the search engine rankings of these malicious pages hosted on the compromised site, Therhinobar.com, and thus spread a new variant of the Storm family.”

While the site appears as normal when accessed from an address bar, Google issues a malware warning, alerting that visiting the site may harm the user’s computer.

The malware, which is not seen by the visitor, exploits vulnerabilities in programs including Yahoo! webcam and Apple Quicktime.

The editor of the People’s Republic of Cork said: “We are fully aware of this problem and we are working flat out to get rid of it.

“We are having our server reinstalled as soon as our hosting company, Hostrocket.com, can do it. This has been scheduled for Saturday morning but we are hoping to secure a closer date from Hostrocket.com, our hosts.”

By Marie Boran