Hackers have attempted to spread malware via the website of security firm Trend Micro, according to media reports in Japan.
Hackers tried to alter a number of web pages on the firm's Japanese and English-language websites on Sunday 9 March, using a malicious iFrame exploit that could deliver a Trojan horse onto users' computers. Trend Micro is believed to have uncovered the problem on Wednesday 12 March, and replaced affected pages with a message saying, "This page is temporarily shut down for emergency maintenance."
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It has not yet been revealed how hackers tampered with the web pages on the security website, but it is likely a software vulnerability on the site was exploited.
Trend Micro reported on its website that visitors to its sites could be infected by the malware, which it named JS_DLOADER.TZE, either by accessing one of the infected web pages or clicking on a malicious URL link.
The company said on its blog, "Early last week, we realised that part of our public online Virus Encyclopedia (VE) was altered via external hacking. The redirect placed on our sitedidn't work properly so nobody visiting the hacked pages was at risk of infection.
"In response to this incident, we shut down the VE forseveral hours, patched the systems, removed the inserted code, andbrought it back to life again. We have already taken interim measuresto further harden the VE system against future attacks."
On its own website, rival security supplier Sophos, said, "Our friends at Trend Micro and people visiting the hacked pages are victims of a crime. Sadly, it is not an uncommon crime these days and all kinds of businesses have suffered."
Sophos added, "This is not the time or place to make cheap shots against a competitor. In the past, we have found websites as varied as wedding photographers, antiques firms, pilates classes, ice-cream manufacturers and even the US consulate general in St Petersburg infected by similar attacks. It seems we now have to add anti-virus companies to that list."
Sophos said Trend Micro was not the first security company to become a victim. "In 1999, hackers changed the home page of Symantec - although in that instance the motivation was apparently to cause mischief rather than to spread malware."