Malvertising Attacks: what you should know
Hackers and scammers have a new tool in their toolbox, and they're making rapid use of it. Recently, researchers from Confiant have discovered a new malvertising attack involving a Chrome for iOS exploit. They discovered an unknown group of attackers getting around the browser's built-in pop-up blocker to deliver fake ads. This happened to half a billion users from the US and Europe in less than a week.
The group is 'eGobbler' and they're not picky. Since Confiant began tracking their activities, they've targeted iOS devices as well as Windows, Linux, and macOS desktops in one of the most far-reaching malvertising attacks we've ever seen.
The researchers had this to say about the matter:
"This time around...we were experiencing redirections on WebKit browsers upon the 'onkeydown' event. The [bugs nature] is that a cross-origin nested iframe is able to 'autofocus' which bypasses the 'allow-top-navigation-=by-user-activation' sandbox directive on the parent frame. The campaign behind this payload specifically targeted some web applications with text areas and search[ed] forms to maximize the chances of hijacking these keypresses."
The long and the short of it is that this represents a new attack vector. Hackers can now inject malware into completely innocuous ads, hijacking them for their purposes.
Both Google and Apple have taken swift, decisive action to address the issue. Google addressed the issue in a WebKit patch released on August 12. Apple addressed the matter in their release of iOS 13 on September 19, and via Safari 13.0.1 on September 24. The bad news is there's no guarantee that the hackers won't find yet another workaround to exploit, so this is probably not the last we've seen of the issue.
Updated your browser if it's been a while since your last update. Given the above, now is a great time to do so.