Guardio Labs researchers have uncovered a new attack called as ‘EtherHiding,’ which combines Binance Smart Chain and Bullet-Proof Hosting to serve malicious code into victims’ web browsers.
Unlike an earlier set of false update hacks that targeted WordPress, this variant employs a new tool: Binance’s blockchain. Previously, non-blockchain variations would interrupt a webpage visit with a realistic-looking, browser-styled ‘Update’ prompt. A victim’s mouse click installed malware.
Hackers can serve a catastrophic payload of code directly from Binance Smart Chain due to its cheap, quick, and weakly policed programmability.
This is not a MetaMask assault, to be clear. Hackers simply serve malicious code within victims’ web browsers that looks like any webpage the hacker desires – hosted and served indefinitely. Hackers attack victims for various extortion scams using Binance’s blockchain to serve code. Indeed, EtherHiding targets victims who have no cryptocurrency holdings.
Using a Browser Hijack to Steal Personal Information
Fake browser updates have become increasingly common in recent months. Unwary internet users come to a plausible, surreptitiously compromised website. They notice a bogus browser update and inadvertently click ‘Update.’ Hackers immediately install malware such as RedLine, Amadey, or Lumma. This sort of malware, known as a ‘infostealer,’ frequently conceals through Trojan attacks that appear to be legal software on the surface.
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ClearFake, a more powerful infostealer, is used in the EtherHiding version of these WordPress-based update attacks. EtherHiding injects JS code into the machines of unwary consumers using ClearFake.
Some code in a previous version of ClearFake relied on CloudFlare servers. CloudFlare noticed and removed the malicious code, which rendered some of the ClearFake assault inoperable.
Unfortunately, the attackers have discovered how to avoid cybersecurity-minded sites such as CloudFlare. Binance proved to be an ideal host.
The EtherHiding hack famously redirects its traffic to Binance servers. It employs obfuscated Base64 code to query Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and initialize a BSC contract with an address controlled by the attackers. It specifically calls some software development kits (SDKs), such as Binance’s eth_call, which simulate contract execution and can be used to call malicious code.
As Guardio Labs researchers stated in their Medium postings, Binance may avoid this issue by limiting queries to fraudulent addresses or removing the eth_call SDK.
Binance, for its part, has marked some ClearFake smart contracts as malicious on BSCScan, the leading Binance Smart Chain explorer. It notifies blockchain explorers that the addresses used by the attacker are part of a phishing attack.
It does, however, provide very little valuable information regarding the attack’s form. Specifically, BSCScan does not provide warnings to victims where the hacks occur: within their web browsers.
Tips for avoiding EtherHiding in web browsers
With one-quarter of all websites utilizing WordPress, the software has become known for being a target for attackers.
- Unfortunately, around one-fifth of WordPress websites have not been updated to the most recent version, exposing Internet users to malware such as EtherHiding.
- Site managers should put in place strong security measures such as password protection, deleting hacked plugins, protecting passwords, and limiting admin access.
- WordPress administrators should upgrade WordPress and its plugins on a daily basis and avoid installing vulnerable plugins.
- WordPress administrators should likewise avoid using the login ‘admin’ for their management accounts.
Aside from that, the EtherHiding/ClearFake assault is impossible to counter. Internet users should simply be cautious of any unexpected ‘Your browser requires updating’ message, particularly when visiting a WordPress-powered website. Users should only upgrade their browser from the settings menu, not by clicking a button on a website, no matter how realistic it appears.
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