Hackers have a new tool in their toolbox

They're making rapid use of this new exploit.  Recently, researchers from Confiant have discovered a new campaign 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 has been named '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, in fact, experiencing redirections on WebKit browsers upon the 'onkeydown' event.  The nature of the bug 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. Also noteworthy is that the campaign behind this payload had specifically targeted some web applications with text areas and search forms in order 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 it in a WebKit patch that was 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.

Our perspective

In any case, if it's been a while since you updated your browser, given the above, now is a great time to do so.

As Hill Street Blues' Sgt. Esterhaus always advised: "Hey, let's be careful out there!"

Meanwhile, check out this report

This free executive report may give you insights into how to build your business with safe IT environments: 10 Hidden IT Risks That Might Threaten Your Business and 1 Easy Way to Find Them

The author

Thanks for reading this short post. For more tips on thriving with small business technology, check out the other blog posts at DWPia Blogs. I am also available on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Cybersecurity Expert, Small Business Technology Consultant, Managed Services Provider, Managed IT SupportI am Denis Wilson, President and Principal Consultant for DWP Information Architects. I help professionals grow their business by building a foundation of rock-solid information solutions for smaller healthcare, insurance, financial, legal, and nonprofits firms in Ventura County and San Fernando Valley. And have created cost-effective IT solutions, for over 20 years, specializing in cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. I am also a published author and speaker, working extensively with a variety of organizations, as well as providing small business technology education programs through business and professional associations. This just in: I will be speaking regularly at California Lutheran University's Center for Nonprofit Leadership starting in September.

Contact me if you would like me to speak at your association.