‘Fireball’ malware designed to “hijack browsers and manipulate infected users affects Indian users

‘Fireball’ malware is designed to “hijack browsers and manipulate infected users affects Indian users

New Delhi,June 6 India has fallen victim to a new malware called ‘Fireball’ and is among the worst hit countries across the world in a massive new outbreak, launched by Chinese firm, according to security firm Check Point.

Check Point counts over 250 million PCs infected with the malicious code across the world, among which India is recorded to be the worst affected, with 25.3 million infected PCs.  Other countries which have been infected by the malware following India, includes Brazil (24.1 million), Mexico (16.1 million), Indonesia (13.1 million) and the US (5.5 millions).

 The malware is designed to “hijack browsers and manipulate infected users’ web-traffic” on behalf of a Beijing-based digital marketing firm called Rafotech to generate ad-revenues. Disturbingly, the malware also has the “ability of running any code on victim computers—downloading any file or malware.”

“A quarter-billion computers could very easily become victims of real malware,” said Maya Horowitz, head of Check Point research firm, told The Wired. “It installs a backdoor into all these computers that can be very, very easily exploited in the hands of the Chinese people behind the campaign,” she added.

This is the second global malware attack that India has fallen prone to, in a row after the massive “WannaCry” ransomware attack spread last month. The global cyber attack affected over 200,000 computers systems in at least 150 countries, including India, taking advantage of a vulnerability of the Microsoft’s OS Windows. The attack was also linked back to Chinese-speaking criminals, based on the language used in the malware’s ransom note.

In the Check Point analysis, it appeared one out of five of all cooperate networks are affected. The security firm warns that even though “hit rates in the US (10.7%) and China (4.7%) are alarming; Indonesia (60%), India (43%) and Brazil (38%) have much more dangerous hit rates.”

Check Point notified ‘Fireball’ should not only be judged based on its abilities known so far. “Something behind this is fishy, and the intentions of the developers aren’t only to monetize on advertisement,” Horowitz said. “We don’t know their plans, and if there’s really is one. But it looks like they have the opportunity to take it to the next level,” she added.

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