Avast has reported that hackers bypassed popular PC software CCleaner’s security to inject malware into the application, thus, making millions of computers vulnerable to data theft. Cisco Talos’ cyber threat intelligence team identified that “multi-stage malware payload” rode on the top of the installation of CCleaner. The malware forayed into the software by compromising the Avast’s download servers’ firewalls. It can install ransomware or keyloggers and further infect target computers on command.
According to the Avast, an estimated number of 2.27 million ran the malware infected software. However, the malware was neutralized before it can cause harm to any client systems. “Piriform believes that these users are safe now as its investigation indicates it was able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm,” says an Avast spokesperson.
The app has been downloaded 2 billion times over the time, and it adds 5 million new users every month. If the threat wasn’t noticed, the repercussions would have been devastating. The ulterior motive of the hackers may not be just to hack client systems’ data but to break the trust of the customers on softwares like CCleaner that try to protect users from cyber threats. “By exploiting the trust relationship between software vendors and the users of their software, attackers can benefit from users’ inherent trust in the files and web servers used to distribute updates,” says Talos.
2017 has been a rough year for cybersecurity experts. More often than not we are hearing about ransomware, malware, data breaches, etc. Recently, in Equifax data breach, personal and financial data of 143 million U.S. citizens was hacked. In May 2017, WannaCry ransomware attack created a havoc on the IT systems of many big companies across the world. It has infected 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. While there has been tremendous progress in technology, robust cybersecurity is becoming a need of the hour.