Legitimate websites redirecting to dangerous sites?

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Olivia Storey

Vulnerabilities were found in Microsoft Edge back at the beginning of the year, which affected web browsers when in read mode.

With Microsoft Edge, you can alter settings into read mode, which is almost like the equivalent of reading a book, as it takes away all the adverts and fancy bits, leaving the bare bones of the webpage.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains how cyber criminals can hijack your browser and redirect you to a malicious site.  

“So, this particular vulnerability would allow me to inject a web address into your browser making you think you were going somewhere (maybe trusted) but in actual fact you are going somewhere else, scenario:

“You go to a web site to purchase something or read something, and something on that page catches your eye and you click the link trusting the source as you trust the originator.

“The page you then get redirected to is a dodgy page either designed to infect you or even harvest your credit card or personal details, but you still think you’re going somewhere trusted and thus complete a transaction, download files or become infected.

“The battle between websites and ad blockers has been, and will be, a long one.

“For some owners it’s the only way to fund or sustain their website, and may in some cases not be able to provide the information or services without them.

“Microsoft Edge brings a feature called “Reading Mode”, this enables you to switch to text mode that removes all ads, videos or any other types of adverts just leaving the text.

“The problem unfortunately, is currently there is a vulnerability that could enable an attacker to spoof any website with a redirect, thus making the end user think they are on one website but in actual fact on another.

“This could lead to serving malware or phishing for credentials or private data.

“As with all Microsoft products keeping them patched and up to date is a must, as soon as any updates are available they should be installed without delay.

“If vulnerabilities are found and no patches become quickly available then your only option may be to restrict access to the offending application through group policy until it is resolved or an alternative is found.”

This vulnerability was patched in June 2017.


Do you use Microsoft Edge or Reading Mode? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.


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