On Tuesday August 16, at around 8pm (Monday, August 15, 20:00 GMT), MetService‘s website support team learned there has been a problem with its ad server.
They shut down the server right away in order to protect client browsers. “Prior to this we had received no reports of any issues.” MetService said on Wednesday, August 17, around 4 pm (04:00 GMT).
The state-owned enterprise has established that who had visited its website few days ago possibly contracted a virus hidden in online advertisements.
There were some reports on computers being infected by “Personal Shield Pro” virus after accessing the MetService website. “Personal Shield Pro” is a fake anti-spyware program. Its malicious purpose is to obtain passwords, by tracking keystrokes, and steal money from bank accounts.
Jacqui Bridges, MetService marketing manager, said its ad server was compromised by a virus attack because of the vulnerability that permits binary file upload into the database.
Since the New Zealand’s winter major snowfall has begun MetService’s website has become very popular, reaching a record traffic. MetService assumed this largest audience could be the reason of the malware hidden virus attack.
“We have traced the source of the attack to an overseas IP address, but this is sure to be merely the start of a long trail that may never lead back to the culprit.”
People who think the virus might infected their computers should update their antivirus software with the latest definitions, then scan their computers and follow the instructions if an infection is found.
According to MetService the website was cleansed, it is virus-free and can be visited safely. The ad server was upgraded and it is “being cleaned and rebuilt”.
“Advertising revenue is vital to support MetService’s provision of online weather information to the public, so once all issues have been resolved ads will resume on the site.”
It is very hard for someone to assure that a website is completely safe, thus every computer user should apply his or her own protection.
“Unfortunately, no-one can guarantee their website is 100% safe against such attacks – which is why as individuals it is equally important to protect ourselves with up-to-date antivirus software when we are using the internet.” MetService said.