Malwarebytes flags fake Flash update


Security firm Malwarebytes has sounded the alarm on a new bogus Flash Player update which causes legitimate advertisements to be replaced with spam and inappropriate banners.

FlashPlayer11.safariextz is a convincing fake browser extension, Malwarebytes claims. It uses the correct Flash Player logo and even includes a hyperlink to the official Adobe website.

The bad guys are banking on the fact people are aware how important it is to apply software updates

However, once installed, the application either introduces its own intrusive adverts or overlays the official ads on legitimate websites with its own.

According to Malwarebytes security analyst Jerome Segura, the authors of this rogue application are hoping to tap into the lucrative business of web advertising by generating revenue from users clicking on the fake adverts.

"Online advertising is a billion dollar industry and everybody wants to have a piece of it. With such invasive adverts, cyber-crooks are likely to generate a lot of views' and even pay per clicks," he said.

As pointed out in Segura's blog post, these adverts are not only intrusive, but also indiscriminate in what they display.

"Shortly after being installed, [FlashPlayer11.safariextz] will begin to inject very rough advertisements on any website you visit," said Segura.

"For example, I visited, a site for children to play games and watch their favourite characters, when all of the sudden a pornographic advertisement was displayed," he added.

According to Segura, the malicious extension is being pushed from various websites, but most commonly comes from adult websites.

He also said he found it "interesting that the bad guys are banking on the fact people are now quite aware of how important it is to apply software updates".

"This is why you should always install updates from the vendor's official website to avoid nasty surprises," he advised.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's deputy editor, specializing in cloud computing, cyber security, data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Deputy Editor, she held the role of Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.