Friday, July 23rd, 2010
AVG (AU/NZ) today announced that AVG Technologies’ Web security research team has discovered a network of 1.2 million malware-infected computers controlled by cybercriminals who were using the Eleonore exploit toolkit – commercial attack software which enables cyber criminals to infect and monitor compromised PCs.

The two month long study by AVG researched 165 Eleonore toolkits in use by cyber criminals and concluded that those using the Eleonore exploit toolkit were experiencing a 10 percent success rate in infecting the more than 12 million users visiting their compromised web pages. All 165 domains experienced high volumes of traffic which the cyber criminals managed to compromise.

Although you may assume that the cyber criminals making and using these toolkits are software experts, the reality is that even malicious code writers leave vulnerabilities in their code. Taking advantage of one of the weaknesses in the Eleonore toolkit, AVG researchers were able to collect statistics that allowed them to gain a better understanding of the magnitude of such attacks and the average success rate in infecting PCs by these toolkits.

The research was built using AVG LinkScanner® product data, identifying URLs that the product blocked when it identified a threat.

“The accessibility and sophistication of easy-to-use cyber criminal toolkits proves that cyber gangs are raising the bar to monetise their criminal activities,” said Lloyd Borrett, Security Evangelist at AVG (AU/NZ). “That is why it’s more important than ever for families, corporations and other computer users to protect their computers from being targeted by this kind of increasingly popular cyber attack by using AVG anti-virus and web security tools like LinkScanner that AVG offers free.”

The first step to silently infecting a user’s machine with malware is to exploit a vulnerability in their browser or other applications running on their machine. Successfully exploiting a vulnerability enables the cyber criminal to load and install the actual malware that can steal data and enable the criminal to later auction the PC online as a DDoS bot or a spam sending machine.

Eleonore exploit toolkit utilises the following vulnerabilities to exploit PCs:
• Sun JVM vulnerabilities
• Adobe Acrobat Reader vulnerabilities
• Various IE6 vulnerabilities
• Various IE7 vulnerabilities
• Various FireFox vulnerabilities

AVG’s award winning Anti-Virus and Internet Security software, in addition to its innovative AVG LinkScanner product for both Windows and Mac computers, protects users against the ever increasing online web threats. AVG LinkScanner dynamically scans web pages for threats in real-time before users open them in their browser. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition or AVG LinkScanner can be downloaded at

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