Domain name registrar Go Daddy distributed ransomware via its websites after domain name settings (DNS) were hacked.
According to SophosLabs, this is part of a current spate of attacks where criminals exploit DNS by hacking each sites' records of sites and add one or more additional sub domains. This enables the attackers to use legitimate-looking URLs in their attacks, which can help to evade security filtering and trick users into thinking the content must be safe.
In this instance, the websites managed by Go Daddy were infected and as they typed in the correct IP address for their location, they were infected easily and hackers avoided security protection protocols put in place by Go Daddy and affected websites.
In a statement sent to Sophos, who contacted Go Daddy to alert them to these attacks, it said: “Go Daddy has detected a very small number of accounts [that] have malicious DNS entries placed on their domain names. We have been identifying affected customers and reversing the malicious entries as we find them.
“Also, we're expiring the passwords of affected customers so the threat actors cannot continue to use the accounts to spread malware.”
It said that rather than a DNS attack, or a vulnerability in the My Account or DNS management systems, affected customers were either phished or infected by Cool Exploit.
Fraser Howard, a principal virus researcher at SophosLabs, said: “It is good news that our initial suspicions are confirmed - compromised user credentials are responsible for these hacks. Thanks to Go Daddy for their quick response confirming this to be the case.
“We would encourage all Canadian and US users to enable two-factor authentication. Users elsewhere should ensure their passwords are strong and unique to Go Daddy.”