Contributed by: Egle Markauskaite
Date: July 17, 2008
Recently, a news article in the Seattle Times reported that those computer users who have visited part of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site seattletimes.com, seattlepi.com, or NWautos.com between 9 a.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, might have been infected by a virus. False code of advertisements devoted for all three sites infected any one with an out-of-date copy of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
The server that hosts NWAutos, Gabriels Technology Solutions, a national advertising vendor, was visibly infected by "Asprox SQL injection attack" and inadvertently started moving on the virus. Therefore, Google signified some pages on seattlepi.com by alerting that this site might harm the computer in consequence of the virus.
According to the Times Vice President Patricia Lee Smith, the virus spread to some pages of seattletimes.com and seattlepi.com through links to NWautos.com incorporated in pages of the newspaper sites. Smith stated that they do not believe the virus created malicious damage to users. They consider the extent of the virus was that it jumbled up the experience of the Web site. Smith also told that the infected codes of NWAutos were removed from the sites by 2 p.m. on Sunday, by ending the risk of contracting a virus from viewing Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web pages. The problem was later fixed by Gabriels, but yet users can see warnings from Google if trying to view certain pages of this site.
The article alerted readers who visited the Web site Sunday morning to run their anti-virus software in order to eliminate any possible threat. Although it is believed that the virus is not malicious. Also, the article announced that the virus has infected many other Web sites, comprising The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle, that received advertising content from Gabriels. Infected computers can show messages that refer to virus scanners or provide deceitful instructions. Users were officially advised to scan their computers with anti-virus software, clear their browsers' cache and cookies. They were also recommended to visit http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ for help with online security.
The virus is created in order to find malicious software on the Internet to download and activate on the infected computer. Google might have revealed the problem on the P-I's Web site in one of its regular random scans for viruses. According to Lee Smith, users couldn‘t access some pages of Seattle Times Web on Sunday morning. Though, now the problem is being fixed.