Clipboard Attacks

There’s a new bit of malware that attacks your computer’s clipboard. Here’s how it works:

  • You open a web page that has a hacked bit of Flash (sometimes it’s a hacked ad shown on an innocent page)
  • The Flash code puts a link in your computer’s clipboard
  • Every time you do a “paste” (e.g. Control-V) you’ll see the hacked link appear

It’s difficult to stop it once it’s started, usually until you restart your browser, or in some cases until you restart your PC. Copying something else into the clipboard doesn’t work, the malware will continually overwrite your clipboard.

Who does this affect?

Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux users, using Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. That includes pretty much everyone.

At the moment it’s only been shown in a proof of concept demo (i.e. it’s not a major threat today). But as usual it’s only a matter of days until it’s put to bad use and this is used to trick people into going to dangerous web sites.

What can you do about it?

  • Purchase and install a good antivirus package that scans web sites.
  • Disable Flash on your PC – this is usually impractical, it would be an extreme measure.
  • Be aware of this hack, if you experience it then restart your web browser

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