Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Daniel Wesemann

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overlay.xul is back

Published: 2009-12-17
Last Updated: 2009-12-17 00:58:50 UTC
by Daniel Wesemann (Version: 1)
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It's been a while. If I remember correctly, a variant of Vundo was using the "overlay.xul" mechanism to hi-jack searches in the Firefox browser almost a year ago. Now, ISC reader Tom contacted us with a mystery that took him and his colleagues several days to unravel. The symptoms: You try to search with Google/Yahoo/Ask/Bing, but NoScript (a great add-on!!) warns you that the browser is actually trying to run a JavaScript from innoshots-dot-org. Having checked all the usual culprits, and run all the Anti-Virus tools you have, you find: Nothing. And the browser still redirects.

overlay.xul is a Firefox mechanism to allow applications to add elements to the browser GUI, and is used for good effect by several tools. We don't know which infection vector was used in Tom's case to deposit the malicious overlay file on the machine. All we have is the file, and the knowledge that it apparently either resides in

Documents and Settings/user/Local Settings/Application Data/{randomstring}/chrome/content   -- or --
Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/extensions/{randomstring}/chrome/content

and is accompanied by a suspicious Javascript file called _cfg.js.

overlay.xul contains heavily obfuscated JavaScript, and has nice copyright headers to make it look like a valid Firefox add-on, but the "smoking gun" is still visible in the lower portion of the file:

overlay.xul

Yup. Some sort of matching for "google", "ask", "yahoo",  "aol" and "bing" is going on here. This particular sample of "overlay.xul" is almost a month old, and yet there are still some very prominent Anti-Virus products that do not see anything wrong with it: Virustotal

Did anyone else notice a recent resurgence of "overlay.xul" and its search engine redirection malware? If you have a sample, or know anything about the mechanism this latest version uses to get onto the system, please let us know.


Note: overlay.xul also has good uses, so don't go for a frantic deletion rampage now. But take a careful and suspicious look at the files you find!

 

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