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Hackers use CCleaner as malware host, affects 2.27 million users

Hackers use CCleaner as malware host, affects 2.27 million users”

Researchers from Cisco Talos discovered that the download servers used by Avast were compromised by some unknown hackers who replaced the original software with malicious one and distributed it to all users for over a month.

Cisco Talos says the malicious version of CCleaner was released on August 15; it notified Piriform-CCleaner's UK-based developer, which was acquired by Avast in July-on September 13 and the server was shut down.

Piriform announced that its popular program CCleaner, which optimizes computer operations, had been infected by a virus.

CCleaner was created by Piriform, which was acquired by Avast only in July.

Users who have downloaded the software recently are urged to uninstall and reinstall it - as it won't update by itself.

Avast said that although CCleaner has had over 2 billion installs to date, with 5 million new installs each week, a far smaller number of users was affected. The data, according to Piriform, included "computer name, IP address, list of installed software, list of active software, list of network adapters". On September 15, law enforcement was able to shut down the attackers' command and control servers, and Avast released CCleaner version 5.34, which no longer contained the malware.

"We identified that even though the downloaded installation executable was signed using a valid digital signature issued to Piriform, CCleaner was not the only application that came with the download", wrote Cisco Talos in a blog. It can also allow other forms of malware, such as ransomware and keyloggers, to make their way onto a victim's computer.

A popular PC utility programme has been infected with malware, the company behind the software has revealed. "This compromise only affected customers with the 32-bit version of the v5.33.6162 of CCleaner and the v1.07.3191 of CCleaner Cloud", said the company in a statement addressing the breach.

Piriform told users a booby-trapped version of its CCleaner software had been made available in August and September. The investigation is still ongoing,"Piriform's Yung said".

Cisco's cybersecurity research team, Cisco Talos, revealed the news and has been alerting consumers and businesses regarding the incident which has the potential to affect millions of users worldwide.



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