The main website for the NBC television network, NBC.com, was found yesterday (Feb. 21) to have been hacked so that it infected unsuspecting visitors.
Specifically, it harbored the RedKit browser exploit kit, which triggers drive-by downloads of malware onto vulnerable computers.
The hack was one of a trio of security breaches yesterday, as the Aspen Institute think tank and the customer-support specialist Zendesk disclosed hacker intrusions into their networks.
NBC's problems arose when the head of Dutch security firm Fox-IT tweeted his observations about NBC.com, followed quickly by a posting on the HitmanPro blog run by the Dutch anti-virus firm SurfRight.
"There were two exploit links on the NBC website. The first one was on the main default (entry) page. And the second one was located on hxxp://www.nbc.com/assets/core/js/s_wrapper.js," said the HitmanPro blog. "It serves both Java (CVE-2013-0422) and PDF exploits. The exploit drops the Citadel Trojan, which is used for banking fraud and cyberespionage."
The Java exploit referred to, which affects Macs, Windows PCs and Linux boxes alike, was responsible for the recently announced hacks into Apple's, Facebook's and Twitter's employee networks.
The HitmanPro posting noted that RedKit was also installing the ZeroAccess malware, which "moderates an affected user's Internet experience by modifying search results, and generates pay-per-click advertising revenue for its controllers," as well an unknown form of malware.
Stand-alone NBC TV network sites, such as those for "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" and one featuring "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno's collection of vintage cars, were also said to be compromised.
An NBC spokeswoman confirmed the hacks to Bloomberg News. All the affected sites were cleaned and back up Friday morning.
(The NBCNews.com website, with which TechNewsDaily has a professional relationship, was not affected.)