Notification Type: IBM Internet Security Systems Protection Alert
Notification Date: May 19, 2009
Notification Version: 1.1
Name: Gumblar
Aliases: GENO (Japan)
Classification(s): malware

Gumblar is a botnet that infects Web servers and  infected Web site visitors for the purposes of installing malcode  on Personal Computers (PCs) that redirects end-user Google searches to fraudulent Web sites.

Researchers: John Kuhn and Chris Ahearn


ISS Coverage

Product Content Version
Proventia Network IDS
Proventia Network IPS
Proventia Network MFS
Proventia Server (Linux)
RealSecure Network
RealSecure Server Sensor
Proventia Desktop
Proventia Server IPS (Windows)
Propagation Techniques ISS Protection Available

Web site compromises

PC exploits launched from compromised Web sites




Proventia Web application security and the IPS signatures that underpin this technology can help protect your Web site from being compromised by users that have not stolen Web administration credentials. (The malware installed by Gumblar malware attempts to steal FTP login credentials, which wouldn't be caught by monitoring network traffic.)

After compromising a Web site, the attackers set up links and scripts that attempt to exploit Web site visitors through malicious PDFs and movies.  Although many of these exploits may be obfuscated, some of them have been and could continue to be detected by the following IPS signatures:
JavaScript_Obfuscation_Rue (PDF obfuscation)
Swf_Suspicious_ActionScript (Flash obfuscation)

If the client-side exploit bypasses IPS, we have seen the malware (that redirects the searches) trigger the UPX_Packed signature.

Proventia-M Troj/JSRedir-R (malware on infected Web sites) and Troj/Daonol-Fam and Troj/PDFEx-AZ (malware downloaded to endpoints)
Proventia Desktop Exploit.PDF-JS.Gen

2008 through 2009

Detailed Description

Business Impact:

Endpoints (PCs) are the primary target of Gumblar.   Infection means complete compromise of infected Web sites and PCs that they subsequently help to infect.  Successful attacks may lead to exposure of confidential information, loss of productivity, and further compromise.

Affected Platforms:

The malware affecting PCs targets prevalent Microsoft platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 

Gumblar is the name of a growing botnet that compromises traditionally non-malicious Web servers in order to exploit Personal Computers (PCs) that visit those Web sites.  Malware that redirects Google searches is planted on the target PC, which provides the attackers with "pay-per-click" or possibly other types of income.  The malware also looks for FTP credentials on the PC and may use them to compromise additional Web sites.

Compromised Web sites do not appear to host malware or exploits, but instead host links and redirects to malicious servers elsewhere.  One of the original servers used the domain, which changed to and will likely change, again.


Unmask Parasites Blog:

Revision History

1.0 Initial publication.
1.1 Added new coverage information.

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