Pornhub Hack: Millions of People Using World’s Largest Adult Site Exposed to Virus

(ANTIMEDIA)  — A hack of the popular adult website, Pornhub.com, may have affected millions of users by infecting their devices with malware. The Independent summarized how the virus infected computers:

A secret, malicious advert has been running on the free pornography site for more than a year. And it works by infiltrating people’s computer and then having their machine taken over, all without a users’ knowledge.”

The Pornhub hack, which was shut down shortly after it was discovered, worked by appearing “to be a browser or operating system update. That would trick a user into clicking on it and installing the software.

Proofpoint, the security firm that discovered the breach, explained that after the virus was installed, it automatically clicked on ads to generate revenue. Though it was malware, it could have taken many different forms and could have stolen private information.

While the payload in this case is ad fraud malware, it could just as easily have been ransomware, an information stealer, or any other malware,” Proofpoint said, as noted by the Independent. “Regardless, threat actors are following the money and looking to more effective combinations of social engineering, targeting and pre-filtering to infect new victims at scale.”

Proofpoint identified the hacker group as KovCoreG. The ad fraud malware they used is called Kovter, and the attack is still active on other sites.

Pornhub is the largest porn site in the world, with 26 billion yearly visits. The hack created millions of potential victims in the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

Fortunately for Pornhub users, the virus did not target their private data, but even so, the fact that it worked through a porn site likely deterred people from seeking assistance for the problems on their computers.

As Mark James, a security specialist at the IT firm ESET, told the Guardian:

The audience is possibly less likely to have security in place or active as people’s perception is that it’s already a dark place to surf. Also, the user may be less likely to call for help and try to click through any popups or install any software themselves, not wanting others to see their browsing habits.

Pornhub did not return the Guardian’s request for comment.

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