You’ve all heard about malware writers targeting Web browsers. But
have you ever heard of a browser that intentionally inserts malware
onto a user’s PC?
That’s exactly what security firm PandaLabs alleges the freely
available Browsezilla Web browser does. Browsezilla developers dispute the
Browsezilla, is quite obviously trying to capitalize on the Mozilla name and
iconography with the use of a Lizard and the “zilla” part of its name,
though there is absolutely no relationship between the Mozilla and
Browsezilla browsers, whatsoever.
The Browsezilla Web site displays adult links, which, according to the Browsezilla site, “is used for
stimulation of users to installation BrowseZilla.”
The Browsezilla Web site
claims that there are more than 80,000 users of its software.
PandaLabs alleges that Browsezilla, “discreetly infects computers with the
adware PicsPlace.” That particular piece of malware connects to various
adult Web page content periodically, though those pages are not visible to
the Browsezilla user. The Browsezilla software is currently available only to Windows XP users.
Allegedly the objective of the malware is to “fraudulently increase the number of hits on the sites.”
Such a fraud could be part of a scheme whereby the people behind Browsezilla
benefit financially in some way from the traffic.
The other negative effects
are that that malware could reduce a user’s available bandwidth, as well as
unknowingly cause a user to visit pornographic websites.
“Today the prime objective of malware creators is to receive some kind of
economic return through their action,” Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs,
said in a statement.
“A typical technique for distributing their creations
is to offer some kind of free utility, in this case a Web browser, then
exploit the trust of users and take some kind of malicious action from which
they can profit.”
Browsezilla disputes the claims made by PandaLabs. Furthermore, Browsezilla
alleges that as of 1:30 PM on June 26, it had not received any
answer from PandaLabs in response to their questions about the malware
security advisory about Browsezilla.
A PandaLabs spokesperson was not available for comment.
“As we have not received any answer from Panda till this time,
We have decided to look what in code BrowseZilla is not pleasant to this
company dear by all,” the Browsezilla site states. “Results have appeared
simply tremendous and inexplicable.”