The United Nations (UN) has been hit by a string of hacking attacks aimed at identity and credit card theft, and building botnet hordes.
The attack on the UN Asia Pacific website is believed to originate from the same group responsible for attacks on the US-based Biotechnology Information Organization and the prominent Indian Syndicate Bank.
The financially-motivated incursions, launched from the same remote location, infected a server common to all three websites and downloaded a Trojan to visitor computers via drive-by attacks.
A keylogger and a Trojan were downloaded to visitor computers, flagged by an online scanner as positive to multiple Microsoft vulnerabilities, via hidden Java iFrames which is an old trick to refer visitors to a compromised server.
The Trojan maintains a backdoor, allowing attackers to monitor and hijack user machines to steal valuable user data, and turn the computer into a zombie as part of a botnet horde.
Websense Australia and New Zealand country manager, Joel Camissar, said such attacks exploit remote servers with weak security and typically target common brand names to maximise exposure.
"The groups will target ISPs which don't have sufficient security, common brands of servers, and servers in locations without tight controls or law enforcement," Camissar said.
"Typical scanners [used in attacks] only scan for one vulnerability but this looked for multiple exploits.
"We informed the authorities whose job it is to pursue them, shut down their servers and bring them to justice."
Websense discovered the attack on The United Nations Aids and HIV Web portal after scanning 600,000 web pages as part of routine malware detection.
Camissar said it is unknown if the group is responsible for more attacks.