In November past year the CCleaner app was downloaded more than 2 billion times, according to the company, and is installed by desktop users at a rate of 5 million a week.
The company's security researchers said they noticed that the malware tried to connect computers to unregistered websites in order to remotely download more harmful programs directly into users' computers.
CCleaner, software that is created to speed up PC and smartphone performance by removing unneeded or unecessary files, is the latest victim of hackers hijacking legitimate software to spread malware and gain access to infected systems.
A computer program used to help your PC run faster has reportedly become the latest victim of hackers looking to breach the security of millions of its users. Piriform recommends users of CCleaner version 5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191 to download new versions of the software.
The company also added that the rogue server is down and other potential servers are out of the control of the attacker. CCleaner users need to install version 5.34 or higher. Today, developer Piriform has acknowledged that recent versions of CCleaner and CCleaner Cloud have been compromised with a hidden backdoor, though the company says that it has since disarmed the threat (via Windows Central). The malware was discovered by Cisco Talos on September 13, and Avast was notified immediately.
The bug affects anyone who downloaded CCleaner version 5.33 or updated their version between August 15 and September 12.
Business and consumer users of Piriform's CCleaner software are being urged to ensure they are using the latest versions that do not contain a hacker-inserted backdoor.
The CCleaner is a popular tool for cleaning out "crap-ware", helping remove temporary files, browser caches, log files and other junk from a system.
Cisco said its records showed hundreds or thousands of systems attempting to access the control servers specified by the malware during the period it was being installed by CCleaner. It appears to have been an exploit of the CCleaner installer's download server, meaning that whenever anyone downloaded the software via official means, they also unwittingly downloaded a piece of malware. This version of CCleaner had a valid digital signature issued to Piriform, the company that makes CCleaner and which was recently acquired by Avast. Now, it's easier to attack the download source, gaining access into legitimate servers.
Piriform, the firm behind CCleaner, has now published a blog apologizing to its customers.
Piriform and Avast continue the investigation in order to find out how this compromise happened, who did it, and the hackers' ultimate goal.
Yung declined to speculate on how the code appeared in CCleaner or where the attack originated from.
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