Fourth of July malware campaign targets tourism websites including Myrtle Beach

dbryant@thesunnews.comJuly 9, 2014 

Websites for major U.S. tourism destinations including Myrtle Beach were a target in a malware virus timed with the big July Fourth travel holiday, but local tourism promoters say they haven’t heard of any problems because of it.

Proofpoint Inc., which provides data security to companies, said that when travel planners visit the websites, it downloads malware onto their machine. The malware is hard to catch, with it bypassing all but four of the 51 antivirus products that Proofpoint tested, the company said.

Myrtle Beach is one of the destinations that Proofpoint said was affected, as well as Boston, Salt Lake City, Houston, Monterey, Rochester, Victoria and Utah Valley.

Simpleview, a web services vendor that manages visitmyrtlebeach.com for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, quickly responded to fix the issue, chamber president Brad Dean said.

He said he hasn’t heard of problems because of this malware but said officials would continue to monitor it.

“At this time, we are not aware of any reports of visitors to our site who were impacted by this situation,” Dean said. “However, we will continue to vigilantly monitor, address and ensure the protection of our website visitors from any cyber-related threats.”

Proofpoint said in a news release that the attack started just before the July 4 holiday and said the infrastructure behind the attack appeared to be based in the Ukraine.

“Since the attack started on July 3rd, and some of the web pages are promoting 4th of July activities, this attack appears to have been carefully timed to coincide with the U.S. holiday season,” said Mike Horn, vice president threat response products at Proofpoint. “We suspect that the websites have been compromised for some time, but the attackers were carefully planning their attack for maximum impact.”

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or follow on Twitter @TSN_dawnbryant.

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