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Avast's popular PC-cleaning software has been hacked

Avast's popular PC-cleaning software has been hacked

Even so, a large number of users could potentially have been affected given that CCleaner is reportedly downloaded 5 million times per week (and has racked up over two billion downloads since November of last year).

Anyone who's recently downloaded CCleaner, a PC optimization tool developed by London-based Piriform, should update the software immediately to avoid malware that was inserted into one version of the program.

As CCleaner is a popular application, with an estimated 2.27 million of the affected downloads installed on Windows PCs, the researchers said that they "decided to move quickly", notifying Avast of its findings on the same day they discovered an issue so that the company could take the equally speedy action.

"The legitimate signed version of CCleaner 5.33 being distributed by Avast also contained a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner", Talos wrote in its blog post revealing the problem.

"We resolved this quickly and believe no harm was done to any of our users", the company said in a statement.

Although malware of all types is most commonly spread through phishing attacks like infected attachments and phony links, a tactic which is seeing a lot of success is infecting trusted platforms. This is luckily described as "non-sensitive" by Piriform, while there are "no indications that any other data has been sent to the server".

The maliciously modified version of the tool was available for download until September 12.

Williams said that Talos detected the issue at an early stage, when the hackers appeared to be collecting information from infected machines, rather than forcing them to install new programs.

But that means up to 2.27 million users could be vulnerable, and Piriform is urging all users of the affected versions to download v5.34.

Legitimately signed but backdoored versions of the popular CCleaner utility were available for download from the developer's Web site and servers for almost a month, Cisco Talos researchers have discovered.

Despite the release of updated versions of the compromised software, the Cisco Talos research team is advising all those who downloaded the compromised versions of CCleaner to wipe their computers.

CCleaner is a popular piece of software used to clean up your PC by junking unnecessary files.

But security expert Marco Cova from Lastline said the incident was concerning because of the intimate access gained to Piriform's software.

A mere two months ago, Czech antivirus company Avast acquired Recuva, Speccy, and CCleaner developer Piriform for an undisclosed amount of money.

"We are continuing to investigate how this compromise happened, who did it and why". The Talos team noticed on September 13 that the installer for CCleaner v5.33 was triggering its malware protection systems.

Yung declined to speculate on how the code appeared in CCleaner or where the attack originated from.


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