A phishing campaign has been targeting academic institutions. The phishing emails appear to come from a post secondary institution and contain a link to a web page that hosts a harmless PDF. When the link is clicked, the user is asked to download the Font Manager extension in the Chrome Web Store.
Users that checked the reviews for the extension found lots of good reviews as well as a few bad ones. It turns out, the clever criminals copied reviews from other extensions to make the Font Manager look more legit and increase the chances people would download it. The funny thing is they copied the bad reviews as well as the good ones. For the most part the ruse worked with the extension being downloaded hundreds of times. Once downloaded the malicious extension logged keystrokes and allowed hackers to gain access to the network and desktops remotely. Several universities have been compromised as a result.
The malicious extension was only discovered because the criminals blew it. University employees arrived in the morning to find their computers’ browsers opened to English-Korean translators and their Keyboard switched to Korean. As the employees weren’t conducting research on Korean websites, they knew something was up. Had the hackers been more on the ball, who knows how long they would have retained network access.
The Font Manager has been removed from the Chrome Store. However, this a gentle reminder to only download extensions that you know are safe and you absolutely must have.