WTOP, Federal News Radio Web site access restored after attack

The Web sites for WTOP and Federal News Radio are no longer infected with malware that installed fake antivirus software onto some users’ computers, the owners said Monday.

Full access was restored on Saturday.

There’s no evidence that information about user e-mails registered with the Web sites were accessible during the attack, the stations said in a Monday press release, but the passwords for all registered users on both sites have been reset. Both stations are owned by Hubbard Radio.

John Spaulding, the D.C. director of information systems for Hubbard Radio, said that Hubbard Media worked with the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to analyze its full site. “We have found and eliminated the vulnerabilities that were exploited,” he said in a news release.

The stations first posted notice of the attack last Tuesday. Viewers using certain versions of Internet Explorer were the only ones susceptible to the attack, the stations said, prompting WTOP and Federal News Radio to block access to their site through that browser.

Users have already been notified that they will have to change their passwords the next time they visit either site and are being encouraged to alter their log-in information at any Web site that may have shared the same e-mail/password combination as their WTOP.com or Federal News Radio accounts.

Neither Web site collects personal information such as Social Security numbers or credit cards.

However, the false malware program that was being served by the Web sites may have tricked some users into entering their credit card numbers. If users did fall prey to the attack, they should notify their credit card provider or bank immediately.

Those affected by the malware may see active programs on their computers shut down without warning. A pop-up window, often labeled “Internet Security” will run a fake version of antivirus software — the software may also add itself to users’ lists of startup program

Out of “an abundance of caution,” WTOP.com and Federal News Radio users who visited the site between May 5 and May 7 are still encouraged to run a virus scan on their computers to search for bad software.

WTOP, Federal News Radio sites hit with cyberattack

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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