Symantec warns of router compromise

Security company says it has seen an attack using a cross-site scripting flaw in 2Wire DNS routers.

Security company Symantec has warned of an attack involving the subversion of routers.

The security company said this was the first time it had seen such an attack "in the wild," although the concept had been discussed a year ago by Symantec researchers, according to a Symantec blog post.

In the attack, which targeted users of an undisclosed Mexican bank, the intended victims received a spam e-mail claiming they had received an e-card, directing them to, a Spanish-language e-card site. However, the e-mail also had embedded HTML image tags that contained an HTTP get-request to the router to change its Domain Name System settings, according to Symantec's U.K. manager of quality assurance, Thomas Parsons.

The HTTP get-request redirects traffic flowing over the router to a specific IP address when the user attempts to access six domain names that are banking-related. Symantec requested that ZDNet UK not publish the IP address.

The attack is made possible by a cross-site scripting vulnerability in routers made by broadband-equipment company 2Wire that was reported in August last year, according to Symantec. Parsons said this was "a simple hack" and advised small to medium-size businesses to change default security settings on routers and educate users about clicking on suspicious links.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.