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Ars Technica was recently used to serve second-stage malware in a campaign that used a never-before-seen attack chain to cleverly cover its tracks, researchers from security firm Mandiant reported Tuesday.
A benign image of a pizza was uploaded to a third-party website and was then linked with a URL pasted into the “about” page of a registered Ars user. Buried in that URL was a string of characters that appeared to be random—but were actually a payload. The campaign also targeted the video-sharing site Vimeo, where a benign video was uploaded and a malicious string was included in the video description. The string was generated using a technique known as Base 64 encoding. Base 64 converts text into a printable ASCII string format to represent binary data. Devices already infected with the first-stage malware used in the campaign automatically retrieved these strings and installed the

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