MetService says website safe to visit after malware attack

Malicious code now removed from website ad server; heavy traffic due to cold snap was catalyst for attack, MetService says

The MetService says its website is now “safe to access”, following the discovery of malware in advertisements on the site on Tuesday night.

In a statement released at 4pm yesterday, the MetService announced: “around 8pm last night [Tuesday], MetService’s web support team identified an issue with its ad server.”

The issue turned out to be a JavaScript code file that had been uploaded into the ad server database, “causing the browser of anyone viewing an ad on our website to be redirected to a website which downloads malware files”.

MetService estimates this presented a risk to those accessing the website for approximately four hours, before the malware was removed.

The statement notes MetService believes the source of the malware was trying to cash in on heavy traffic to the site, following the record polar blast in New Zealand this week.

“Over the past week, MetService’s website has experienced record numbers of visitors, due to the severe weather being experienced across the country.

“The popularity of the site, and the fact that this weather has made news around the world, no doubt made it a target for this attack.”

As to where the malware may have originated from, “We have traced the source of the attack to an overseas IP address, but this is sure to be merely the start of a long trail that may never lead back to the culprit.”

The statement notes that the site is safe to visit, and “ad server upgrade incorporating a fix is now being installed, [and] the ad server database is also in the process of being cleaned and rebuilt.”

The statement, which includes a Q&A for site users, can be found at the MetService website.

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