Malware attacks on the rise as JB Hi-Fi site and Whirpoool forums hit
But other businesses should take note of the attacks and update their virus and security software to ensure similar disruptions do not happen to them, a security expert has warned.
The attack comes after the Whirlpool and Overclockers forums, Australia's biggest online communities for computer and technology related discussion, were also targeted by hackers over the past few weeks.
Hundreds of users have complained on the Whirlpool forums about malware infection after visiting the JB Hi-Fi site, which is one of Australia's most popular online retail destinations.
Some users reported the JB Hi-Fi site redirected users to some other sites registered by security firm Norton has harmful and containing malicious software. Others reported drive-by-downloads, which infect a user's computer by having them just visit an infected site, and malicious advertising.
JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Uechtritz did not return calls before publication.
Meanwhile, Overclockers.com.au was also attacked, with its own site redirected towards sites hosting malware and other infections material. The forum, which has a user-base of thousands, has been taken down for two days, replaced by a message from founder James Rolfe.
The incident comes after a separate security breach was identified by Rolfe last week, saying he noticed some "unusual activity" and urged forum members to change their passwords.
Whirlpool founder Simon Wright also issued a similar warning to his forum's users, saying a security issue had been identified.
It is not yet known if all the attacks are connected, how they originated or why these specific sites were targeted. However, one user on the Whirlpool forums reported that Overclockers and JB Hi-Fi were diverting to the same site.
Kelly Richards, research analyst at the Australian Institute of Criminology, says businesses need to take note of the attacks and ensure their security software is up-to-date and viable to ensure their sites do not crash, and vital Christmas business is not lost.
"Our research clearly shows that having the basic security measures in place for things like anti-virus software, and keeping those things up-to-date, are critically important."
Richards also said that "generally speaking" these attacks are on the rise, and businesses should remain vigilant about attacks.
"Viruses and malware are far and away the most common cyber crimes committed against businesses. Almost two-thirds of businesses experience a cyber-crime and virus, and that in itself indicates the sort of attacks business are up against."