Hackers have broken into the network of Norwegian browser maker Opera, taking a code-signing certificate that can potentially allow them to make malware appear “signed by Opera.”
But Opera’s Sigbjørn VikSigbjorn said the impact of the security breach is likely limited, as it “halted and contained” the targeted attack on its network infrastructure.
“The current evidence suggests a limited impact. The attackers were able to obtain at least one old and expired Opera code signing certificate, which they have used to sign some malware. This has allowed them to distribute malicious software which incorrectly appears to have been published by Opera Software, or appears to be the Opera browser,” VikSigbjorn said in a blog post.
He said Opera uncovered the attack June 19, but added Opera’s systems have since been cleaned and there is no evidence of any user data being compromised.
But he said it is possible “a few thousand Windows users” using Opera between 9 and 9:36 a.m. (Philippine time) last June 19 may have “automatically” received and installed the malicious software.
“To be on the safe side, we will roll out a new version of Opera which will use a new code signing certificate,” he said.
In the meantime, VikSigbjorn strongly urged users to update to the latest version of Opera as soon as it is available.
He also urged them to keep all computer software up to date, and to use a reputable anti-virus product on their computers.
Meanwhile, security researcher Graham Cluley said the news of this security breach “couldn’t really have come at a worse time for Opera.”
“Although the product’s supporters are notoriously outspoken about their preference for an alternative browser, their numbers have been dwindling for some time as they have been crowded out by the popularity of competitors such as Google Chrome,” Cluley noted.