Just when we thought malware developers couldn’t get more creative, they did – 5 years ago. One of the developers of Honey, a Google Chrome extension that will automatically search for and apply coupon codes when you make online purchases, used the Reddit AMA forum to tell the story of how he was approached by malware developers and data collection companies and offered vast amounts of money for various levels of access to his software. At the time of the interview Honey had over 100K users and now they boast over 1M members and 100M downloads. Some of the more interesting offers they received included a 6-figure monthly payment from a data collection firm and a malware firm asking to replace all their Google ads with look-alikes. The anonymous author describes the practice as “…not about spreading malware. It's about turning existing non-malware extensions into malware.”

This seems like a legit honest company doesn’t it? Their AMA interview was so interesting it begged a bit more research into how they are doing now in 2019 and if their app was worth a download. A recent review by techjunkie.com recommends the Honey app as safe to use, but not particularly effective at getting great shopping deals.

While many of the 2,100 Reddit AMA comments were geared toward reminding users that Honey is not run by “shady” people, when asked if they would accept a buyout for 60M, the author said “For sixty billion dollars?! I would take it in a heart beat. Then I'll take $1 billion, split it 700,000 ways and send each one of our users a $1,500 check along with a letter explaining the situation. Retire with $59B and a clean conscience.”  It seems that no one has made Honey the right offer yet, but consider how many less scrupulous applications HAVE been offered big money for your information? Even if they started out legitimate, there is always the chance of the right offer at the right time for the right price. And because it’s about turning extensions into malware, you would never know until it was too late.

Considering how many applications access your business network on a daily basis, employee and guest alike, trusted applications could turn on you in moments – and not all companies will cut you a check with a letter to explain. The only answer is all-in proactive protection. With roughly 75% of attacks targeting the Application Layer, it’s important for organizations to ensure they have the right tools to defend themselves, for example Sangfor Technologies Next Generation Firewall (NGAF). Sangfor NGAF is the world’s first AI enabled, fully integrated NGF + WAF, but kicked up to the next level of protection. Innovations like Neural-X (cloud-base (intelligence and analytic platform powered by AI) and Engine Zero (malware inspection engine).

Why Sangfor?
The trusted applications and URL’s of today could be the malware and ransomware hotbeds of tomorrow. We can see from this interview that even smaller developers are being targeted. It’s time for proactive protection from the application layer down.  Founded in 2000 and a publicly traded company as of 2018 (SANGFOR STOCK CODE: 300454 (CH)) Sangfor Technologies is the global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at www.sangfor.com for more information on network security products, services and solutions today and let us help you make your organization more secure.

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