Two BBC websites have been hacked, and are opening users to attack by hackers, according to security company Websense.
The websites for 6 Music and 1Xtra have been injected with malicious code, and are opening users to attack from a website that is serving exploits, it said.
"We wouldn't expect sites like the BBC to host malicious code," Websense EMEA senior research manager Carl Leonard told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. "The BBC has high profile websites, so the attack will be high impact."
Hackers have injected an iFrame into the websites that automatically serves code from a malicious site when a user visits pages on the 6 Music and 1Xtra sites, (as seen in Websense screenshot, below).
"The attack is particularly dangerous, as the drive-by download will run code on a machine [without user interaction]," said Leonard. "We noticed the attack earlier on today."
Websense is still analysing the malware being served through the BBC websites, but said that the exploits are part of a computer crime kit called the 'Phoenix Exploit's Kit' [sic].
Typically, the kit tries to upload a number of exploits, including information-stealing software. Leonard said that the BBC systems could have been compromised by SQL injection, which is an attack on the backend database, or that the BBC's FTP servers may have been compromised.
The attack being perpetrated through the BBC sites is part of a wider, global attack, Leonard said.
"This is not just an isolated case — hundreds of other sites globally are being compromised," Leonard said.
Examples of the types of sites being hit include airline ticketing systems. The effects of the attack will be minimised by up-to-date security software, Leonard added.
The injected iFrame is at the bottom of the BBC 6 Music web page, and on the Radio 1Xtra page, Websense said in a blog post.
The BBC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.
Update 1.50pm 16/2/11: The BBC has responded, confirming that the sites were hacked:
"We can confirm that the 1xtra and 6Music websites were hacked yesterday," said a BBC spokesman. "The issue was quickly dealt with, and the sites are now back to normal. We're currently investigating what happened."
Update 2.32pm 16/2/11: Image added