Some thoughts on ViraLock

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Nov 25, 2002

We examine ViraLock, a product which promises 'Zero Escape For Email Viruses', provided, it seems, the virus plays by their rules.

It's understandable that we greet announcements of 'magic pill' products with a little skepticism here at Virus Bulletin. ViraLock promises 'Zero Escape For Email Viruses' and claims to stop the spread of current and future email-borne viruses.

It seems at first that they may be onto something, but there are a few caveats (see below). The software works by sitting between your mail server and Outlook/Outlook Express, and 'encrypting' email addresses - presumably changing them for a key with which it looks up the real email address in its own database. In this way, even if you do get hit by a virus, all the addresses in your address book and mailbox folders will be these keys, and thus undeliverable, and you will not spread the virus.

However, there are some issues. First, how does the software determine between legitimate mail that the user is sending, and mail that Outlook is being compelled to send by a virus that's manipulating it using MAPI? One would assume it can't, and thus would be kind enough to decrypt the email addresses for the virus.

Secondly, this is the kind of product that will lull users into a false sense of security - people may begin to feel it's a replacement for regularly-updated anti-virus software, and thus get infected and hit with nasty payloads.

Finally, and most importantly, there are some situations in which the product would seem to fail.

First, take VBS/Kakworm - it spreads by making itself your outgoing signature on mail sent from Outlook Express. Judging by the information provided on the product's website, this would sail through.

Consider also W32/Ska - it works by hijacking WSOCK32.DLL. At the point of interception by the virus, the email address will need to have been decrypted - yet again, the virus isn't inhibited. Both Kakworm and Ska were fairly major viruses - they are both listed in the Top Ten Viruses in 'Computer viruses demystified' (published by a well-known vendor).

VB welcomes any reports from users of this product - email comments@virusbtn.com.

Posted on 25 November 2002 by Virus Bulletin

 Tags

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: From Hacking Team to hacked team to…?

Today we publish the VB2018 paper and video by ESET researcher Filip Kafka, who looked at the new malware by Hacking Team, after the company had recovered from the 2015 breach.

The spam that is hardest to block is often the most damaging

We see a lot of spam in the VBSpam test lab, and we also see how well such emails are being blocked by email security products. Worryingly, it is often the emails with a malicious attachment or a phishing link that are most likely to be missed.

Throwback Thursday: We're all doomed

Mydoom turns 15 this month, and is still being seen in email attachments. This Throwback Thursday we look back to March 2004, when Gabor Szappanos tracked the rise of W32/Mydoom.

VB2019 call for papers - now open!

Have you analysed a new online threat? Do you know a new way to defend against such threats? Are you tasked with securing systems and fending off attacks? The call for papers for VB2019 is now open and we want to hear from you!

VB2018 paper: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Google researcher Maddie Stone in which she looks at one of the most interesting anti-analysis native libraries in the Android ecosystem. We also release the recording of Maddie's presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.