Trojans and worms hiding behind games

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Aug 1, 2007

Mario latest lure to hook victims on malware.

Social engineering techniques used to trick computer users into running malicious code on their systems concentrate around simple pleasures, with sex, gossip and entertainment among the most common lures, and the last few weeks have seen several attacks using the offer of video games to draw in new victims.

The latest run of 'Storm Worm' trojans, starting last week and still gushing into inboxes, used both games and sex, carrying its initial executable in mails promising a 'funny flash game' featuring naked celebrities (see an example on the F-Secure blog here).

The 'Storm Worm' attack involves an increasingly sophisticated chain of downloaded code once a system is compromised, but initial infection relies on social engineering to encourage users to run the first piece of malcode. Earlier runs have made use of attention-grabbing news items including the winter storms in Europe which gave the attacks their popular name, and greetings cards celebrating various events - ESET's Randy Abrams adds the latest barrage to his crusade against the e-card concept on the ESET blog here.

Using a similar technique to the recent wave of 'happy news' messages used by the attackers, another wave of trojans was spammed out over the last few days carrying a 'really cool' screensaver, accompanied by simple messages about the joys of summer and 'life is beautiful' (details and screenshots can be seen at Sophos here). The bogus screensaver is, of course, a trojan with rootkit components.

Sophos has also reported this week that Nintendo's classic 'Mario' game franchise has become the latest cover for a new worm. The mass-mailer, dubbed 'W32/Romario', does indeed include a playable Mario game, behind which it hides its activities, installing itself on systems, gathering email addresses for further propagation and spreading to external drives using names of a range of games. See more detail on the worm in the Sophos blog entry here, with more technical information here.

Posted on 01 August 2007 by Virus Bulletin

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