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Video Trojan hoax scares up publicity for security firm

Another ambitious start-up banging another empty drum

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Application security programs and practises

Updated It sounded so very exciting on Friday: a relatively unknown computer security firm called Network Security Technologies (NETSEC) was rushing to meet with the FBI to discuss a devastating new Trojan they had discovered joined to an .avi video file.

The Trojan, they said, was capable of infecting personal computers and commandeering them to attack Web sites, resurrecting shades of the media frenzy surrounding February's DDoS attacks.

Clearly, NETSEC had struck gold.

Yet on Saturday, the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Centre (NIPC) Web site remains strangely devoid of any mention of this impending calamity, as does the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) site.

Apparently, the wire services had got a few things wrong on Friday, no doubt with NETSEC's gentle encouragement.

We now know that the video Trojan, which NETSEC dubbed 'Serbian Badman' (ooohh, how scary that sounds), is actually known by the tragically prosaic name 'Downloader' (aka Backdoor.ldr; Downloader.Kit; Trojan.Win32.Loder.WPW; W95/Loader; and WWWPW).

It works by fetching, downloading and silently running another, and quite familiar, Trojan called 'Sub7', which consists of a remote server enabling a third party to control an infected computer.

We are terribly disappointed to report that the Sub7 server is not capable of launching DDoS attacks, unless it has been updated radically since the last time we, em, 'evaluated' it.

Meanwhile, Network Associates' McAfee site has condescended to run some information on NETSEC's sensational new discovery, but what they have to say sounds painfully familiar.

The Downloader Trojan "downloads another Trojan from the Internet and runs it silently. The downloaded Trojan is identified as 'BackDoor-G2'" [aka Sub7].

"NETSEC alerted the Internet community about BackDoor-G2 by calling it 'Serbian Badman Trojan (TSB Trojan)'. News stories suggest that the controlling Trojan which is downloaded is a new threat -- it is not. Although the Trojan known as "Downloader" is new, the file downloaded is a known Trojan."

In other words, NETSEC's discovery amounts to nothing more than a publicity stunt by an opportunistic security firm in quest of free advertising in the form of media attention.

The Register is shocked....shocked....to learn that media manipulation is going on. ®

Previous coverage

Movie clip Trojan to be used in DDoS-style attack

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