Feeds

Hardware-trashing virus spreads by email

His Satanic Magistr requests

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

An new email-borne virus uses a number of fresh tricks designed to fool unwary Internet users.

Magistr is a polymorphic Windows 32 executable file virus which features the facility to reproduce itself within emails with randomly subject, body text and attachment names. It also carries a destructive payload containing code similar to the hardware destroying Kriz virus.

Like Kriz, Magistr can destructively flash a PC's BIOS as well as overwrite data. If users click on the executable attachment of an infected message they risk have their data overwritten and replaced by text files containing the message: "You think you are God, but you are only a piece of shit."

The virus searches a user's address book, mailboxes and other files present on an infected machine for email addresses. It specifically targets addresses from Outlook Express, Netscape Navigator and Internet Mail and News. Once a list of email addresses has been obtained, Magistr sends itself to these addresses using its own email client.

The virus, which spreads by infecting files and via email, has affected a number of users but its outbreak seems to have been contained. Antivirus vendors are in the process of updating virus definition files so that Magistr is detected, and protection is largely in place.

Alex Shipp, senior anti-virus technologist at MessageLabs, which scans customers email for malicious code, said the company had intercepted 26 copies of the virus - so far. By comparison, MessageLabs caught 9,000 copies of the Anna Kournikova bug in an equivalent period.

Graham Cluley, of antivirus vendor Sophos, claimed that Magistr strengthens arguments for practicing "safe computing", as users are unable to look for a specific subject header or file name in order to identify the virus.

Safe computing means that you do not open attachments to suspect, unexpected emails and you us up-to-date antivirus software, said Cluley, who added firms should also consider blocking executable files at corporate gateways because of the risk they pose.

This would mean that only IT staff could install software obtained over the Internet on machines but Cluley said the policy was still worth considering in the interests of security. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.