Feeds

Hunt on for porn-meddling virus writers

Outbreak of Homepage worm under control

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The hunt is on for the authors of the Homepage worm amid signs that the outbreak of the virus has been brought under control.

Homepage masquerades as a harmless Web site recommendation but in reality it directs users to one of four porn sites. It is also said an email copy of itself to everyone in an infected user's Outlook address book, an effect that is clogging up email servers worldwide.

Homepage was created with a newer version of the same virus-writing toolkit that spawned the Anna Kournikova worm.

A popular theory in the anti-virus community is that the porn-peddling worm might be a misguided marketing ploy.

Wired reports that three teenagers from the Netherlands have sent an anonymous email claiming responsibility for the virus. They said they created the worm to boost traffic to four porn sites but they did not say whether they owned the sites or knew their owners.

The self-proclaimed virus writters said they were jealous of the attention lavished on the creator of the Anna Kournikova worm, OnTheFly, who also hails from the Netherlands.

Graham Cluley, of antivirus firm Sophos, said the virus authors might be tracked down through the records of Adultcheck.com, which acts as an agent to collect money from porn web sites.

The rate of spread of the virus itself seems to be dying out just 24 hours after it was first unleashed.

MessageLabs, a managed services firm that scans its users email for viruses, reports that it is now intercepting hundreds of viruses an hour, compared with the thousands it intercepted yesterday. In total MessageLabs has intercepted 26,500 copies of the virus, higher than for the Anna Kournikova worm - but taken from a larger user base.

Sophos' Cluley said that 155 companies had contacted it about the virus but not all of these were actually infected. The outbreak was less severe than either the Love Bug or Anna Kournikova worm, he says.

Figures on how many people were actually infected by the virus are hard to pin down but emails received Register readers reveal several firms were caught out by the virus and had to take down their email servers.

According to Cluley, firms should consider blocking Visual Basic scripts in emails; this will stop the spread of Homepage and other similar Internet worms. ®

Related Stories

Homepage spreading faster than Kournikova worm
Homepage Net worm spreading like wildfire

External Links

Homepage worm write-up from Command Software
MessageLab stats on the virus outbreak

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
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
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.