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Trojan turns victims into DDoS, spam zombies

Meet the Webber worm

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Anti-virus vendors are warning of the mass mailing of a new Trojan program "Webber" (aka "Heloc" and "Berbew") which is capable of turning infected PCs into pr0n or spam propagating zombies.

Webber is the latest in a series of malicious programs that turn innocent computers into spam machines. It installs a proxy server at the command of malicious attackers. In the last week, Russian AV firm Kaspersky Labs already detected three Trojan programs similar in type to Webber, the most notorious of which was the Magmaf.

"In essence, we have a situation involving the creation of an illegal, extended network that can be exploited by hackers to mass mail spam using the resources of victim computers," commented Eugene Kaspersky, Head of Anti-Virus Research at Kaspersky Labs. "What is most troublesome is that this network can also be abused to achieve virtually any goal, including conducting hacker attacks on a global scale and DDoS attacks on the Web resources of large corporations or government institutions."

Webber was spread over the Internet via a mass mailing conducted on July 16, according to Kaspersky. The message containing "Webber" has the following subject line: "Re: Your credit application", a text body in plain English, and a file attachment named "web.da.us.citi.heloc.pif".

Kaspersky Labs notes this file name is similar to a Web address and therefore can at times confuse users and lead them to execute the infected file.

Once run, Webber clandestinely downloads its additional components from a remote Web-server and installs them on the now infected computer. Collateral damage attributed to this Trojan includes the sending of a list of passwords dug out of a victim machines in the form of URL requests to the Web site of the Trojan's presumed creator.

A more detailed description of Webber can be found in the Kaspersky Virus Encyclopaedia here or on Symantec's Web site here.

Shy away from Coconut worm

In other virus incidents this week, infamous female VXer Gigabyte has created a virus that pokes fun of AV expert Graham Cluley of Sophos. The Coconut worm, which has not been released into the wild, invites victims to play the game - which involves throwing coconuts at the heads of notorious Belgian hacker, Frans Devaere, and Cluley - to score points. The more points the user scores, the fewer files the worm tries to infect.

It's the second virus Gigabyte has created that features Cluley. Gibabyte, best known for her work in creating the first C# virus, also created the Cluley-featuring Parrot worm in 2001. She created the worm after taking offence at the high profile security commentator's remarks that most virus writers are spotty teenage nerds who are incapable of getting a girlfriend. Gibabyte has earned a reputation as been more skilled and ethical than most members of the VX community.

Cluley thinks he's been targeted for ridicule along with Devaere because the pair's mutual high profile in Gigabyte's country of residence, Belgium. Sophos' write-up of the Coconut worm can be found here.

And yet more spoofing tricks...

In other attacks on AV companies this week, a new mass-mailing worm called Lohack-B was discovered which attempts to trick users into thinking that the message has been sent from trustworthy sources, for example the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology or AV firm Panda Software. A write on the worm by Panda Software can be found here.

All three piece of malware only affect Windows users, as usual. Users are advised to protect themselves by updating their AV signature files. Blocking executable files at enterprise gateways wouldn't hurt either. ®

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