Feeds

Stealth virus is stealthiest of all

Under Atak

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

There's a new mass mailing virus in town, and it's built to make life even more difficult for anti-virus researchers.

Atak uses a variety of tactics in its attempts to escape antivirus analysis. Its main trick is to check to see if it's being run in a debugging environment. If so, it exits to avoid detection. The ploy prevents casual perusal of the code by researchers and (potentially) rival virus writers.

A possible bug, related to the way Atak checks its activation date, prevents it from being run in a "sandbox". A sandbox is a virtual environment commonly used by AV researchers to look at the behaviour of malware in a safe place.

"I haven't seen such ruses used in a mass mailer in a long time. This piece of code is so sloppy, it's devious," said Mircea Ciubotariu, a researcher at Romanian AV firm BitDefender.

Aside from its stealth behaviour the virus is a fairly standard mass mailer. It infects Windows PCs only (natch). Atak is spreading, albeit modestly, and most AV firms rate it as a low-to-medium risk threat. ®

Related stories

MS hatches July patch batch
All quiet on the malware front
Symantec fights auto-responder menace
Malware attacks IE users via pop-ups
CERT recommends anything but IE

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.