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First AMD 64-bit virus debuts

Proof of concept malware

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Anti-virus researchers have discovered of the first virus capable of infecting 64-bit AMD systems.

The Shruggle virus is only capable of infecting AMD64 Windows Portable Executable (PE) files on the same machine. The virus will not run natively on 32-bit Windows platforms. Even on 64-bit AMD boxes, Shruggle is incapable of spreading by itself from machine to machine. The virus is noteworthy only in demonstrating that malicious code is capable of infecting 64-bit AMD systems even before the widespread availability of systems next year. Shruggle poses a negligible risk but it does illustrate how keen virus writers are on getting an early start at attacking new Windows-based platforms.

In an analysis, AV Symantec writes: "It [Shruggle] is a fairly simple proof-of-concept virus; however, it is the first known virus to attack 64-bit Windows executables on AMD64 systems. The virus is written in AMD64 assembly code," it adds.

Symantec compares Shruggle to Rugrat, a proof-of-concept virus released earlier this year capable of infecting 64-bit Windows machines. Since then 64-bit viruses have remained as rare as hens' teeth. Vulnerable 32-bit systems are far more commonplace and easy to commandeer. We confidently predict they will remain the prime target for hackers and ne'er-do-wells for some time yet. ®

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