'Alien greeting' harbours Windows malware

Plan 9 from cyberspace

A message purporting to come from an alien is in reality, you've guessed it, the latest Windows PC-infecting computer virus. The Sundor-A worm displays a picture of an alien with the following message: "I'm the alien. Have a happy week. I liked your computer" upon infection.

If you open an infected Word document you get the pox. Sundor-A then goes about deleting programs and documents from the infected computer's hard drive and disabling security software, potentially leaving compromised PCs open to further attack.

Sundor-A relies on someone to deliberately send infected files to prospective victims. It doesn't mass-mail itself, a factor that has limited the spread of the malware. "In many ways it's an old school virus. We don't see anything like as many Word viruses as we did back in the mid-late 1990s, and its graphical payload seems like the behaviour of older 'classic' viruses too. It is possible that some users may believe that it is a joke program sent from a friend rather than something deliberately malicious," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos.

Sundor-A is a low risk virus but Windows users would still be well advised to keep their anti-virus protection up-to-date and to practice safe computing, such as by avoiding the temptation to open suspicious-looking emails. You know it makes sense. ®

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