Feeds

Plug and Play pandemonium

Worms based on MS vuln attack world+dog

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Media outlets have been hard hit by computer worms based on a recently discovered Microsoft Plug and Play vulnerability (MS05-039). Computer systems at CNN, ABC, The Financial Times, and the New York Times have all been disrupted. General Electric, United Parcel Service and Caterpillar were also affected by the attack.

Virus writers have created a number of viruses targeting the Plug and Play vulnerability following the disclosure of the security bug by Microsoft last week and the publication of an exploit days later. Unlike the Sasser, Nimda and Blaster outbreaks of previous years it's not immediately clear which of a new batch of worms is causing the most damage. Zotob, the first malware to exploit the vulnerability, has been joined by several others including an IRC bot, a version of the infamous Rbot worm written to take advantage of the Windows security flaw.

Windows 2000 machines left unprotected by a firewall are most at risk from attack. Almost half of corporate desktops run Win2K, according to June estimates from asset management firm AssetMetrix, and when an infected machine gets plugged into these environments all hell can break loose.

"The big organizations that are getting hit right now have most likely introduced the infection to the internal network via infected laptops," said Mikko Hyppönen, director of anti-virus research at Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure.

Antivirus firm Sophos warns such attacks are not unusual and that organizations unpatched against vulnerabilities can expect to be regular targets for virus writers, hackers and phishers. It also points out that more worms will attempt to exploit this particular vulnerability.

The FT carries a report stating that it was hit possibly by a variant of the ZoBot worm. CNN said its computer systems in New York and Atlanta were hit by an unspecified worm on Tuesday afternoon. ABC carries an AP report of the infection of some of its computer systems. Over at the New York Times an infection hit both newsroom and corporate PCs.

Standard defence precautions against worm attacks apply in defending against malware targeting the Plug and Play vulnerability. Users are urged to patch systems up to date and update anti-virus signature definition files. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'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
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
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 and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.