Feeds

Bot spreads through anti-virus, Windows flaws

Universities and schools worst hit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The Internet Storm Centre's assessment agreed that the bot software appears to only be spreading at a moderate pace and only among universities and colleges, with a few exceptions.

"The spam and the scanning seems to be widespread, while the reports of infection have come from edu's (educational institutions) and a few home users," Mike Poor, an incident handler at the Internet Storm Centre and a security analyst with Intelguardians, said in an email interview with SecurityFocus.

The slow infection speed surprised Scott Fendley, a security analyst with the University of Arkansas and an incident handler with the ISC. While Fendley estimated that thousands of the school's computers were vulnerable to the Symantec flaw, only about 30 systems were actually infected.

"We are currently attempting to understand why this did not propagate faster or infect other hosts on campus," he told SecurityFocus in an email interview.

The software does not appear to explicitly be targeting educational institutions, according to Symantec's Weafer (see correction). However, because schools have less strict policies regarding upgrading critical software, students and academic faculty may be the most vulnerable, Fendley said.

"As university environments are very decentralised, group policies and other mechanisms used to keep software up-to-date and well managed, may or may not exist," he said. "So one department may have completed the upgrades, when the office next door is still using a much older version."

Bots created with the the SpyBot software connect to Internet Relay Chat and await commands. The software attempts to detect if it's been quarantined in a honey pot by looking for the signs of a virtual machine and debugger software. The program uses the File Transfer Protocol to copy software onto compromised hosts.

Symantec recommended that users of its Client Security and Antivirus Corporate Edition update to the latest version of the software.

CORRECTION: The article attributed the assertion that the bot program was not explicitly targeting educational institutions to the wrong person. Vincent Weafer of Symantec stated that the attack did not seem to be targeted.

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2006, SecurityFocus

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.