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'Mac worm' hacker in death threat farce

Much ado about malware

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Claims by an anonymous author that he was paid to create a worm targeting Mac OS X systems are turning into a soap opera-style farce. Infosec Sellout said his 'Rape-OSX' worm uses an undisclosed vulnerability in the mDNSResponder component of Mac OS X to spread.

Low-threat malware targeting Mac OS X systems is unusual, but far from unprecedented. Claims that the supposed author of the worm is being paid to create proof-of-concept malware lack credibility or rationale, aside from creating mischief.

The original 15 July post on Infosec Sellout's blog, which has since been stripped of detail, said: "I wrote this for my own purposes and it will be demonstrated to those who asked me to engage in this work. Yes, I am being compensated for this (Hi, Joanna)."

The information security community is a small, almost exclusively male clique. The only Joanna of note is Joanna Rutkowska, founder of Invisible Things Lab, a noted security researcher who developed the Blue Pill rootkit to illustrate the security shortcoming of Windows Vista's anti-malware defences.

Rutkowska told eWeek that she doesn't know Infosec Sellout and certainly hasn't paid anybody to write worms.

Infosec Sellout was "identified" as LMH, someone associated with the Phrack High Council (PHC), on Cutaway Security's blog on 17 July, based on an anonymous chat-room conversation. PHC aims to cause grief to responsible white-hat hackers.

Whether this is true or not remains unclear, but soon after this Infosec Sellout's blog was "hacked", renamed "Security Information", and stripped of almost all its posts. One of the two posts left on the blog provides a link to information on the alleged worm, but none of them detail of the original post.

IDG reports that death threats were posted on the blog prior to the hack, adding further spice to an already heady mix.

Rape-OSX is looking more and more a work of mischief rather than mayhem. Perhaps we should thank Infosec Sellout for enlivening an otherwise dull week in information security with his gonzo-style pranks? ®

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