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Pro-Tibet rootkit Trojan poses as cartoon

Virus writing becomes a new sport for the Beijing games

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Malware writers have passed the baton in the race to take advantage of the Olympics with the second attempt to load malware onto PCs in a week.

A movie file circulating on the net that poses as a cartoon ridiculing the effort of a Chinese gymnast at the games, followed by images supporting a free Tibet, has been booby-trapped with malware.

While the Flash-based movie runs, a keystroke logging tool is silently installed on the victim's Windows PC. The malware is hidden by rootkit functionality, making it harder to detect and remove.

The malicious cartoon is distributed as an email attachment called "RaceForTibet.exe". Data captured by the keystroke logger is sent to a computer in China. As usual, the threat affects Windows PCs only.

Discovery of the keystroke logger with a rootkit comes a day after net security firm McAfee warned that pro-Tibet websites were being modified by attackers to host malicious software. The Fribet Trojan horse was placed on hacked websites and subsequently loaded onto the PCs through a Windows vulnerability.

As previously reported, the Fribet Trojan contained sophisticated functionality that enabled it to gain access to databases accessed through compromised PCs.

Avert Labs researcher Patrick Comiotto has blogged about the pro-Tibet rootkit on McAfee's Avert Labs blog, providing more technical information and screenshots here. ®

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