Feeds

Virus writer signs off in cordial Trojan message to MS

So long, and thanks for all the phish

The essential guide to IT transformation

An unidentified Russian virus writer has reached out to Microsoft with a message buried within a recent variant of the Zlob Trojan. The greeting in the malicious code was friendly and cordial, in sharp contrast to messages posted on compromised websites by defacement crews, which frequently deride the security of Microsoft's software.

Microsoft's researchers are dedicated to making sure the Zlob Trojan causes the minimum of damage, in opposition to the hacker's objective of infecting as many systems as possible with the money-making code. Despite this the message is amiable, even chatty, and respectful after the fashion of an exchange between an old-school blagger and a rozzer.

"Just want to say 'Hello' from Russia. You are really good guys. It was a surprise for me that Microsoft can respond on threats so fast," the VXer writes. "Happy New Year, guys, and good luck!"

The Zlob Trojan, which first appeared in 2005, commonly poses as a video codec that's supposedly needed to watch movie clips. The malware generates bogus pop-up warnings on infected systems, encouraging users to purchase rogue anti-spyware products.

The message goes out to suggest that the hacker is on the brink of abandoning the Zlob Trojan project, in favour of moving over to developing more invasive code. "BTW, we are closing soon. Not because of your work. :-)) So, you will not see some of my great ;) ideas in that family of software. Try to search in exploits/shellcodes and rootkit," the message adds.

Microsoft researcher Tareq Saade welcomed the possible retirement of the Zlob gang. "It warms my heart that they're 'closing soon,'" he writes, adding that burying messages in viral code is hardly an effective way of keeping in touch. "Considering the enormous amount of malware we go through every day, it can be difficult to track follow up samples like this."

Indeed, the latest message was spotted not by Microsoft itself but by a French security researcher.

The same hacker reportedly used viral smoke signals to get in touch with Microsoft in earlier variants of the Zlob Trojan. Comments buried in October variants of the malware were altogether more sinister, stating "I want to see your eyes the man from Windows Defender's team".

In the latest message, the VXer claims that Microsoft offered him work as a consultant, improving Window's Vista security, without knowing about his work churning out malicious code. The hacker said that he declined the supposed opportunity because the type of work on offer didn't interest him, and that he only mentioned the offer because of its delicious irony. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.