Feeds

US school in toothless Obama worm infection

Round up the dweebiest suspects

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Security experts reckon a new low-threat worm that displays the image of President Obama on infected desktops is the work of technically-knowledgeable pranksters.

Infections of the worm appear to be confined to scores of desktops at the same (unnamed) Illinois high school, which contacted its anti-virus supplier. The outbreak puzzled security US reseller Walling Data, which in turn brought in the expertise of AVG's Roger Thompson.

Thompson reckons the worm probably exploits the same vulnerability as the infamous Conficker/Downadup worm (MS08-067), and spreads through network shares but is otherwise unrelated. "The worm is probably not a Conficker variant, because as far as we can tell, the source code is not available for Conficker," he writes.

In many ways the Obama worm is a throwback to an earlier, more innocent age when worms were created to gain notoriety out of simple mischief, rather than in order to establish a botnet of compromised PCs that might later be farmed out for profit. The malware does little beyond displaying a small image of Obama on infected desktops, according to preliminary analysis.

Adopting the role of detective, Thompson has some suggestions on likely suspects. "Given that Conficker source is probably not available, and if no one else ends up reporting this, there's some chance one of your students wrote it," he writes. "Find your smartest, geekiest, dweebiest kid, and look hard at him."

Thompson's write-up of the attack, complete with screenshots, can be found here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.