Feeds

US school in toothless Obama worm infection

Round up the dweebiest suspects

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
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
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
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

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.