Feeds

Autocad attacks return after four years in wilderness

The virus makes a comeback

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Viruses attacking users of the Autocad computer assisted design application have recently resurfaced after taking a four-year hiatus, prompting a call from one security watcher for more to be done to done to prevent such outbreaks.

And indeed, that's exactly what Autodesk, the California-based maker of the high-end program, has pledged to do.

Over the past few weeks, Sophos Senior Threat Researcher Paul Baccas has spotted two viruses that target Autocad. One of them, dubbed AL/Utax-A, attempts to create new users, a sign that the virus writers are acting out of malicious intent, he said. A newer pest called AL/Logo-A is more of a nuisance. According to an analysis that isn't yet complete, it copies itself to Autocad files, but it isn't believed to modify or delete any data.

To be sure, the resurgence is small, but Baccas says it highlights a very real vulnerability in Autocad and other applications that employ user-generated scripts to automate repetitive tasks. While Microsoft made significant changes to its Office 2007 to blunt the threat of macro-borne attacks, many other application makers have yet to follow suit.

"It's always good for developers to think about security and security holes, especially if they are providing an automated scripting language to automate tasks," Baccas told The Register. "I would like to talk to people from Autodesk about this problem."

Autocad developers are already on the case, said Noah Cole, a senior communications manager at Autodesk. The next version of the program will be redesigned so scripts are loaded in a "more secure and trusted manner," he said.

The most recently discovered virus spreads through a scripting file called acad.vlx, which is transmitted when designers exchange their work. Once it's on a user's machine, it gets loaded each time Autocad is started. Similar Autocad viruses were reported in 2005, but have largely been dormant since then.

Sophos and most other anti-virus programs detect the viruses, Cole said.

More about the viruses is here and here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
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
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.