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Cyber-jihad hacker claims credit for 'Here you have' worm

'I could smash all those infected'

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A virus writer who claims to have created the 'Here you have' worm that flooded corporate email boxes last week claims the malware was designed as a propaganda tool.

The cracker, who uses an Iraq Resistance email address associated with the worm, told IDG that "the creation of this is just a tool to reach my voice to people maybe ... or maybe other things". The miscreant confessed surprise at the spread of the worm, which accounted for an estimated 10 per cent of internet spam last week, spread.

The malware contained keystroke logging software and a backdoor component. The worm, whose propagation recalled mass mailers of the past such as the Anna Kournikova worm, spread most widely in the US, where it infected systems such as Disney, Wells Fargo and NASA, among others.

The worm got its start by pointing users to infected websites supposedly hosting documents or free smut clips. Infected machines are programmed to send out emails to a user's contacts. The malware also spreads via insecure network shares, which is probably its main mechanism in corporates. The website associated with the attack has been taken down.

The VXer boasted that he could have designed a more destructive payload. "I could smash all those infected but I wouldn't," he told IDG. "I hope all people understand that I am not negative person!"

Over the weekend, Iraq Resistance posted a video protesting the war in Iraq and arguing that his actions paled by comparison to those of Terry Jones, the obscure pastor at a small Florida church who became the centre of worldwide attention after he threatened to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The 'Here you have' worm has marked coding similarities to an earlier strain of malware, called Imsolk-A, released last month. Both make reference to a Libyan hacker using the nickname Iraq Resistance, who has recently attempted to form a hacking crew called Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad. the name reference a Muslim commander who conquered much of Spain in the eighth century.

"Either this person is involved with this virus, or somebody wants to make it seem like this person's group is involved in this virus," Joe Stewart, director of malware research with SecureWorks told IDG. "There are a lot of pointers to that group."

Security researchers at Trend Micro reckon that the malware first appeared in mid July as the payload of targeted email attacks directed at the human resource offices of various companies as well as the military and the African Union. The malware posed as a CV file in PDF format but actually contained an executable file. ®

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