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Baby got .BAT: Old-school malware terrifies Iran with del *.*

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A surprisingly simple disk-wiping malware has set off alarm bells in Iran after surfacing in the Middle East nation.

The software nasty deletes everything on storage drives attached to infected Windows PCs on specific dates, according to the Iranian security emergency response team. The malware was detected in one or more targeted attacks although the identity of the intended victim is not known.

Its operation is similar to the data-destroying worm Shamoon that ransacked Gulf oil giants earlier this year, but the two pieces of software otherwise appear unrelated.

BatchWiper, as the snared malware's name suggests, uses a Windows batch file to remove files from infected machines, according to an analysis by security tools biz AlienVault.

A self-extracting RAR archive called GrooveMonitor.exe is used to drop the malware's files onto a system. However the same software nasty can easily be packaged in other ways and appear under different guises.

Jaime Blasco, labs manager at AlienVault, said that it is not clear how BatchWiper malware is spreading. "The dropper could be deployed using several vectors, ranging from spear phishing emails, infected USB drives, via some other malware already running on computers, or an internal actor uploading it to network shares," he said.

Blasco concludes that despite its simplicity, BatchWiper is capable of causing significant irritation if its file-wiping code is executed. Once that kicks in, it's time to break out the backups or your favourite undelete utility. ®

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