Feeds

End of days: Possessed POWERPOINT predicts Mayan Apocalypse

Hardly the end of the world, OR IS IT?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Miscreants have crammed malware into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation about today's supposed Mayan Apocalypse. If someone emails you a .ppt slideshow titled Will the world end in 2012?, give it a wide berth unless the world really does end today and you're feeling wild.

The booby-trapped presentation packs Visual Basic macro code designed to drop an infectious executable called VBA[X].exe onto Windows machines. The malware-secreting macro code also appeared in an Excel spreadsheet of a Sudoku puzzle that turned up on the internet earlier this week.

The "end is nigh" PowerPoint file needs macro execution to be switched on in order to work when opened. The code puts together a valid Windows Portable Executable file from an array of bytes. This generated program connects to a remote command-and-control server to carry out orders on behalf of its masters - although researchers studying the software found that it didn't work properly.

Back in the 1990s, macros were the weapon of choice for budding virus writers. Microsoft responded by disabling macros by default, all but killing off the threat. The return of this malicious scripting code is an interesting curiosity rather than a pressing danger.

Searching on the web reveals the presentation's authors gathered warnings of impending doom from a US preacher who almost certainly had nothing to do with the booby-trapped document. However the blog of the implicated believer has been compromised to manipulate search engine results for, er, lovemaking enhancements, "off-shore" casinos, foreign exchange fraud and payday loans.

A blog post by Sophos, including screenshots, that explains the threat in greater depth can be found here. ®

Doomnote

The Mayan Long Count calendar cycles every 5,125 years, each period covering a great age of humanity. According to ancient myths, there are five such ages and each one ends in cataclysm of some kind. Today marks the end of the fifth age, or so the story goes.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.