Virus identified that infects Shockwave Flash files

Antivirus software vendors say they have spotted the first computer virus that uses Macromedia Inc.'s Shockwave Flash files to transmit itself once a victim clicks to run the Flash movie.

Identified as SWF/LFM-926 by antivirus software vendor Sophos PLC, this virus is not yet "in the wild," infecting computers. The Shockwave Flash virus was sent to Sophos as a sample via anonymous e-mail, and this specimen is now being shared and analyzed among several antivirus vendors.

The virus doesn't appear to spread the way typical e-mail-borne viruses would. According to Network Associates Inc. virus researcher Craig Schmugar, any possible victim of this new Shockwave Flash virus would have to save an infected file locally and open it with a Flash player.

The SWF/LFM-926 virus is not destructive except in its ability to infect other Shockwave Flash files stored on a victim's computer. Nevertheless, there is concern that this simple proof-of-concept virus could turn into much more over time.

Macromedia's Shockwave Flash has not attracted virus writers to exploit it until now, in part because Microsoft products, such as Word and Outlook e-mail, are much more widely used and therefore make better vehicles for viruses to spread. In addition, said Schmugar, Macromedia made a conscious effort over the years to prevent its animation and special-effects technology from becoming a target for exploitation.

But the unknown writer of SWF/LFM-926 has proven that Flash movies can now be exploited as a vehicle for computer viruses.

"The virus is exploiting the Action Scripting in Shockwave Flash," says Network Associates virus researcher Schmugar. When a victim runs the Flash file, which is a picture-puzzle game, the virus creates a file called v.com that resides on the hard drive. It then runs v.com, which infects all other Flash files on the hard drive.

SWF/LFM-926 is regarded as a low-level threat, but its existence may lead to more virus damage down the road. "Though it's unlikely this virus will ever be widespread, someone could improve upon it," Schmugar indicated.

If that happens, Shockwave Flash, popular on Web sites, could become infected with a more harmful virus that could spread more easily.

"Computer users visiting snazzy sites would get more than they bargained for if they download this virus," stated Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant for Sophos.

Sophos is urging Web site managers to take the prudent course and put in place procedures for ensuring the integrity of the code running on their Web sites in preparation for a new breed of computer virus.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?