Santa Claus worm strikes IM clients

A new instant-messaging worm attempts to capitalize on holiday cheer by promising a picture of Santa Claus, but delivering a rootkit.

The Santa Claus worm doesn't care whether you've been naughty or nice, but it's making a list of PCs to infect this holiday season, according to a threat alert released by security firm IMlogic Tuesday.

A new instant-messaging worm called IM.GiftCom.All is making the rounds this holiday season. Rated as a "medium" threat by IMlogic, the worm attempts to get users of the instant-messaging networks run by America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft to visit a seemingly festive Web site featuring Santa Claus.

The message comes from someone already present on a user's "buddy list," said Art Gilliland, vice president of products for IMlogic. It contains a supposed link to a URL (uniform resource locator) starting with "santaclause.aol.com/....."

However, clicking on that link takes users to a different Web site and triggers the download of a malicious file to a user's PC, Gilliland said. That file is created using rootkit techniques, making it extremely difficult to detect with conventional antivirus or operating system tools, he said. Once resident on a system, the file tries to shut down antivirus software and collects personal information that can be redistributed over the Internet.

IMlogic has not recorded an instance where that personal information was actually sent out to the Internet, but the program does log information, Gilliland said.

Users are advised to avoid clicking on anything sent through an instant-messaging system unless they have verified that the file or picture is legitimate and the sender intended to pass it along, Gilliland said. IMlogic recently identified an instant-messaging bot that produces canned assurances that a file is legitimate when the recipient replies to check its authenticity, so it's important to take extra care to verify the sender's intentions, he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?