Worm appears as Microsoft antipiracy program

Security analysts have detected new malware that appears to run as a Microsoft program used to detect unlicensed versions of its operating system.

Security analysts have detected a new piece of malware that appears to run as a Microsoft program used to detect unlicensed versions of its operating system.

The malware has been classified as a worm and spreads through AOL's Instant Messenger program, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, a security vendor.

Sophos is calling it W32.Cuebot-K, a new variation in the Cuebot family of malware. The worm has a range of malicious functions. After it's installed, the worm immediately tries to connect to two Web sites, a sign it may try to download other bad programs on the machine.

Cuebot-K can disable other software, shut off the Windows firewall, download new malicious programs, perform basic DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks, scan local files and spawn a command prompt, Sophos said.

Worms that spread through instant messaging programs often appear as messages or links sent from friends, which trick a user into executing the program. Cuebot-K propagates by sending itself as a file named "wgavn.exe" to more people in the user's "Buddy List" but without a message, Cluley said.

If installed on a computer, Cuebot-K is registered as a new system device driver service named "wgavn." When a list of services running on the computer is summoned, the worm appears as "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Notification" Sophos said.

Cuebot-K's registry entry appears as HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wgavn\.

The worm's ironic ruse comes as Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program is being criticized for functioning like spyware. WGA collects hardware and software data on a user's computer and compares it to a database of licensed operating systems.

If an improper copy is detected, Microsoft warns the user and cuts off some free downloads.

Join the newsletter!

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.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

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?