Harry Potter worm says he is dead

Worm wild about Harry

Always ready to hitch their creations to current pop-culture events, malware writers have developed a new worm just in time for the release of the latest "Harry Potter" movie and novel.

The worm, called W32/Hairy-A, automatically infects a PC when users attach USB drives, according to researchers at security vendor Sophos. The worm displays an image of the pending novel "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final book in the popular series by J.K. Rowling that is slated for release in late July. The latest film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," premieres in Australia on July 11.

If the infected PC user has the USB drive set to auto run, a Word document will open that says "Harry Potter is dead," according to researchers. Then the worm begins looking for other removable drives to infect, and attempts to create new Windows users on infected computers using names of Rowling's characters such as Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

Upon logging on to Windows, users of infected PCs are greeted by a batch file that reads:

"Read and repent

the end is near

repent from your evil ways O Ye folks

lest you burn in hell ... JK Rowling especially

Press any key to continue ...

In addition, users of infected PCs will find their start page in Internet Explorer has been changed to an Amazon.com Web page selling a book called "Harry Putter and the Chamber of Cheesecakes," a novel that parodies the original.

While these messages and images seem somewhat benign, Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley says that "a worm like this which infects and tampers with users' computers without their permission is committing a criminal act."

This worm is a throwback to malware of years ago that didn't attempt to steal information for financial gain, but is simply looking for a platform upon which to make a statement, Cluley adds.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cara Garretson

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?