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!

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.

Cara Garretson

Network World
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?