Storm Trojan dupes users with Halloween jig

The latest holiday-inspired spam by the botnet-building malware in progress

The Storm Trojan is flooding e-mail in-boxes with a Halloween spam blitz, security companies said Thursday. This is just the latest example of the bot-building malware's knack of capitalizing on current events to dupe people into infecting their PCs.

The newest campaign arrives in messages with subject heads such as "Dancing Bones" and "The most amazing dancing skeleton," said Abingdon, England-based Sophos PLC in an alert posted on its site. The messages include a link to a malicious URL posing as a Halloween-themed site; once there, users can click on a file, "halloween.exe," which purports to be a dancing skeleton game, but which actually fires up Storm in the background.

Visitors running unpatched machines can also be hit by Storm after a multistrike exploit package pings the PC for vulnerabilities and, if it finds one, compromises the computer and as the slips in Storm.

"This is just the latest incarnation of the poisoned e-card attack, also known as Storm, which has dominated the malware scene for months," Graham Cluley, a Sophos consultant, said in a statement. "The gang responsible are experts at choosing topical disguises or crafting alluring e-mails."

Storm's makers have relied on current events and holidays since the Trojan first appeared in January as an attachment to a message broadcasting news of that month's major windstorm in Europe. Since then, Storm has piggybacked on messages hyping everything from the Fourth of July to Labor Day.

The malware has become famous in security circles for its use of social engineering tricks. More than two months ago, Symantec researcher Hon Lau acknowledged the hackers' ability to craft tempting messages. "They have a knack for latching on to the latest newsworthy events and capitalizing on the public interest in them," Hon said then. "And if no newsworthy events are happening at the time, then they will just make them up."

All of Storm's energies are devoted to hijacking PCs so it can use them as bots in a network, or botnet, of hacked machines. Recently, researchers have reported that the Storm botnet may be splitting up into smaller segments, perhaps in preparation for sale to others who could use them for spamming or other schemes.

Most antivirus products have signature definitions in place that detect and delete the Storm Trojan used in the Halloween attack, according to London-based Heise Security.

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.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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?