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!

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.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?