Virus identified that infects Shockwave Flash files

Antivirus software vendors say they have spotted the first computer virus that uses Macromedia Inc.'s Shockwave Flash files to transmit itself once a victim clicks to run the Flash movie.

Identified as SWF/LFM-926 by antivirus software vendor Sophos PLC, this virus is not yet "in the wild," infecting computers. The Shockwave Flash virus was sent to Sophos as a sample via anonymous e-mail, and this specimen is now being shared and analyzed among several antivirus vendors.

The virus doesn't appear to spread the way typical e-mail-borne viruses would. According to Network Associates Inc. virus researcher Craig Schmugar, any possible victim of this new Shockwave Flash virus would have to save an infected file locally and open it with a Flash player.

The SWF/LFM-926 virus is not destructive except in its ability to infect other Shockwave Flash files stored on a victim's computer. Nevertheless, there is concern that this simple proof-of-concept virus could turn into much more over time.

Macromedia's Shockwave Flash has not attracted virus writers to exploit it until now, in part because Microsoft products, such as Word and Outlook e-mail, are much more widely used and therefore make better vehicles for viruses to spread. In addition, said Schmugar, Macromedia made a conscious effort over the years to prevent its animation and special-effects technology from becoming a target for exploitation.

But the unknown writer of SWF/LFM-926 has proven that Flash movies can now be exploited as a vehicle for computer viruses.

"The virus is exploiting the Action Scripting in Shockwave Flash," says Network Associates virus researcher Schmugar. When a victim runs the Flash file, which is a picture-puzzle game, the virus creates a file called v.com that resides on the hard drive. It then runs v.com, which infects all other Flash files on the hard drive.

SWF/LFM-926 is regarded as a low-level threat, but its existence may lead to more virus damage down the road. "Though it's unlikely this virus will ever be widespread, someone could improve upon it," Schmugar indicated.

If that happens, Shockwave Flash, popular on Web sites, could become infected with a more harmful virus that could spread more easily.

"Computer users visiting snazzy sites would get more than they bargained for if they download this virus," stated Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant for Sophos.

Sophos is urging Web site managers to take the prudent course and put in place procedures for ensuring the integrity of the code running on their Web sites in preparation for a new breed of computer virus.

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.

Ellen Messmer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

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?