New virus targets and encrypts .exe files

Antivirus vendor Central Command has detected a new worm that, disguised as a warning from Microsoft, mass mails itself to users and once launched from an attachment, encrypts executable files, rendering them unusable.

The Medina, Ohio-based security company rates the virus as a medium risk, and said that so far there's only one report of an infection. The worm, Win32.Invalid.A@mm, can infect computers running Windows, Windows NT and Windows 2000.

Even so, Ryan Russell, an analyst at business security firm SecurityFocus.com in San Mateo, Calif. said the virus does pose a threat: "I think it's just early in the cycle."

According to the announcement, "The new worm named Win32.Invalid.A@mm carries a destructive payload that can render executable (.exe) applications unusable by encrypting them with a random encryption key.

"This mass-mailing worm first verifies that an Internet connection is available, and if a connection is established it searches for all files starting with the extension '.ht*' in the My Documents folder," the announcement said. "It then extracts the e-mail addresses from within the files and sends" a messaging claiming to be from Microsoft.

"This new worm attempts to use social engineering to again trick users into opening its attached file. Casual Internet users are at most risk for Invalid's damaging retaliation," said Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command. "At this time, we've received one report of this new worm, but Central Command is monitoring this worm's activity very closely."

The worm-embedded e-mail has a false "from" field indicating that it's from support@microsoft.com. It directs the user to download a patch to prevent buffer overruns in Internet Explore from invalid SSL certificates.

"The SSL protocol is used by many companies that require credit card or personal information, so there is a high possibility that you have this certificate installed," the bogus e-mail says. "To avoid being attacked by hackers, please download and install the attached patch. It is strongly recommended to install it because almost all users have this certificate installed without their knowledge."

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.

Jennifer DiSabatino

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?