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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

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?