Print 92 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Jan 23 at 5:45 PM

The new virus can infect USB storage devices, in addition to attack over corporate ethernet networks. While a patch from Microsoft will protect against the ethernet attacks, currently no patch can stop the USB-side attacks. Only antivirus software can block it.  (Source: IoCell)
New worm is very sophisticated and spreading fast

Last week the international community was hit by one of the worst viral internet attacks to take over the corporate world in recent years.  The worm -- which goes by the names Downadup, Conficker, or Kido -- had infected 8 million computers, almost all on corporate networks, by Friday.  Describes Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at anti-virus firm F-Secure, "On Tuesday there were 2.5 million, on Wednesday 3.5 million and today [Friday], eight million.  It's getting worse, not better."

As of today, an estimated 8.9 million machines are infected with the virus.  The very sophisticated worm exploits multiple secure flaws in Microsoft's Windows OS's.  It injects itself into services.exe, a common system process.  It creates a new DLL file in Windows system folder with a random five letter name.  It makes registry edits referencing this DLL as a service, so it’s automatically run on restart.

Once it has its grips on the system, it proceeds to create an HTTP server and download malware onto the computer from hacker web sites.  It also wipes out the system restore with a reset, making it harder to recover the system.  While many viruses download malware remotely from a handful of web sites, allowing for easy removal of the installed files, this one is much trickier.  Every day hundreds of dummy domain names are generated by an algorithm coded in the worm, with only one being the actual malware site.  This makes it extremely difficult to find exactly what is being installed each day.

The virus's main method of transmission is via local networks.  Once a computer is infected on the network it scans for other computers on the network, and then it uses the aforementioned Windows security flaw to attempt to gain access to them.  While the computers are typically password protected, the virus can guess shorter passwords by a brute force method of random guessing.  Once it finds the right password, it infects the next computer, which joins the attacking ranks.

Microsoft has a patch which protects against the Ethernet side of the attack -- MS08-067.  Companies are strongly recommended to get this patch as the virus is rapidly spreading across Europe, the United States, and Asia.

Describes Graham Culley, senior technology consultant with anti-virus firm Sophos, "Microsoft did a good job of updating people's home computers, but the virus continues to infect business who have ignored the patch update.  A shortage of IT staff during the holiday break didn't help and rolling out a patch over a large number of computers isn't easy.  What's more, if your users are using weak passwords - 12345, QWERTY, etc - then the virus can crack them in short order.”

However, while the patch may slow the spread of the virus it may not be enough to stop it.  The most recent variant of the worm, which is the one that was released two weeks ago and caused the number of infections to skyrocket, can transmit itself via USB, an attack route that currently no Windows patch blocks.  While properly patched antivirus software may block the attack, relying on such a software block is a risky proposition.

Kaspersky Lab's security analyst, Eddy Willems describes the virus's nightmarish spread, stating, "The replication methods are quite good. It's using multiple mechanisms, including USB sticks, so if someone got an infection from one company and then takes his USB stick to another firm, it could infect that network too. It also downloads lots of content and creating new variants though this mechanism."

Thus far the virus has only been used to inject malware into PCs.  But security experts warn that attackers could use their foothold on the system to start stealing users' and customers' credit card numbers and personal information.  It could also be used to completely hijack the computer, adding it to a botnet.

Ultimately the only current solution is for companies to patch their machines, quarantine and remove malware from infected machines, and disallow use of USB storage devices.

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RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By Pirks on 1/20/2009 9:11:46 PM , Rating: 0
So, you're biased and misinformed comment of "No holes like autorun hole in Windows" is so untrue it's almost laughable
Well, you know that there is no autorun security hole in Mac OS X, because OS X does not blindly run software from USB stick when you insert it.

Hence I was telling the truth.

The question is why are you lying?

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By mailtrust on 1/21/2009 1:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
How does OS X read a USB stick? And.. what is that fancy little thing that comes up on the desktop when you put in a USB stick in the drive?

Actually, can you go into exact detail of how OS X handles a USB stick? Heck, can you post the 'code' and all related handles with that? And.. can you give me some names of some large corporate companies that use OS X (besides Apple) as their main structure.. I'd like to be able to shoot that stuff around in my next visit to Apple store and i'm standing next to some bigshot executive.

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By Pirks on 1/21/2009 5:25:04 PM , Rating: 1
can you give me some names of some large corporate companies that use OS X
"Large corporate companies" usually don't buy/lease Japanese or German luxury cars for their employees. They provide their employees with cheapo low quality American cars like Chevys. "Large corporate companies" save money by doing this. Got it?
How does OS X read a USB stick?
Mac OS X DOES NOT automatically execute any code from USB stick when it is inserted into the computer's USB port, but Windows DOES. End of story.

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By wayout41 on 1/21/2009 5:42:29 PM , Rating: 2

And how many luxury have the chassis of honda's and engines made by ford with huge bumped up profit margins and large price tags that make buys feel superior. Some buyers even find the need to join clubs and openly show off about their expensive car. Some mistake the large price tag they paid for actual knowledge of cars when actually as it turns out they are fools.

But hey mac OS is really different to all that. The fact that at the last security convention it was the first to be cracked out of 3 (vista, linux, osx) is not an issue because you paid a lot and Apple arn't just getting rich they really care.

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By Pirks on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By nilepez on 1/21/2009 11:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
You just noted an important difference between Mac OS X and Windows - while Mac OS X is getting hacked at security conferences, Windows is getting hacked everywhere else ;-)

Of course not.
Let's say that you're in the business of Crime/malware.

Let's make the following assumptions:

X hours is spent on each of 2 attacks.

Attack 1 targets windows and successfully infects 20% of the user base.

Attack 2 targets OS X and successfully infects 80%

Which system would you attack?

If you answer anything other than Windows, then you fail Math 101.

It's a numbers game, and despite it's growth in the past few years, Apple still doesn't have the numbers to justify the effort. Desktop Linux has even smaller numbers and generally more knowledgeable user base, which is the key to preventing most attacks (though not this one).

Besides, the reason this attack was successful is because Admins didn't patch the machines.

In the 90's, Unix servers were attacked (which brought the internet, in many areas, to it's knees). Why? Because admins hadn't patch known issues months after patches were issued.

In short, IT was too complacent about applying security patches. Some things never change, even if the OS that's attacked does.

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By Pirks on 1/22/2009 2:32:54 PM , Rating: 1
the reason this attack was successful is because Admins didn't patch the machines
You forgot the main reason - the EXISTENCE of the autorun hole, created by brainless morons from Redmond. Hopefully they will be fired among the 5000 jobs MS has cut today. See how MS pays for its stupidity? Here's a tough lesson for you, Redmond. Be smarter next time and you won't need any job cuts like today :-P

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By wayout41 on 1/22/2009 5:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
Wow and I didn't think you could come across as more of an idiot. But then you throw in a binder like that one. You become inconsiderate as well. Did you think for a moment about the fact that these guys are now out of a job? That they can't pay bills? Its not something to use in a argument you failing to make its actually people loosing their jobs. No one wants that, apart from you apparently. Enjoy fighting your corner here, I'm out.

RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By Pirks on 1/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Disallow use of USB storage devices? Why?
By digimob on 1/23/2009 8:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
Or alternatively they could completely bolox up there OS and then just go buy someone elses... oh wait... Apple did that...

Lets be honest - Vista blows from some points of view, but then again, it's a completely different beast to OSX... It can't only be installed on one device with one spec sold by one vender... but that's the apple business model and they are happy with it and it makes them lots of money... so good luck to them!

But neither of these issues have anything to do with this worm... which is caused by poor administration of networks... as they said in the article, it's not been an issue for home computers because they were updated automatically...

By Pirks on 1/23/2009 5:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
this worm is caused by poor administration of networks
Why did you conveniently forget the "autorun" hole that has not been EVER patched by MS in Windows XP?

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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