Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Phishing Scam Targets Windows Update

Filed under
Microsoft
Security

A phishing scam emulating the Windows Update Service hit Australia yesterday, designed to not only emulate the update page perfectly, but circumvent current antivirus, spyware and adware programs.

The spam e-mail directs users to a page that pulls graphics from the Microsoft.com Web site and then recreates the page asking users to download a Windows update that is actually a malicious .exe file.

Director of SurfControl, Charles Heunemann, said the company discovered the virus late last night and that current heuristics and signatures used by core antivirus vendors are not picking up the malicious code.

"We are still trying to get to the bottom of it," Heunemann said.

"It is not a malicious attack for network resources but appears to send a message to the Internet advertising itself as a zombie machine - we think the .exe file pulls other code to turn the machine into a spamming server.

"The actual e-mail looks like a Microsoft e-mail but I don't think it is the practice for Microsoft to ask users to update their operating system by launching a link from an e-mail."

The virus, titled Wupdate-20050401, installs an executable file into the Windows directory and adds a startup service. When it is running the program takes up 100 percent of the CPU power, controlling the CPU by forcing it to perform continuous processes.

Microsoft security product manager Ben English said this is just one of many scams they are currently monitoring, adding that it is not unique.

"There are effective defences against these types of scams and we advise users to follow some simple guidelines," English said.

"Microsoft is aware of the SurfControl notice regarding the spoofing scam of Windows update and our advice to customers remains the same.

"Microsoft never attaches software updates to our security e-mail notifications; we never send notices about security updates or incidents until after we publish information about them on our Web site and if you suspect that an e-mail message is not legitimate, do not click any hyperlinks within it."

Sophos' Asia Pacific head of technology, Paul Ducklin, was aware of the program in question and said despite all the technology in the world, education and informed decisions by users will always be the best resort to stopping malware.

"Even if all other defences are down, with Trojan malware if a person doesn't click on it, it won't work - they all involve, to some extent, collaboration with users," Ducklin said.

"Three ways to block them include having software to prevent a suspicious program, using programs at the gateway to block .exe files and of course user education and information."

More in Tux Machines

Desktops, Rolling vs Stable, and New Internet Security

There is a lot of Linux news to report today as a lot of interesting things have been happening last few days. Over the weekend Jeff Hoogland, Bodhi Linux founder, briefed folks on the many graphical desktops for Linux including his own. Yesterday, Matt Hartley compared and contrasted long term versus rolling released Linux distributions and Jack Wallen said desktop Linux isn't really important anymore. Today, Jack Germain said Mandriva offshoot Rosa is a "real powerhouse" and the LF announced collaboration with the White House on new Internet security measures. Read more

Slackware Live 0.5.1, 1.0 on Its Way

Eric "AlienBob" Hameleers announced Slackware Live Edition 0.5.1 Saturday based on the latest Slackware 14.2 Beta. Hameleers said his livestak is "mostly complete at this point" but still lacks sufficient documentation. That's the goal for stable 1.0. For folks looking for a distro "well equipped to keep systemd out of our distro for a while" but still boots UEFI machines, perhaps Slack Live is the answer. It comes in Slackware default, Xfce, Plasma, and MATE versions, so why not book 'er up? Read more

Turning Open Source into a Multicore Standard

Open source OpenAMP is a framework that defines consistent features for life cycle management, interprocess communication and resource sharing among processors on a single SoC -- augmenting mainline Linux's existing LCM and IPC capabilities for working with other Linux environments. Thus, OpenAMP enables a Linux "master" to bring up a "remote" processor running its own bare-metal or RTOS environment, which in turn establishes communications channels with the master. Read more

SourceForge Loses DevShare

  • SourceForge Loses DevShare
  • SourceForge Acquisition and Future Plans
    Our first order of business was to terminate the “DevShare” program. As of last week, the DevShare program was completely eliminated. The DevShare program delivered installer bundles as part of the download for participating projects. We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit. As we move forward, we will be focusing on the needs of our developers and visitors by building out site features and establishing community trust. Eliminating the DevShare program was just the first step of many more to come. Plans for the near future include full https support for both SourceForge and Slashdot, and a lot more changes we think developers and end-users will embrace.