February 16th, 2008

If I had to use a Windows PC at home, I'd be utterly paranoid after reading reports like this:

An insidious computer virus recently discovered on digital photo frames has been identified as a powerful new Trojan Horse from China that collects passwords for online games – and its designers might have larger targets in mind.

"It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence," said Brian Grayek, who heads product development at Computer Associates, a security vendor that analyzed the Trojan Horse.

The virus, which Computer Associates calls Mocmex, recognizes and blocks antivirus protection from more than 100 security vendors, as well as the security and firewall built into Microsoft Windows. It downloads files from remote locations and hides files, which it names randomly, on any PC it infects, making itself very difficult to remove. It spreads by hiding itself on photo frames and any other portable storage device that happens to be plugged into an infected PC.

The good news (unless you own shares in Microsoft) is that there are measures you can take to protect your computer:

Protecting against these new computer viruses, which so far are aimed at PCs running Windows, is hard – and sometimes impossible. […] Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any device into a PC.

Mac users shouldn't be too smug about this; one day the bastards behind Mocmex will turn their attention to Mac OS X and there'll be carnage, not least because a lot of non-techie Mac users probably think there's no need for anti-virus software and a degree of care in how you deal with downloaded content because their computer is so "safe."

[Via Daring Fireball]

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