Thursday, February 29, 2024

New Worm Throws ‘Smackdown’ on Users

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Elitper-D, a worm new to the Wild, is conning users by disguising itself as a screensaver featuring two female stars of professional wrestling.

The worm spreads via email pretending to be a bug fix for Microsoft Windows XP SP2, according to analysts from Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam company with U.S. headquarters in Lynnfield, Mass. However, when the bug attempts to spread via file-sharing systems and Internet relay chat, it disguises itself as a screensaver of WWE divas Torrie Wilson and Sable. The two blonde stars of professional wrestling are known to WWE devotees around the world, and have been seen on the pages of Playboy magazine.

Once the worm infects a machine, it makes changes to the security settings of infected computers, and blocks access to various Websites, potentially leaving the PC open to further attack.

”WWE is phenomenally popular amongst many young people, but a mystery to the rest of us,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. ”Anyone who visits file-sharing systems and chatrooms looking for material related to their idols should exercise care about what they download. This isn’t the first time that virus writers have used celebrities as bait, and sadly it won’t be the last time that innocent users fall for the trick.”

Elitper-D disables various system utilities, such as the Windows task manager and registry editing tools. The worm also attempts to delete several files which may cause the computer to become unstable and shut itself down, according to Sophos. The worm harvests email addresses from Microsoft Outlook contacts and sends itself as an attachment to each address found.

It also turns off anti-virus software.

Sable, an ex-Guess Jeans model whose real name is Rena Mero, and Torrie Wilson have inspired tens of thousands of Internet Websites, many with extensive image galleries and movie clips.

Sophos has given the worm a low threat rating at this point. Although there have been very few reports of the worm, Sophos analysts recommend computer users ensure their anti-virus software is up-to-date.

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