Monday, December 5, 2016

The lurking worm

Hoy, hace un año...

One of the most unpleasant creatures that Mulder and Scully had to face was an alien worm that had been frozen in the Artic ice for thousand of years. Apparently harmless, the tiny organism had been able to cause the death of the first expedition. The parasite provoked hatred and paranoia in the hosts, making them want to kill each other. The two FBI agents had to solve the case before the bug infected them as well. Undoubtedly, this episode is one of the most mythical ones in the series The X-Files. Moreover, this is a tribute to the film The Thing (1982), by John Carpenter.

365 days ago we were talking about a worm’s birthday: Conficker. It has been active for eight years now and it still installed on thousands of computers, without the owners suspecting a thing. The peculiarity of this virus is that it can adapt to the environment, camouflage and evolve, transforming itself into new variants. Designed to attack Microsoft Windows systems, it has spread in 190 countries and has infected more than 11 million devices.

As explained on Welivesecurity website, the worm takes advantage of an old vulnerability and can guess passwords and hijack computers with the aim of creating a botnet. Although a good antivirus should be able to locate and remove it, today, the worm is still infecting other computers. It is believed that cybercriminals who launched it, abandoned their activities in 2009, but the bug is still among the most detected malicious codes in the world. Will it be waiting in the shade to attack?

Also lurking, hidden in another file, we can run into a ransomware, a malicious computer program that can encrypt our operating system files and force us to pay a ransom if we want to recover them. This type of virus affected the website of Reader’s Digest magazine, installing a “cocktail” of malware. First, the Pony virus steals all usernames and passwords. Later, the Angler kit exploit looks for security holes in the computer and, finally, CryptoWall program encrypts all files. This is teamwork!


About a year ago, we also talked about another dangerous species: LinkedIn’s fake profiles. Posing as recruiters, they still continue offering dream jobs. You just need to accept them to get more information. Or are you giving your information to them? According to Symantec, its aim could be gathering data to organise spear phishing attacks and introduce spy malware on the computers, in order to blackmail their victims. Be careful with who you accept on LinkedIn, we warned you one year ago and we still do it today. By the way, you should know they create false profiles in all professional sectors.

In the Artic, Scully and Mulder discovered that if they wanted to kill the alien worm, they had to confront it with another of its kind. In their territorial struggle, the two parasites ended up killing each other. That was the only way to kill them. That worked very well in the fiction. However, infecting the same computer with another virus may not be the best idea. We have already seen they know how to work as a team.


Imágenes: Expediente X

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