New Threats, Old Threats, and a New Twist On an Old Threat

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Beware the “clampi” virus: Some malware, such as “scareware” steals money in small amounts from a lot of people, but the most pernicious malware is capable of stealing a lot of money from one victim – as in emptying a bank account. The clampi virus is an example. It is very stealthy and seems to be operated by organized crime gangs who can be very patient. This virus sometime quietly gathers information for many months before the operators make their move. This is a good reason to do internal scans on systems that handle financial data. Other defenses are to limit the amount of money in accounts accessible electronically and to isolate computers used for financial transactions from the rest of the network (perhaps using a virtual machine).
Those with Linux systems should pay attention to this null pointer vulnerability in Linux because it allegedly affects all versions of the 2.4 and 2.6 Linux kernels.
Pornography is not funny, but you have to at least award points for creativity to these guys. We have seen adware and ransomware scams in the past that encrypt data and charge a ransom to decrypt it, but this attack involves placing nasty pornographic ads on your browser and charging a ransom to remove them. Fortunately, removing the malware is about the same as removing other adware. Nevertheless, innocent victims have to pay someone like us to remove it and we would all rather spend our time performing other services. Hopefully, few folks pay the ransom, which is likely to result in more extortion in the future.
Dennis H in West Virginia, US
August 15, 2009

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