Been hit by the annoying Black Screen of Death since the last Windows update? Malware and not Windows itself is to blame, claim Microsoft.
Anyone who ignored this morning’s warning to abandon Internet Explorer 7 (and let’s face it, there are better things to be doing over lunch than changing your web browser) can instead rejoice that the first patch for the problem has been released by Prevx.
The web site states:
Prevx have developed a utility that users can run to enable and disable Microsoft’s suggested workarounds. This utility will allow you to disable the affected component of Internet Explorer until Microsoft release a patch via their windows update software.
Quarter past nine on a Monday morning. I’m staring at the thick oak beam of long polished table wondering what the hell I’m doing at briefing about internet security. My last journalistic foray into this turgid corner of the tech world had me stuck talking anti-virus software with one of the chief marketing officers at a leading company. I recall a solid 40 minutes of the internet neighbourhood watch warnings as the canapes passed just out of reach behind his back. The hungrier I got the more it sapped my soul. My last conscious thought was “never again”. Never again; until today.
I’m not sure if it was the lure of the Soho House, the charm of the invitation or, more likely, the promise of breakfast but somehow, between them, they short-circuited that old memory in my brain; they silenced its voice. Down went that corner of my neural net; a localised blackout and now here I am in my trainers and jeans, most others with a collar at least. Quarter past nine on a Monday morning. Fifteen minutes before I’m usually at work.
Ed Gibson begins the day more upset than I am that his cooked breakfast hasn’t arrived but that’s probably where the similarity ends. Edward P Gibson is Microsoft’s chief security advisor and a former operative with the FBI. He takes comfortable control of the room of assembled journalists with the warmth and ease of his Midwest drawl. I wonder if that manner served him well at the FBI. I wonder if he’s enjoying his retirement, but by the end of the morning I’ll have changed my mind about how much rest he’s getting in his new profession…
This morning I spoke with a French hacker-turned do-gooder, Jacques Erasmus, who uses his extraordinary knowledge over at online security company Prevx. According to Erasmus, a virus was created last Wednesday which is targeting gamers on World of Warcraft and Counterstrike.
Created in Germany, the worm is spread on MSN Messenger, where a spam message directing users to an infected site is sent out to a user’s complete contact list, in turn automatically sending itself to all of their contacts as well.
The worm then searches through the user’s hard drive, searching for log-in details to World of Warcraft and Counterstrike, as well as PayPal and Barclays Bank amongst others. The information is then uploaded to an FTP site, where the hackers can view all the details, as well as anyone else clever enough to gain entrance, such as Erasmus, who viewed hundreds of people’s details…