Trick or Treat? The Top 5 Halloween Costumes for Malware

 

Increasingly, malware exploits are being cloaked as mainstream web applications. The Storm Worm alone has tried a number of changing costumes – from online games to video to VoIP – and, in honor of Halloween, we've compiled the 5 most noteworthy and widespread malware 'costumes' of the past seven years.

 

Masquerading Malware Tricks Victims with Tempting Treats

 

The Bill Collector

Viruses like Haxdoor disguise themselves in emails claiming to be receipts of large online purchases never made. This costume first appeared at the end of 2003 and F-Secure estimates that over 100,000 systems have been infected to date.

 

The Starlet

Malware such as the VBSWG/OnTheFly worm disguise themselves in emails claiming to contain risqué photos of celebrities. This form of malware has been in use for years, and started with the Anna Kournikova virus in 2001. VBSWG was a toolkit used to generate email worms automatically without any programming knowledge and several variants using different celebrities as the theme were found shortly after. Thousands of people were infected by this family of worms.

 

The Casanova

The LoveLetter email worm masquerades as a personal note of adoration. This disguise came about May 4, 2000, and to date, millions of people have been infected thanks to following their curiosity.

 

The Hero

Viruses such as Swen.A disguise themselves as security patches from Microsoft. This malware has been loose in the wild since September 18, 2003, and has penetrated approximately 400,000 machines to date.

 

The Chameleon

Since F-Secure Security Labs first discovered the Storm worm in January 2007, it has shifted disguises a number of times, including news alerts, free games and YouTube videos. Storm's latest disguise is an e-card featuring a kitten. This form of malware has propagated to several million computers worldwide.