Gathering ‘Storm’ superworm poses grave threat to Windows PCs; Apple Macs unaffected

“The Storm worm first appeared at the beginning of the year… Although it’s most commonly called a worm, Storm is really more: a worm, a Trojan horse and a bot all rolled into one. It’s also the most successful example we have of a new breed of worm, and I’ve seen estimates that between 1 million and 50 million [Windows] computers have been infected worldwide,” Bruce Schneier reports for Wired.

“Worms like Storm are written by hackers looking for profit, and they’re different. These worms spread more subtly, without making noise. Symptoms don’t appear immediately, and an infected computer can sit dormant for a long time. If it were a disease, it would be more like syphilis, whose symptoms may be mild or disappear altogether, but which will eventually come back years later and eat your brain,” Schneier reports.

“Storm has been around for almost a year, and the antivirus companies are pretty much powerless to do anything about it. Inoculating infected machines individually is simply not going to work, and I can’t imagine forcing ISPs to quarantine infected hosts. A quarantine wouldn’t work in any case: Storm’s creators could easily design another worm — and we know that users can’t keep themselves from clicking on enticing attachments and links,” Schneier reports.

“Redesigning the Microsoft Windows operating system would work, but that’s ridiculous to even suggest,” Schneier reports.

“Oddly enough, Storm isn’t doing much, so far, except gathering strength. Aside from continuing to infect other Windows machines and attacking particular sites that are attacking it, Storm has only been implicated in some pump-and-dump stock scams. There are rumors that Storm is leased out to other criminal groups. Other than that, nothing,” Schneier reports. “Personally, I’m worried about what Storm’s creators are planning for Phase II.”

More in the full article here.

39 Comments

  1. The problem is not necessarily the fact that people click on bad links. Everyone has been fooled at some point. The problem is an inherently insecure OS. Also, all it takes is a few people clicking on bad links, then the worm spreads automatically through a network, even infecting self-proclaimed “smart” Windows users. The solution is not making everyone smarter, it’s making the tools everyone uses smarter. Perhaps though, the best solution is to do both.

    I would have no problem with Windows if it was fast, secure, innovative, etc. Maybe after this Vista debacle, and the growing amount of ingenious malicious code written to take advantage of Windows, MS will finally have initiative to take its resources and put them into a new project. But unfortunately probably not…

  2. Don’t Laugh says “For example, what if the creators of this sell access not to organized crime but to a certain organization of radical fundamentalist religious zealots with murky roots in the mountains along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan?”

    OK so the devil is only in those hills… not!

    I think George Carlin said it best…

    “Certain groups of people, certain groups, Muslim fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, and just plain guys from Montana, are going to continue to make life in this country very interesting for a long, long time.”

    I hope to god you can see a connection here ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. What if storm isn’t controlled by anyone. What if it’s the beginning of the massive amount of information on the internet by chance forming itself into a sentient entity (or networked entity) that is spreading and growing. We call this entity “storm” because of it’s apparent fondness for storm topics in the emails it initially generated. It actually has issued millions of “feelers” out into culture via the internet to learn: how we think, what we react to, etc. Right now it’s young, but over time it will mature; and with the power to spread, grow, change and seemingly learn, there’s no telling where it will stop.

    If evolution is true. If chaos can produce us. What will our chaos produce?

    What if…

  4. @ @ Guess Poser

    “How much do they charge for them tinfoil hats?” – Make your own. it’s cheaper and you know what went in to them ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    @ ByeTakeCare

    It’s a scary world out there, always has been, fewer wild animals to deal with these days but other more subtle threats.

    But really do your own research, use your mind, weight the evidence, take nothing for granted, few things are what they seem to be. After all most people think Bill Gates is a great man and Windows is good.

    One line derogatory remarks only serve to strengthen the initial point.

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