Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 04 May 2010 17:26

Palevo/Yimfoca malware spreading 'aggressively' via IM


Call it Palevo, call it Yimfoca, a worm is being spread through instant messaging programs and other vectors.

BitDefender is warning of "an aggressive worm" spreading among Windows based computers via Yahoo and Microsoft instant messaging programs as well as network shares and removable drives.

The company is referring to the worm as Palevo, a name previously used by Symantec for a worm in July 2009. The current worm has been dubbed Yimfoca by Symantec.

Instant messaging users are warned against opening links in incoming messages without checking that they were intentionally sent.

An example provided by BitDefender shows a link to what purports to be a photo but is actually an executable program that installs the Palevo/Yimfoca worm. If the recipient attempts to open the 'photo' - Boom! Pwned!

Apart from spreading itself, the worm provides backdoor access to infected systems, steals login credentials from Firefox and Internet Explorer, and infects various peer-to-peer applications including eMule and LimeWire.

What's the easiest way of avoiding this piece of malware? Please read on.

"We recommend IM users to be extremely cautious of links they receive in an instant message, particularly if they point towards either a file or web link download," said Catalin Cosoi, senior researcher at BitDefender.

"It's worthwhile to double-check the legitimacy of the message with the sender before opening a link, in order to confirm whether they had purposely sent the message themselves," added Cosoi.

Or as Symantec's Mircea Ciubotariu puts it, "Many times becoming a victim can be avoided just by asking the contact who sent the link whether it's real or not."

According to a BitDefender spokesperson, Palevo is most active in countries including Romania, Indonesia and Mongolia.

Palevo/Yimfoca is detected by various antivirus programs. Or you can run an operating system other than Windows.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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