05 December 2008

Misinformed about Malware

I was moaning recently about the appalling sloppiness when it comes to viruses et al.: they are practically all for Windows, and yet nobody mentions this fact. Here are two more egregious examples.

First:

Researchers at BitDefender have discovered a new type of malicious software that collects passwords for banking sites but targets only Firefox users.

The malware, which BitDefender dubbed "Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A" sits in Firefox's add-ons folder, said Viorel Canja, the head of BitDefender's lab. The malware runs when Firefox is started.

The malware uses JavaScript to identify more than 100 financial and money transfer Web sites, including Barclays, Wachovia, Bank of America, and PayPal along with two dozen or so Italian and Spanish banks. When it recognizes a Web site, it will collect logins and passwords, forwarding that information to a server in Russia.

Firefox has been continually gaining market share against main competitor Internet Explorer since its debut four years ago, which may be one reason why malware authors are looking for new avenues to infect computers, Canja said.

Bad, wicked Firefox, bad wicked open source...except that this trojan *only* works on Windows...which means it's bad wicked Windows, yet again. But the article never mentions this, of course.

Or take this:

BATTLEFIELD bandwidth is low at best, making networks sticky and e-mails tricky. American soldiers often rely on memory sticks to cart vital data between computers. Off-duty, they use the same devices to move around music and photos. The dangers of that have just become apparent with the news that the Pentagon has banned the use of all portable memory devices because of the spread of a bit of malicious software called agent.btz.

...


The most remarkable feature of the episode may not be the breach of security, but the cost of dealing with it. In the civilian world, at least one bank has dealt with agent.btz by blocking all its computers’ USB ports with glue. Every bit of portable memory in the sprawling American military establishment now needs to be scrubbed clean before it can be used again. In the meantime, soldiers will find it hard or outright impossible to share, say, vital digital maps, let alone synch their iPods or exchange pictures with their families.

And yes, you guessed it, it only works on Windows. So that bit about "[t]he most remarkable feature of the episode may not be the breach of security, but the cost of dealing with it" is really about the cost of using Windows - well, it's The Economist, what do you expect, accuracy? When will they ever learn?

2 comments:

Azerthoth said...

Thanks for that, and for pointing out the always assumed but never outright mentioned 'for Windows' label when dealing with mainstream media and software.

Silly isn't it?

glyn moody said...

It is, indeed.