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    9:47 pm (UTC-7)   |    by

    Looks like the Storm gang (or at least the Russian/Ukrainian criminals behind it) is expanding its business.

    Is it because of the “arrival” of Kraken, which, following the footsteps of MayDay and Mega-D, is challenging the said gang for the “Biggest Zombie Network” title? Whatever the case, only days after re-professing its love to unsuspecting users via blog pages, the Storm malware is at it again, this time posing as a video codec.

    TrendLabs researchers discovered several sites that offer, what looks like, a YouTube-look-alike streaming video. The infection vector and messaging is actually still the same, that is, users are most likely to access this site via links on specially crafted, love-themed blogs. What is interesting this time is that on the said site, users are required to download the so-called Storm Codec in order to view the said video. Yes, you read that right: the codec is called Storm Codec. Below is a screenshot:

    Storm Codec

    Is that blatant enough?

    Of course, the said “codec” is actually a NUWAR/Storm variant, which Trend Micro already detects as WORM_NUWAR.JQ since April 2.

    If the social engineering tactic of using video codecs is familiar, it’s because it is — ZLOB Trojans became infamous because of it, after all (see some detailed analysis here). Thus, the Storm gang’s attempt to venture into the said codec “business” has our researchers speculating whether they are now in cahoots with the ZLOB authors, or that they are trying to take over ZLOB’s niche, much like they did with STRATION when the two first started battling it out late 2006. Or maybe the gang is just trying to reaffirm to their competition that they’re still the one to beat.

    In the end though, it’s still the unsuspecting users who become collateral damage of all this brouhaha. Users are thus advised to be wary when visiting Web sites or blogs, especially those that require installation or execution of files. Video files — especially those posted online — almost always do not require video codecs anymore, lest they lose the much coveted site traffic to other sites (YouTube, anyone?). Come to think of it, if someone really loves a person that much, he or she won’t have that person go all through the trouble of finding the appropriate codec, right?

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