Hackers Tune In to Windows Media PlayerBy Ryan Naraine | Print
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Microsoft's new anti-piracy mechanism is the latest distribution vehicle for spyware, adware and viruses.Hackers are using the newest DRM technology in Microsoft's Windows Media Player to install spyware, adware, dialers and computer viruses on unsuspecting PC users.
Security researchers have detected the appearance of two new Trojans, Trj/WmvDownloader.A and Trj/WmvDownloader.B, in video files circulating on P2P (peer-to-peer) networks.
According to Panda Software, both Trojans take advantage of the new Windows anti-piracy technology to trick users into downloading spyware and adware applications.
"It's pretty ingenious," said Patrick Hinojasa, chief technical officer at Panda Software. "To take an anti-piracy feature and use it to feed spyware is extremely ironic."
Hinojasa told eWEEK.com that the use of Windows Media files as a spyware vehicle is another sign that virus writers and companies supporting spyware are looking for new entry points to infect computers.
"In this case, they're using technology meant to secure content. It just shows that the more bells and whistles you add to the technology, the more you open doors for the bad guys," he said.
Even though these Trojans have been detected in video files on P2P networks such as Kazaa or eMule, Hinojasa warned that these files can be distributed via e-mail, FTP or other Internet download avenues.
Ben Edelman, a Harvard University student who tracks and comments on the spyware scourge, also spotted the spyware-laden media files. In a research note, Edelman posted a demonstration of the exploits and warned that users with older versions of Windows will receive "confusing and misleading messages" regarding the DRM licenses.
After attempting to download the DRM, Edelman said: "On a fresh test computer, I pressed Yes once to allow the installation. My computer quickly became contaminated with the most spyware programs I have ever received in a single sitting."
"All told, the infection added 58 folders, 786 files and an incredible 11,915 registry entries to my test computer. Not one of these programs had showed me any license agreement, nor had I consented to their installation on my computer," he added.
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