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12/20/2007
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New Malware Steals Legitimate Ads

Anti-virus software supplier BitDefender discovered a new Trojan , which hijacks Google text advertisements and replaces them with ads from a different provider. The malware, which BitDefender dubbed Trojan.Qhost.WU, modifies a computers' Hosts file (a local storage for domain name /IP address mappings, which is consulted before

Anti-virus software supplier BitDefender discovered a new Trojan , which hijacks Google text advertisements and replaces them with ads from a different provider. The malware, which BitDefender dubbed Trojan.Qhost.WU, modifies a computers' Hosts file (a local storage for domain name /IP address mappings, which is consulted before domain name servers and is considered authoritative). The modified file contains a line that redirects the computer from the legitimate source to an illegitimate one.The new malware underscores how the mindset of hackers has been changing. Whereas they once were pimply face adolescents trying to wreak havoc on the adult world, many are now savvy young businesspersons who view creating malware as a more attractive career path than working for a Fortune 500 company. The largest producers of spam and malware are now criminals who often pocket six and seven figure incomes from their deeds.

The new malware hurts businesses, such as Google, who are counting on ads to increase their coffers. Companies placing Internet advertisements also suffer because their work is not viewed as widely as it could be. Small and medium corporations that are interested in certain products lose out because they are diverted away from primary sources to secondary ones, some of which may not be legitimate. Also, monitoring malware becomes more difficult because these companies now have to ensure that the advertisements users are viewing are legitimate. Who would ever think about worrying about that?

BitDefender has a cure for this Trojan but there is no doubt that others will arise. The lure of easy money is too tempting for this new generation of hackers to ignore.

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