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PandaLabs Warns 'High School Musical' Fans to Watch Out for Virus-Laden Downloads

Cybercrooks targeting younger audiences by disguising malware as files related to hit movie
GLENDALE, Calif., Nov. 21, 2008 - PandaLabs, Panda Security's malware analysis and detection laboratory, has reported that numerous downloadable songs and videos related to the hit movie "High School Musical" are being used by cyber-crooks to disguise malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, etc.). The infected files are distributed through popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks such as eMule, eDonkey, etc. and when users search for files related to "High School Musical" using these programs, some of the results include files infected with malware.

When users run one of these fake files they may expect to hear songs from the film or see a video clip, yet all that will happen is that the computer will be infected by VB.ADQ, the Agent.KGR Trojan, the adware Koolbar, or another strain of malicious code. Some of these might display images related to the film when they are run, but this is just to avoid arousing suspicion.

"Cyber-crooks are exploiting the interest of the numerous fans of these films, by hiding their creations in files with names related to 'High School Musical,'" explains Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. "An added danger is that many of these fans are very young and as such are more likely to fall into the trap. It is important that safeguards and appropriate parental monitoring solutions are put into place to protect consumer's PCs."

Corrons adds, "We are seeing an increasing amount of files downloaded from P2P networks containing malware. Even random searches (e.g. abxdj) could return results with malicious files, so it would seem that there are servers created exclusively for distributing malware across these networks."

To protect against these damaging tactics, PandaLabs advises users to take care when downloading files, and in particular, to check the file extension, as many of the malicious files have the extension ".exe", which is rarely the case with a genuine music or video file. About PandaLabs Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions. Currently, 94 percent of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com and the Panda Security website: www.pandasecurity.com/usa.

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