Could your computer be secretly sending out porn? Sadly, yes. What’s
worse is, you could also be unknowingly helping to send massive spam
emails for these same sites.
The latest aberration in the virus world is a trojan nicknamed “Migmaf”
which quietly slides into your computer and uses your personal address
on the web to hide itself and route people to pornographic content in
The Migmaf virus was discovered only recently and infection appears
to come about by the usual means - opening unexpected email attachments.
It is possible that this code is also "piggybacking" along with other
viruses - such Palyh or SoBig virus. Once
the code is downloaded and activated, it uses your personal address
on the web (called an "IP" (Internet Protocol) address - think of
it like your phone number on the Internet) to disguise the true source
of emails and adult-content web sites. When authorities tried to trace
the source of this problem, they discovered the web sites are being
routed through unsuspecting home and office computers - such as your
own. In order to avoid being caught, the program utilizes your internet
connection for only 10 minutes at a time then rotates to itself to
another victim - thereby creating a "ring" of pcs to work from.
What's a " MigMaf "?
I'm probably not the only person out there who has wondered "Where
the hell do these virus names come from"? Well, MigMaf was
coined by the person who discovered this virus - Joe Stewart, from
Internet security firm LURHQ. It stands for "Migrating Mafia", a metaphor
for this concept of a roving and organized criminal element (virus)
secretly manipulating your computer. Catchy, eh?
Newest Malware Evolution
This form of pc infection is the newest in a rapidly progressing evolution
in malware - malicious software. As computer technology becomes more
and more sophisticated, those malcontents bent on harm with viruses
are also raising their level of savvy. Migmaf's methods of deception
have made it extraordinarily difficult to track back the source of
the problem and have even confounded specialists on how this malicious
software is being distributed.
The Root of this Evil
Clients have often asked me "why do people make these viruses"? Previously,
my answer was something to the effect of "because they have no real
life of their own". Unfortunately, there's a new reason for hackers
and virus-mongers to devote their time to this black art - money.
New Anti-spam legislation, software and filtering by services has
made it more and more difficult for spammers to sell their wares.
The basic economics of this opens to door to big money for ethically
challenged programmers who can generate a covert means of promoting
illicit yet profitable web content.
Credit Card Theft
According to security consultant Richard Smith, some of the computers
that are hosting websites related to this scam are also receiving
stolen credit card information. While the correlation between this
and Migmaf have not been fully established, the possibility that this
code may progress into identity theft distribution is very, very real.
According to Jim Koellegger of BBX Technologies "This new form of
malware can turn virtually any computer user into an unsuspecting
accomplice of crime."
Migmaf virus report (71 kb)