Are Virus Writers Creating a Super Worm?

Virus writers responsible for the recent rash of Mytob worm variants could be working on creating a super worm, a security researcher warns. The "HellBot" group behind the Mytob worms write programming instructions in their code that mirror the way developers work, says Sophos Security Consultant Carole Theriault. "The only conclusion we can come up with is that they are working on a big super worm," Theriault says.

Since its discovery in February, the Mytob mass-mailing worm has spawned dozens of variants, each just slightly different, according to researchers. However, each variant turns off an infected machine's security settings and blocks the user's access to security Web sites, Theriault says. This makes it difficult to get help once a machine has been infected, and Trojan programs accompanying the worms could leave a backdoor open for attack, she says. One recent version included spyware and adware, which could be used to reap monetary benefits, according to U.K. antivirus company Trend Micro.

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