Desktop search new target for viruses?

Security experts are warning that virus writers could use new desktop search tools to make their malicious software more efficient.

Foad Fadaghi, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Australia, said that most viruses are designed to harvest e-mail addresses and other personal information from an infected system. He warned that because desktop search tools such as those recently announced by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo can index and categorize that information, virus writers are likely to start exploiting the technology. "Desktop search products are very efficient at harvesting data, so it wouldn't be surprising if exploits are sought by malicious coders. Any software that can index and capture data on a user's PC will be subject to virus and Trojan exploits. It is just a matter of time," Fadaghi said.

Neil Campbell, the national security manager of IT services company Dimension Data, said that any change in the desktop environment can create new security vulnerabilities, so when companies decide to adopt a new product they should look beyond the user benefits. "It sounds like great technology, but don't deploy it without considering the security implications. With any new product area there is a need to consider security," Campbell said. According to Campbell, virus writers are unlikely to start targeting the new tools immediately--but only because they are not common.

News source: C|Net

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