Security Bytes: New Sdbot worm works slyly; e-mail attachments waning

Other news: e-mail attachments waning; laptop theft prompts SB 1386 notices; and spyware on Congress's and SP2 installers' minds.

New Sdbot a high-level threat
Sdbot-AQA, a worm with backdoor characteristics that can allow an attacker to remotely compromise a system, is circulating in the wild, according to Glendale, Calif.-based Panda Software.

Sdbot.AQA uses its own IRC client to accept remote commands, such as launching denial-of-service attacks against Web sites. It can also download and run files on the infected computer. According to Panda, Sdbot.AQA spreads across computer networks by attempting to access the network shared resources and using passwords that are typical or easy to guess. Then, it makes a copy of itself to those shared resources.

Windows 95, 98, NT, XP, 2000 and ME are vulnerable. Panda warned that Sdbot.AQA is difficult to recognize "as it does not display any messages or warnings that indicate it has [compromised] a computer."

Inappropriate e-mail attachments declining
The number e-mail attachments containing pornography, cartoons, jokes and greeting cards has declined over the past six months in comparison to the same period last year, reported MessageLabs, a U.K.-based managed e-mail security provider. MessageLabs said the ratio of e-mail attachments containing such images was one in 4,756 (0.02%) during the six-month period from March to August 2004, compared to one in 1,357 (0.07%) in 2003. This non-work related material may be in violation of acceptable usage policies and can consume bandwidth and may offend employees. The company said one possible explanation for the decline is the growing enforcement of corporate governance requirements. Also of note: MessageLabs reported that the month of August saw a drop in spam (84.2% compared to 94.5% during July) and viruses (6.9% down from 7.3%) in circulation.

Loss of CSU hard drive prompts SB 1386 notifications
A California State University (CSU) system laptop hard drive containing the names, addresses and social security numbers of 23,000 students, employees and faculty at seven campuses disappeared in June, according to a report by Computerworld. The loss of such personally identifiable information of California residents caused CSU to inform those affected under provisions of the year-old SB 1386 law. CSU believes the hard drive was accidentally thrown away after an IT technician replaced it at the San Marcos campus in San Diego County.

Spyware an issue for SP2
Microsoft recommends XP users check their PCs for spyware prior to downloading SP2 because some spyware could cause computers to freeze up upon installation of the update, according to the Associated Press. Microsoft said users should use programs, such as Ad-Aware and SpySweeper, to scour computers for spyware.

Spyware, piracy bills vote today
The House of Representatives Judiciary committee will meet today to consider the Internet Spyware Prevention Act (ISPA) and the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act (PDEA). According to CNET News.com, "ISPA is designed to head off a more regulatory alternative loathed by Silicon Valley but backed by key politicians. PDEA has drawn fire from consumer groups because it would boost penalties for peer-to-peer piracy and increase federal police powers against Internet copyright infringement."

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