Security Bytes: When spyware is really a PUP

Another acronym added to the lexicon; new malware deletes pirated files, infects cell phones and steals bank data.

Latest security acronym just a young PUP Already drowning in a sea of security acronyms? Make way for one more. Security vendors are now throwing around the term "PUP" or potentially unwanted programs -- looks like it's meant to be a more politically correct way of labeling applications many of us would classify as spyware. In a quarterly report released Monday, McAfee's AVERT said PUPs were nuisance programs -- though not malicious...

-- that users requested be removed from their systems. The company identified such programs as: Adware-BB, Adware-DFC, Adware-Gator, Adware-Rblast, Adware-180 SearchAssist, Adware-Searchcentrix, Downloader-KL, Downloader-UI and IPSentry. McAfee said that programs such as Downloader-KL and Downloader-UL were created by someone other than the adware vendor and are both "part of a trend whereby individuals are misusing adware to generate revenue for themselves at the expense of the adware vendor or the advertisers that ultimately fund the adware vendor." An interesting distinction.

Worm disables or deletes pirated entertainment files
A new Windows peer-to-peer worm is targeting movie and music pirates, according to Lynnfield, Mass.-based Sophos Antivirus. Nopir-B promises to make copies of commercial DVDs, but instead attempts to disable system utilities and delete MP3 movie files and .com programs on the infected PC. "The Nopir-B worm is designed to inflict malicious damage on people's Windows computers and targets those who may be involved in piracy, however the worm fails to decipher between the true pirates and those who may have obtained MP3 files legally," Gregg Mastoras, senior security analyst at Sophos, said in a statement. Sophos recommends computer users ensure their antivirus software is up to date.

And the Symbian Trojans just keep on coming
F-Secure Corp. reports that AV vendors have seen examples of 71 new Symbian Trojans based on the Skull-D Trojan. The company says users have no need to worry though because the Trojans aren't in the wild and "the only way to be infected is to download software from illegal sites, which one cannot do by accident." The Trojans are worth noting; however, as F-Secure notes the onslaught of variants suggests that a program has been created to generate the variants.

Bancos Trojan targets banking info
PandaLabs has detected a new Trojan it identifies as Bancos-FC and said it is programmed to steal data related to users' bank accounts and send them to hackers who can then use them fraudulently. Bancos-FC can infect users via Internet downloads, e-mail, P2P networks and storage devices, but can really only impact dial-up users, according to PandaLabs: "If the connection is across a local area network or broadband, Bancos.FC cannot take its intended action, although it does still affect the use of Internet Explorer."

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