The Channel logo


By | John Leyden 18th June 2007 14:53

Malware targets computer forensics tool

WinHex spell fails to take

Virus writers have created a proof-of-concept virus that targets a widely-used computer forensics tool.

Vred-A infects WinHex scripts, preventing these additions to forensics and data recovery tools from doing anything except infecting other scripts. The virus has not been seen in the wild, and probably never will be.

Only Inspector Clouseau-style levels of incompetency would permit a forensics examiner to infect a system he was working on with the virus. WinHex shows a warning before running any script, so the virus can not spread without a user's consent.

Interest in the malware is confined to its curiosity value.

Proof-of-concept viruses can be thought of as an attempt by malware authors to show off to their peers or experiment with what might be possible with their adversaries in the anti-virus community. New platforms, such as smart phones, PDAs, or specialist platforms are the usual targets for attack.

Attempts to unpick computer security tools through this process are rare but not unprecedented. Last year, VXers created a proof-of-concept virus that targeted IDA (Interactive Disassembler Pro), a widely used tool that helps anti-virus researchers understand the behaviour of malware samples. ®

comment icon Read 1 comment on this article alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


Suit-and-tie-wearing man tries to meditate, take deep breaths in faux yoga pose. Photo by Shutterstock
Emotional intelligence, not tech skills, is the way to woo suits
League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe