Sysbug Trojan jumps on sexual bandwagon

Emails claiming to contain pictures of naked gymnastics may actually contain a Trojan, antivirus companies are warning

A new Trojan is doing the rounds, using the promise of pornographic pictures in an attempt to take over a user's PC. Sysbug, which comes with the subject line of 'Re[2] Mary', pretends to be a personal email from a friend called James who has attached photographic evidence of a recent tryst.

Anyone foolish enough to open the attachment will not find what they are looking for, however, as it actually contains a malicious program that will allow their PC to be taken over.

Security firm Sophos said on Tuesday that a great many copies of the message have been circulating by email. So far, Sophos has received numerous reports of companies blocking the message at their email gateway, but little evidence so far of PCs being compromised.

"There's so much sordid stuff of this nature already on the Internet that many users may actually think this is a piece of spam and just ignore it," explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Even though Sysbug is unlikely to become a major security threat, IT managers need to be alert as any one of their staff could make the mistake of opening the attachment.

Kevin Hogan from Symantec's Security Response team told ZDNet UK that the Trojan is unlikely to spread much further because it does not self-replicate: "I don't see it getting worse because it relies on manual spamming -- unless they re-spam it," he said.

Cluley recommends that companies work on user awareness of these risks, and also implement a combined anti-spam and antivirus product at their gateway.

Sysbug comes just months after another virus that claimed to be compromising pictures of Hollywood star Julia Roberts. It is further evidence that the people behind them think they are onto a winner by offering email users a taste of a saucy image.

"Ever since the halcyon days of the Anna Kornikova worm, virus writers have realised that a good pair of legs can get you into anywhere," Cluley said.