Virus Alert: How the Anna virus was created

She was made from a toolkitWhoever wrote the Anna virus didn't have to work very hard.

Every day there are hundreds of new viruses that fail to infect another user, often because of programming bugs. According to Trend Micro, Anna's author avoided all that heartbreak and simply used an existing virus toolkit available on the Internet. VBS Worm Generator (VBSWG) 1.50b is a standalone application that allows script kiddies, (malicious users with very little programming skills), to create their own successful viruses.

The US National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) states that VBSWG 1.50b is a tool that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It creates VBS worms that infect Windows systems with Microsoft VB5 runtimes or Windows Scripting Host 5.0. This includes users of Windows 95 SE, 98, and 98 SE.

According to Susan Orbuch, director of Communications for Trend Micro, the firm has seen about half a dozen other viruses created from this same toolkit. She said the author of the Anna virus is probably a Dutch script kiddie who goes by the name "OnTheFly". If the day is 26 January, the Anna virus will attempt to connect to a Dutch computer Web site called Dynabyte.

The toolkit, however, takes some of the fun out of writing one's own virus. Using the pop-up interface, anyone with malicious intent can type in a name, an author, and an attachment. One can also specify how the virus is to spread, either by email attachments sent via Outlook or via a direct connection to mIRC or Pirch.

The toolkit also allows a script kiddie to specify up to four payloads (in other words, what the virus/worm will do on an infected computer). These payloads may launch immediately with activation of the virus, or they may lie dormant until a specificed "trigger date".

Having trouble with Anna? Get your fix here

Running and updating anti-virus software is a complete pain, which is why most users don't bother. Guy Kewney says we know that anybody with a brick heavy enough to break our windows could get into our houses; and that it would cost a fortune to make the house significantly more secure. So we take refuge in statistics -- it's not likely to happen, really; so we'll hope it doesn't. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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