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September 17, 2005

Computer worm unleashes Koran

( A new Trojan has surfaced that targets Windows-powered PCs and displays a message from the Koran if it determines that a pornographic Web site is being accessed.

Called Yusufali.a by some security firms, and Cager.a by Trend Micro, the Trojan monitors a browser's title bar once a system is infected with the malware.

If a word in the URL matches one of the worm's trigger words, the site's window is minimized and a Koran quote pops up.

"Yusufali: Know, therefore, that there is no God but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and ye dwell in your homes," the message reads.

New Twist
Although infections with the new Trojan have been reported mainly in Iran, the malware has received global attention for its unusual nature. Rather than trying to lure victims into parting with their money or trick them into damaging their systems, Yusufali.a is more intent on preaching a message of morality.

"It's quirky and very different from what we usually see," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos. "It's certainly a change from the monotony of worms designed to steal from you."

While the Trojan is not considered much of a threat, it could inspire imitators bent on spreading a religious or political message through such strong-arm tactics.

"This Trojan writer just wants to clean up the Internet, which is unique for a worm creator," noted Cluley. "But despite what they might see as the best of intentions, this isn't the way to do it."

Clean Air
Because the Trojan is adept at blocking several porn sites, Cluley believes that some companies or individuals might be tempted to download the Trojan knowingly. However, he advises against such a strategy.

"There are legitimate Web-filtering programs that let you control which sites your employees or your kids visit," said Cluley. "The idea of putting controls into the hands of a Trojan is a bad one."

Sent by Darius Kadivar

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