Star Wars worm infects gamers

Gamers looking for a free Star Wars download may unwittingly infect their PC with a new worm that produces rogue Google results, PandaLabs has announced.

The worm, known as P2Load.A, disguises itself as an executable file called Knights of the Old Republic 2, referring to a computer game related to the Star Wars saga, and is spreading via P2P programs Shareaza and Imesh.

When the file is run an error message appears informing the user that a file does not exist and offering to download it. Once installed the worm modifies the HOSTS file and redirects users to a spoof of the Google homepage whenever they type in the search engine’s address – even if they make a mistake, such as “www.gogle.com”. The rogue page authored by hackers lists fake advertising links to profitable websites and supports all 17 languages of Google.

Director of PandaLabs, Luis Corrons, has said that the hackers may have been paid by companies to boost the number of visitors to their sites.

‘[The worm’s] aims are none other than to increase visits to the pages linked by the creator of this malware or earn an income from companies that want to appear in the first few results, he said, ‘The motivation of the author of this malware is purely financial.’

However, experts are concerned that the nature of the worm’s code means that it could spoof other popular websites or be modified for phishing, by simply changing the content of the file downloaded.

For more information or for advice on disinfecting your system click here.

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