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NEWS - September 17, 2005

by Donna Buenaventura / September 17, 2005 6:05 AM PDT

Worm spoofs Google by modifiying HOSTS file

PandaLabs has recently registered the appearance of a worm called P2Load.A. This malware specimen has adware functions and its main aim is to spoof the most widely-used Internet browser worldwide, Google.

P2Load.A spreads via P2P networks, or to be more precise, the P2P programs Shareaza and Imesh. It does this by copying itself to the shared directory of these programs as an executable file called Knights of the Old Republic 2, referring to a computer game related to the Star Wars saga. When it is run, it displays an error message informing the user that a file does not exist and offering to download it. If this happens, the computer has been infected and the worm makes two main modifications: it modifies the start page, showing advertising; and spoofs the identity of the Internet browser Google.

To do this, the worm modified the HOSTS file on the computer so that when users try to access Google, they are redirected to a page that is exactly the same as Google, but not controlled by the company, which is hosted in a server in Germany. The page is an exact copy of Google and supports both the 17 languages of Google and redirects users even if they make a mistake when entering the address, such as 'wwwgoogle.com', 'www.gogle.com' or 'www.googel.com', and therefore users are not aware of the change.


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