By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
July 02, 2008
Writers of a password-stealing Trojan horse program have found that a
little patience can lead to a lot of infections.
They have managed to infect hundreds of thousands of computers --
including more than 14,000 within one unnamed global hotel chain -- by
waiting for system administrators to log onto infected PCs and then
using a Microsoft administration tool to spread their malicious software
throughout the network.
The criminals behind the Coreflood Trojan are using the software to
steal banking and brokerage account usernames and passwords. They've
amassed a 50GB database of this information from the machines they've
infected, according to Joe Stewart, director of malware research with
security vendor SecureWorks.
"They've been able to spread throughout entire enterprises," he said.
"That's something you rarely see these days."
Since Microsoft shipped its Windows XP Service Pack 2 software with its
locked-down security features, hackers have had a hard time finding ways
to spread malicious software throughout corporate networks. Widespread
worm or virus outbreaks soon dropped off after the software's August
But the Coreflood hackers have been successful, thanks in part to a
Microsoft program called PsExec , which was written to help system
administrators run legitimate software on computers across their
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