First 64-Bit Malware for Windows Appears

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-05-27 Print this article Print

The proof-of-concept threat is not spreading in the wild, and it only affects 64-bit Windows systems.

Symantec Security Response has revealed that it has analyzed the first 64-bit Windows attack code. The attack is a proof of concept with no payload. Named W64.Rugrat.3344 by Symantec, its very old-fashioned in technique. When executed it infects all 64-bit executable files, excluding .DLL files, in the directory from which it was executed, and all subdirectories, and then exits.

Rugrat will not execute on conventional 32-bit Windows systems nor will it infect 32-bit Windows executables. The worm is written in Intel Corp. 64-bit assembly language.

"Currently, there isnt a broad penetration of 64-bit systems. Most home and business systems deployed today are running on 32-bit platforms and are not affected by this threat," said Vincent Weafer, senior director of Symantec Security Response. "At this time, we are not expecting widespread copycats, since assembly code requires advanced technical knowledge."

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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