The Duqu Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that hit the wild in Europe this week is not a character in the latest Star Wars movie. While it sounds like a George Lucas inspired character duqu comes from the ~DQ prefix that researchers noticed this previously unknown malware was adding to files it creates when it was discovered. I am sure Dairy Queen is happy with their choice. Joking aside this virus is no laughing matter. It seems to have been written by the authors of or with the benefit of the Stuxnet source code. Stuxnet is the virus that was believed to have setback the Iranian nuclear program last year. It’s smaller and appears to be designed to spy on infected computers with a combination of a key stroke logger, a data siphon and remove itself after eluding detection for 36 days.
A new breed of threat
One disconcerting aspect of this particular Trojan is that one of the drivers in a variant used a signed certificate of a known organization in Taiwan. That means that a windows machine will treat that driver as a legitimate driver, just like one you’d download to access a new hardware device on your Windows PC. Luckily the certificate has been revoked. This particular malware mask’s it’s presence on the infected machine quite well providing a challenge to detect.
What can you do to protect yourself?
All of the best practices that apply to information security will help you avoid Duqu. This includes:
- Keeping your critical components up to date.
- Cautious web surfing and Email habits.
- Avoid public charging kiosks.
- Avoid flash drives from unknown sources.
Can we prevent this?
Seeing as the machines that were infected with this Trojan were hit when it was “Zero-Day” it is prudent to consider what other means may have prevented the infection. If it ends up that this virus communicates with hosts in remote countries that a security solution I recently proposed would prevent the infection from transferring or downloading any information rendering it useless.
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