The latest mass-mailing worm, Atak, hides by going to sleep when it suspects that antivirus software is trying to detect it.
Atak was first discovered Monday. Although antivirus companies do not expect it to cause much damage, they say it will be a nuisance because it can
generate a large amount of spam.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for antivirus company Sophos, said authors of malicious software generally try to make the job of
antivirus researchers as difficult as possible by adding confusing code and using evasion techniques.
"Atak tries to tell when someone is stepping through the code to analyze whether it is a virus or not. Often, a virus will contain lots of code that
is designed to make it more complicated for (antivirus) companies to write the detections," Cluley said.
Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research at Finnish company F-Secure, said that although it is common practice for virus writers to protect
their malware, this worm is exceptional.
"It is standard for worms to have layers of encryption--or armoring--to keep out snoopers, but this goes way beyond that. It tries actively to detect
if it is being analyzed by antivirus research tools. If it thinks it is being analyzed, it stops running and shuts down," Hypponen said.
Atak is not thought to be a serious threat. But because of recent detection and in-built protection, the worm's full functionality has not yet been
fully analyzed. However, it is known that the worm contains text that seems to threaten other well-known worms and viruses, such as MyDoom, Bagle and
. Hypponen said there is a possibility that Atak will try to seek out and destroy "rival" worms.
"We haven't been able to figure out if Atak tries to disable some of these viruses," he said. "The message implies it does contain some code that
attacks other viruses."
This article just shows you how destructive the future of internet viruses will be. The hackers technology is rapidly growing.