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Malware by numbers: online virus creation tool spotted
By John Leyden
Posted: 04/03/2002 at 12:08 GMT

The world's first online virus generator has surfaced - but there's no need to get too 
alarmed, antivirus experts say.

The Instant Macro-Virus Maker can be used to create macro viruses and dispenses with 
the need for virus writers to download virus creation toolkits.

Wannabe click kiddies need only visit the site which has both Romanian and English 
versions, and follow a few simple instructions.

MI_pirat, the site's author, boasts that no programming skills or download are needed 
to create a virus using the toolkit.

"Choose from the options (few, I know, but it's the first edition) and then copy/paste 
the generated code into a Word (97...2000 etc.) module named after the virus. 
Enjoy!!!" he adds.

The site is published on a public, free server (which hasn't yet being removed) and 
also exposes known dangerous viruses, and the author's own virus library.

Sofwin, the Romanian anti-virus firm which first reported the tool, warns that the 
author could develop his tool beyond relatively innocuous macro viruses so that it can 
be used to generate more virulent malware. But other AV firms are less concerned.

Eric Chien, chief researcher at Symantec's Anti-Virus Research Lab, said the toolkit 
is nothing to get too worried about.

"Macro viruses are getting close to being a thing of the past. The last major outbreak 
of a macro virus was Melissa," Chien said. "This [toolkit] generates the simplest of 
macro viruses and isn't a worm, which can spread by email or network attachments."

Chien added that any virus created by the toolkit would be automatically detected 
using heuristic (automatic) detection features found in the AV scanners of most major 

Some AV vendors, like Sophos, omit the use of heuristics (which they believe can lead 
to false positives) but Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said it 
is a trivial task to update any anti-virus product to detect any virus generated with 
the kit.

"It's very much a storm in a teacup," he told us.

Virus writing toolkits have been used to create several virulent viruses of late - 
including the infamous Anna Kournikova worm - and we hope the ISP hosting the site 
pulls the plug at the earliest opportunity. 

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