Windows and Linux united by a virus
Rome – The security company Kaspersky has analyzed the code of a virus capable of infecting both Windows and Linux. It is not the first code to target both operating systems – the progenitor, Winux, dates back to 2001 – but it is one of the very few that can do so.
Baptized Bi.a, the virus it was written in assembler language and uses infection mechanisms similar to those of older MS-DOS viruses. Kaspersky claims that it is all about code proof-of-concept that is written for demonstration purposes, and that its danger is limited: Bi.a can infect, in a reversible way, only the files that are in the same folder from which the virus was launched.
Bi.a is not currently in circulation, however experts say its code could form the basis for most prolific and harmful cross-platform viruses . A fear also shared by Swa Frantzen, of the SANS Internet Storm Center, who in this post argues how in the future, cross-platform viruses are destined to grow in number . Frantzen prophesies the advent of malware capable of spreading across all major platforms, and for this reason invites Linux, Unix and Mac OS X users “not to think that their favorite computer is invulnerable to the threat of viruses” and to adopt as of now an antivirus software.
“All general purpose operating systems – wrote the SANS Institute expert – are potentially exposed to the threat of viruses”.
Over the weekend, another threat was also discovered that can also be defined, albeit in a more restrictive sense, cross-platform: it is Letum.A , a worm that uses the MS.NET Framework’s Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) to spread to both Windows PCs and Windows Mobile devices. A similar but less sophisticated worm was discovered in late February.