Security issues continue to plague ISPs with the onset of network-aware viruses, according to IT security publisher, Shake. In a recently released report, Shake alleges that over 1400 PCs have been compromised by the Trojan, Back Orifice.
Shake's study on the impact of Back Orifice upon ISPs, including the extent of the infiltration, paints a grim picture. According to Simon Johnson of Shake, the survey of 92 ISPs exposed a real vulnerability. "1400 infected computers were found, yet only 4 per cent of ISPs warned their users about the threat of Back Orifice." The survey stresses that ISPs should be firewalling their systems, or at least educating their users.
Hackers are attaching Back Orifice to programs via ISPs. Although not harmful in itself, it allows a window of opportunity for hackers to obtain passwords and user names, consequently giving them access to any information on a PC and the ability to transfer files to and from a PC.
Johnson says that Trojan systems have become so sophisticated that a strain called NetBus can allow the hacker to hear what is going on in the room a computer is set up in, through its microphone.
Norman Data Defence Systems (NDDS) marketing manager Adam Sorensen, says that users are complaining about the illicit use of their Internet time, which is one of the few indications that the Trojan is even present and being utilised. Once installed on the PC, Back Orifice hides itself in the user's operating system and encrypts all communication between the hacker and the client, thus avoiding detection.
According to Sorensen, a particular ISP has had the police involved and some culprits arrested but Back Orifice continues to be prevalent in the system.
Norman Data Defence Systems provides a solution called Virus Control V4.50 (NVC) that uses a special utility to scan for the virus and then erases it from the computer.
NDDS has partnered with an ISP to counter Back Orifice by developing a link from the ISP to a Web site that offers information on Back Orifice and the option to download a trial version of NVC.
With the release of Shake's survey has come the realisation by some ISPs that viruses need to be counteracted and Sorensen is using the exercise as a marketing strategy that he hopes will reach 20,000 users.