An Austrian hacker has earned the dubious distinction of writing what are thought to be the first known viruses for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. Written in July, the viruses take advantage of a new command shell, code-named Monad, that is included in the Windows Vista beta code.
The viruses were published last month in a virus-writing tutorial written for an underground hacker group calling itself the Ready Ranger Liberation Front, and take advantage of security vulnerabilities in the new command shell. Unlike the traditional Windows graphical user interface, which relies heavily on the mouse for navigation, command shells allow users to employ powerful text-based commands, much as Windows' predecessor, DOS, did.
Who Done It
The viruses were written by a hacker calling himself "Second Part To Hell," and published on July 21, just days after Monad was publicly released by Microsoft, according to Mikko Hypp
Because of its sophistication, the new command shell offers new opportunities for hackers, Second Part To Hell wrote in the tutorial, a copy of which was obtained by the IDG News Service. "Monad will be like Linux's BASH (Bourne Again Shell)--that means a great number of commands and functions," he wrote. "We will be able to make as huge and complex scripts as we do in Linux."
F-Secure has named the virus family Danom (Monad in reverse). Having examined the code, Hypp
Most security experts had not expected to see a Windows Vista virus so soon, Hypp
Still, Danom's release does raise questions about whether Microsoft should enable the Monad shell by default in Windows Vista.
Because Monad's scripting capabilities will be used by only advanced users, Hypp
Microsoft "got burned" in including similar software, called Windows Script Host, by default in its Windows 2000 operating system, he says. "Since it was on the system, all the virus writers were exploiting it," he says.
Microsoft was unable to comment on this story at press time.