Miscreants have disguised Trojan horse malware under the guise of a Windows 7 compatibility checker.
The malware comes as a zip-based attachment to email messages supposed offering "help" on upgrading Windows boxes. But this "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Setup" assistant offers only a Trojan, instead of the promised compatibility checking tool.
Windows users who open and run the application end up with systems compromised with a backdoor that allows hackers to insert other viruses and spyware. The hackers behind the attack get to pimp out these compromised systems to other miscreants, earning illicit affiliate income in the process.
Romanian anti-virus firm BitDefender identifies the malware at the centre of the attack as Tojan-Generic-3783603.
The main lessons from the attack are that the contents of unsolicited messages are best ignored and, secondly, that virus writers are always trying out new social engineering tricks to dupe the unwary. For example, two weeks ago BitDefender warned of a Windows Trojan that posed as an iTunes update for the iPad.
The threat, once again promoted by spam email, attempted to dupe marks into downloading the latest version of iTunes software onto their PCs as a preliminary step towards supposedly updating their iPad software. The iPad-themed attack had no security implications for Apple’s device or Mac users but did pose a security threat for Windows folks daft enough to follow advice contained in unsolicited email messages