Figure 8.8: A virus-construction kit in .NET

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Figure 8.8: A virus-construction kit
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Once the virus has been created, the creator distributes it out into the wild. This can be done anonymously with email to many addressees, or it can be done to known people. In any event, disseminating a virus into the wild generally isn t much of a problem. DCN thought they protected their LAN against viruses at the source. Every incoming email was scanned with quality antivirus software, so DCN was
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confident that they would catch any malware entering their LAN. What they didn t consider was PDAs bringing in the malware.
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Infection by a Pocket PC
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There is a belief that PDAs really can t bring malware into the enterprise because many Pocket PCs don t actually save Word documents and other files in their native format. People think any virus that is attached would be wiped out by the format change. Let s look at that. The file tester.doc contains a Word-macro virus created by a free online virus-creation kit. To prove it is an infected file, I ll scan it with Symantec Antivirus. Figure 8.9 shows the results of this scan.
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Figure 8.9: Symantec Antivirus analyzing a newly created Word macro, tester.doc
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Now I take this file and synch it with a Pocket PC. I simply take tester.doc and place it into the ActiveSync file-sharing folder. By placing the file into this folder, it will be placed onto the Pocket PC automatically. Once on the Pocket PC, the file can be copied to any other device. When this is done, I check to see if the change to the file format actually removed the infection. I ll test this by copying the synched tester.doc file to a computer that has Symantec Antivirus installed and real-time scanning enabled. If the file is no longer infected, then it could be copied over without incident. If the Pocket PC didn t change the format, then Symantec s real-time scanning would identify tester.doc as infected. Figure 8.10 shows the results. Figure 8.10 shows that simply synching or copying the infected file to the Pocket PC doesn t change the format enough to remove the virus. If users are synching their Pocket PCs to PCs that do not have significant protection, then a Pocket PC can easily be a vehicle to bring infected files into the enterprise. This is a very serious problem that enterprises need to address. Now let s look at a slightly different scenario. What happens if the infected file is opened on the Pocket PC before it s transferred to the PC I ll try simply opening the file and closing it without editing it. Figure 8.11 shows tester.doc being opened on the Pocket PC.
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Figure 8.10: An infected file being copied from a Pocket PC to a PC
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Figure 8.11: Infected Word document being opened on the Pocket PC
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Upon transferring the document to the PC, has the format changed The answer is no. The format hasn t changed and the file is still infected. The Pocket PC still transferred malware to the PC, even after the infected file was opened on the Pocket PC. Let s try one more scenario. The infected tester.doc file was once again synched to the Pocket PC, but this time it was edited on the Pocket PC and the changes were saved (Figure 8.12).
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Figure 8.12: Infected Word file being edited on the Pocket PC
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When I copied tester.doc back to the PC, it was no longer infected. By editing and saving the file on the Pocket PC, the format was changed to such a degree that the macro virus was no longer a threat. In another quick test, the infected tester.doc file was copied and pasted on the same Pocket PC. That copied file was still infected. Keep in mind that this testing was done with one Word-macro virus. Results may vary depending upon the type of file and the specific type of malware. To recap, the methods in which malware can be transmitted to the enterprise from a Pocket PC include the following:
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The infected file is synched to the Pocket PC from one computer and copied from the Pocket PC to another computer. The infected file is synched to the Pocket PC. While on the Pocket PC, the file is viewed. The file is then copied or synched to a PC. The infected file is synched to the Pocket PC. While on the Pocket PC, the infected file is copied. Both copies would contain malware and would remain infected upon transfer from the Pocket PC to a PC.
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