We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
79,864 News Articles

Microsoft removes 1m worms from gaming PCs

Password-stealing malware on the up

Microsoft has revealed that it removed nearly 1 million samples of a particularly virulent password-stealing worm in the first half of February. The company's Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) rooted out more than 981,000 copies of a family of programs called Win32/Taterf, best known for stealing usernames and passwords for games such as World of Warcraft, Legend of Mir and Gamania.

Taterf has been especially widespread for months now. Microsoft removed more than 700,000 copies of it in one day alone last year. The worm is a mutated version of another password stealer, known as Win32/Frethog - Microsoft has killed nearly 317,000 copies of Frethog this month.

Online passwords are a popular target because they can be turned to cash, often in untraceable ways. The criminals use the hacked accounts to steal characters and virtual gold or other treasures, which are then sold to fans who pay real-world cash.

Although China has traditionally been the top spot for password-stealing infections, that seems to be changing, Microsoft said in a blog posting. In the first week of February, the top three countries, ranked by number of Taterf infections, were the US, Taiwan and Korea, respectively.

The MSRT is available free of charge to Windows users, and it gets monthly updates from Microsoft. Because it is so widely used, it can have a major effect on any piece of malware. MSRT is credited with crushing the notorious Storm worm in 2007.

This month Microsoft added MSRT detection for another notorious botnet, called Srizbi. Total number of Srizbi infections removed since the update: 38,697.

Microsoft updates Windows to kill Srizbi


IDG UK Sites

Nokia Lumia 530 review: £60 smartphone offers decent build and performance, awful screen and...

IDG UK Sites

Apps watch: What the NFL can teach UK sports such as cricket and rugby

IDG UK Sites

Game of Thrones VFX work wins Emmy for Rodeo FX

IDG UK Sites

How to win iTunes Festival 2014 tickets: See Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, Kylie &...