Symantec has reported a new malware for Mac called OSX.Crisis. Crisis malware has functionality to spread to four different environments: Mac, Windows, virtual machines, and Windows Mobile, a statement issued by the company said.
It is an advanced threat not only in function, but also in the way it spreads. The threat uses three methods to spread itself: one is to copy itself and an
autorun.inf file to a removable disk drive, another is to sneak onto a VMware virtual machine, and the final method is to drop modules onto a Windows Mobile device.
Specifically in virtual environments, the threat searches for a VMware virtual machine image on the compromised computer and, if it finds an image, it mounts the image and then copies itself onto the image by using a VMware Player tool, the statement said.
The release said that it does not use vulnerability in the VMware software itself. It takes advantage of an attribute of all virtualization software: namely that the virtual machine is simply a file or series of files on the disk of the host machine. These files can usually be directly manipulated or mounted, even when the virtual machine is not running as is the case above.
“This may be the first malware that attempts to spread onto a virtual machine,” said Shantanu Ghosh, vice president and managing director, India product operations, Symantec.
“Many threats will terminate themselves when they find a virtual machine monitoring application, such as VMware, to avoid being analyzed, so this may be the next leap forward for malware authors,” he said.