10k Aussie PCs hit by Windows Ramnit botnet

New virus disables popular antivirus and ditches flash drive copying.

Dr Web, the Russian antivirus firm that raised alarm over Flashback’s Mac malware outbreak, claims over 10,000 Australian Windows users have been infected by a single botnet using a new variant of the old Ramnit virus.

Dr Web has labelled the virus “Win32.Rmnet.16”, belonging to the same family as Win32.Rmnet.12, which in April had allegedly infected over one million Windows computers worldwide.

The company says it is monitoring the progress of one of the botnets associated with the latest variant, claiming that the UK represents 55 per cent of infections across the globe while Australia comes in second, with 40 per cent.

UK infections focus on London, accounting for 5,747 infections, while Sydney (3,120), Melbourne (2,670), Brisbane (2,320), Perth (1,481) and Adelaide (1,176) make up the bulk of city-specific infection counts.

Rmnet is more commonly known as Ramnit, which Symantec in February reported as contributing to infections of less than 50. McAfee this week updated its definition for the virus, but also considered its risk to home and corporate users as low.

The latest variant of the virus carries many of the same payload traits as its predecessor, such as the ability to modify and encrypt boot records, however, in addition to taking screenshots, it can now pilfer passwords stored by “popular” FTP clients.

CSO Australia has contacted Dr Web to find out which antivirus vendors are affected by the virus but did not have a response at the time of publishing.

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