This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Serbian Badman a Toothless Trojan?
Jun 12 2000 12:00 AM PDT

An old cracker tool dressed in new clothing made headlines and aroused controversy over the weekend.

On Friday morning the Washington Post and other outlets carried a colorful AP story by D. Ian Hopper profiling a small Washington-area security company, Network Security Technologies. Netsec had turned over to the Justice Department a list of 2,000 systems, many of them home PCs with always-on cable or DSL connections, that were compromised by software capable of setting up denial-of-service attacks. The insidious software, which Netsec dubbed the "Serbian Badman Trojan," infected systems after users tried to view what appeared to be a movie file.

MSNBC was among the several outlets that downplayed the danger. Quoting other security experts, MSNBC's Bob Sullivan identified the attack software as "BackdoorSubSeven," a known trojan horse that antivirus programs already detect and remove. Besides, Sullivan reported, the server from which the bogus movie file downloaded the trojan had been shut down. TechWeb's Barbara Darrow talked to both Netsec and antivirus vendors and in the end drew no firm conclusion as to whether the Serbian Badman is a danger or a dud.

More details emerged over the weekend and in this morning's stories. The Wall Street Journal led with experts pooh-poohing the danger, but gave the last word to Netsec's CEO. He said this trojan "has widely infected PCs in many countries around the world." We'll see today. - Keith Dawson

'Trojan Horse' Planted on 2,000 Computers
The Industry Standard

Hackers Had Access to Home Computers (AP)
Washington Post

'Video' Virus On the Loose

Latest Trojan Is a Big Deal, Or Maybe Not

Internet Scare Discounted by Experts (Reuters)
Yahoo News

CA: 'Trojan' Virus Poses No Immediate Threat

Security Experts Downplay Threat of 'Attack' Software
Wall Street Journal
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