As the malware known as Flame has shown, hacking attacks are so sophisticated nowadays that it can be nearly impossible to detect whether your computer has been compromised.
Unless it’s malicious software called Trojan.Milicenso.
The malware isn’t new. It was first spotted in the wild in 2010 and has spread to the U.S., India, Europe and South America, according to Symantec, the security firm.
It’s designed to serve unwanted advertisements on victims’ computers. But in the past two weeks, it has been doing something unexpected — forcing infected computers to print out endless streams of gibberish, for no apparent reason. The print jobs go until the paper runs out, a “printer bomb” that Symantec describes in a new blog post.
Perhaps most interesting is that the printer freak-out is likely an unintended side effect, a mistake of programming rather than the attackers’ original intent, according to Symantec. Such a goof is the equivalent of having a marching-band welcome to announce its presence on victims’ computers, in what’s supposed to be a stealthy attack.
The whole episode could almost be funny, if not for the non-eco-friendliness of the malware, plus the fact that it means we’ll have to change the toner cartridge, again.