New worm takes aim at Harry Potter

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - Malicious code writers are getting more clever every day, with a new worm marking its individuality by infecting computers with the message "Harry Potter is dead".

The worm, which must be transferred via a USB drive, comes on the heels of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment in the long-running wizard series.  Author JK Rowling has said that one of the characters will die, leaving fans tepidly assuming it might be Harry.

The new worm, however, is not a significantly threatening one.  In addition to the difficult means of transfer, it doesn't do that much damage.  It doesn't "steal any system information, diddle with your data, or own your box -- it just makes system changes such that your system becomes largely unusable," said McAfee researcher Allysa Myers in a blog posting.

The worm will open a Word document that says "Harry Potter is dead."  After the files on the USB drive have infected the PC, users are also shown a text file that read, "read and repent; the end is near; repent from your evil ways O Ye folks; lest you burn in hell... JK Rowling especially."

Last week, Panda Labs uncovered a new Trojan virus that is equally creative.  It actually uses Microsoft's Windows text reader to speak to the user and tell him, "Your system files have been deleted.  Sorry."