Symantec spots odd malware designed to corrupt databases

The malware, concentrated in Iran, is specifically programmed to look for certain works written in Persian

Symantec had spotted another odd piece of malware that appears to be targeting Iran and is designed to meddle with SQL databases.

The company discovered the malware, called W32.Narilam, on Nov. 15 but on Friday published a more detailed writeup by Shunichi Imano. Narilam is rated as a "low risk" by the company, but according to a map, the majority of infections are concentrated in Iran, with a few in the U.K., the continental U.S. and the state of Alaska.

Interestingly, Narilam shares some similarities with Stuxnet, the malware targeted at Iran that disrupted its uranium refinement capabilities by interfering with industrial software that ran its centrifuges. Like Stuxnet, Narilam is also a worm, spreading through removable drives and network file shares, Imano wrote.

Once on a machine, it looks for Microsoft SQL databases. It then hunts for specific words in the SQL database -- some of which are in Persian, Iran's main language -- and replaces items in the database with random values or deletes certain fields.

Some of the words include "hesabjari," which means current account; "pasandaz," which means savings; and "asnad," which means financial bond, Imano wrote.

"The malware does not have any functionality to steal information from the infected system and appears to be programmed specifically to damage the data held within the targeted database," Imano wrote. "Given the types of objects that the threat searches for, the targeted databases seem to be related to ordering, accounting, or customer management systems belonging to corporations."

The types of databases sought by Narilam are unlikely to be employed by home users. But Narilam could be a headache for companies that use SQL databases but do not keep backups.

"The affected organization will likely suffer significant disruption and even financial loss while restoring the database," Imano wrote. "As the malware is aimed at sabotaging the affected database and does not make a copy of the original database first, those affected by this threat will have a long road to recovery ahead of them."

Stuxnet is widely believed to have been created by the U.S. and Israel with the intent of slowing down Iran's nuclear program. Since its discovery in June 2010, researchers have linked it to other malware including Duqu and Flame, indicating a long-running espionage and sabotage campaign that has prompted concern over escalating cyberconflict between nations.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwaresymantecintrusionExploits / vulnerabilitiesDesktop security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?