Thursday, February 18, 2010

Microsoft Confirms Alureon Rootkit To Blame For BSODs

Microsoft has confirmed that a rootkit is responsible for a recent outcropping of blue screens of death (BSODs) currently occurring with Windows XP. The BSODs occurred following a recent update intended to fix a 17-year old security vulnerability in the virtual DOS machine.

According to a post on Microsoft's Security Response Center blog, all of the affected systems were infected with the Alureon rootkit. The BSODs and subsequent restarts are the result of modifications the Alureon rootkit makes to Windows Kernel binaries, which places affected systems in an unstable state.

The Microsoft Security Response Team worked with the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) on several systems that were delivered to the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond last week. Using these systems the two teams confirmed that all of the affected systems had the Alureon Rootkit installed.

Given the ability of rootkits to hide and the seriousness of the malware that compromised these systems Microsoft suggests that users back up important files and completely restore the system from a cleanly formatted disk. In many cases the company found that customers could not confirm removal of the Alureon rootkit using their chosen anti-virus/anti-malware software. Therefore it might be best that anyone feeling they are infected go ahead and back-up, format and start fresh!

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