Thursday, February 7, 2008

"Life Owner" Will Doom Us All!!!

"Life Owner" will take over all of our lives and get all of our information off of our PC's!

Uhhh, no? I received an email today from a friend which warned me of the hacker "Lifeowner" and how he will take over my PC if I open a power point presentation in an email. This is what the email said:

Anyone-using Internet mail such as Yahoo , Hotmail, AOL and so on.
This information arrived this morning, Direct from both Microsoft and Norton.
Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet.
You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail with a Power Point presentation " Life is Beautiful"
If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, and delete it immediately. If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying:

"It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful."

Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, And the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password. This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the anti virus software's are not capable of destroying it. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself "lifeowner".

Okay, so the first thing I think about when I see things like this is; "Uhhh, I'm on Linux. That makes me protected, and you stupid." Second, with a quick Google search, I verified that my instinct was correct. This is a large, funny, hoax. Nothing more. It seems that it has been in circulation for quite a while, (2002(1)) and if you think about it, it should never have gotten so far. For the "attachment" to do what it claims it does, it would have to be a program, a *.exe file, not a powerpoint presentation. It just can't be done. So, for all those people out there, this email is a Hoax, there is no danger, and you can stop forwarding that stupid message. QED.

Further Reading.


Sam Mason said...

Just found your post after getting the same message today. I'm also on Linux and the first thing that came to mind was to do a search!

Powerpoint presentations can actually do bad things to your computer. The easiest example would be to include some VB code in a macro that did the business. The second option would be to exploit a bug in powerpoint itself and get into your system that way. Both of these would require opening said presentation and the first even to say yes to running macros.

Basically, identity based access control (IBAC) is always going to be vulnerable to this sort of thing. Linux uses basically the same scheme as Windows here (i.e. each principle's access to an object is determined by their current userid) it's just that programs are a little better behaved and hence less vulnerable. There are various schemes known to the industry that fix this problem but they're going to take a while to get out. Object Capability Systems being my favourite for the past few years.


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