By Andrew Brandt
In the world of first-person shooter games, getting the most headshots – hits on the opponent which instantly take the opponent’s avatar out of the game — is a prized goal. The headshot is the quickest way to dispatch a foe in virtually every shooter, which is why the file name of a malware sample, currently in circulation, stood out.
The file, yogetheadshot.php.exe (VT), is a dropper, a glorified bucket designed to tip over and spill other malware all over a PC. But where other droppers might leave behind a handful of payloads, this one utterly decimated a testbed PC with a malware headshot — an unusually overt infection that, defying conventional wisdom about malware infections, took no apparent effort to mask its behavior or remain low key.
The file, extracted from network traffic recorded while a test system got manhandled by a drive-by download site, was only one of several executable payloads that originated from the same domain hosting the drive-by.
But this sole dropper was more than capable of delivering the terminal blow to a middle aged Windows XP box. We first saw it appear on September 7th, but it has become more widespread since then.
(Update, 22 Sept.: Here’s a video that shows what happens on a system when someone executes this dropper. The dropper is near the upper-left corner of the screen. The rest of the screen is taken up with Process Explorer, which lets you see just how many payloads the dropper delivers.)