If you've seen any of the “Terminator” movies, you might remember that
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a deadly T-800 assassin robot. In “Terminator 2,”
there's an even more deadly robot called the T-1000. So, when you hear about a
virus called the T9000, you know it has to be bad.
Unlike the terminators, however, which announce themselves by leaving a
trail of bodies and blowing up half of Los Angeles, the T9000's danger is that
you don't even know it's there. According to security researchers at Palo Alto
Networks, it sits quietly on your computer stealing your information.
While the T9000 steals data from the usual places, such as documents and
Web history, it goes a bit further. For example, it can take screenshots of
what you're doing on your computer, steal encrypted data, and is especially
good at stealing information from Skype. It actually records and stores audio
and video from you Skype conversations.
While T9000 was originally targeted at companies and high-profile
individuals, it's spreading fast because it works on any computer and doesn't
take much to install. In fact, it won't even trip most security software.
Palo Alto Networks found that T9000
checks for 24 popular security software programs and adjusts itself to be
invisible to that program. In fact, it installs in stages and pauses at every
stage to make sure it isn't being monitored by security software or security