Findings by the Norman malware detection team in Oslo revealed a new Trojan-horse virus was transmitted through vulnerability in Firefox versions 3.5 and 3.6, enabling the attacker to have access to infected computers. A Trojan is a malicious software (malware) that allows unauthorized access to a user's computer, most often to steal secrets such as passwords and financial information.
Mr. Walton, who studied virus samples of Trojan horses in 2008 that were targeting Tibetan activists, said yesterday's virus originated from Taiwan, but was probably used a “stepping stone” from mainland China.
He added that the virus was probably meant only to send a signal because it did not deface the website. By doing that, he said, the hacker emphasized that it wanted to “harvest the social graph of people using the website.”
The Norwegian Nobel Institute said it is contemplating filing charges with Oslo police authorities within the next few days, but declined to comment on experts’ speculation that the attack may have emanated from China.
“We cannot verify [the source] anyhow,” said Dag Kühle-Gotovac, Norwegian Nobel Institute head of administration. “Our main concern is all the people that were affected all around the world.”
The Norwegian National Security Authority has been briefed on the incident, but is currently only following the situation, said Kjetil Berge Veire, the authority’s spokesman.