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Monday, December 04, 2006

New Trojan Blocks Porn Sites

CAIRO, September 8

A new program that is making the rounds in the Internet appears to be on a moral mission by blocking porn Web sites, security research firm Sophos said on its Web site.

Instead of snooping for sensitive financial information or secretly taking control of an infected computer, the new program, called Yusufali-A, monitors Web surfing habits.

It watches which Web sites Windows users visit by examining the browser's title bar.

If it detects a word such as "xxx" or "sex" it minimizes the activated window and pops up a message with a verse from the Noble Qur'an in Arabic, English and Persian.

If the offending site is not closed, a button labeled "For Exit Click Here" will appear.

Moving the mouse to that box will lock it in and the program displays a message reading "Oh! NO i'm in the Cage" and force the computer to log-out.

Sophos, a world leader in computer security for 20 years, said it first detected the new program in Iran on September 4, 2005.

Moral Mission

Other than chastising adult Web site surfers, Yusufali-A appears to cause no serious harm to infected systems.

While Yusufali-A is unremarkable from a technical perspective, its moral tone sets it apart from other malicious software.

"Unlike other malware, it appears this Trojan horse isn't trying to steal money or confidential information, but acting as a moral guardian instead - blocking viewing of websites it determines are unsavory," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"This Trojan horse may have been written as a joke, or as a serious attempt to clean-up the habits of internet users," he added.

"Of course, it's possible for the Trojan horse to make mistakes and block sites which are not pornographic - such as medical sites, or social sites designed for teenagers."

Unlike viruses, Trojan horse programs do not try to spread to other computers once installed.

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