A batch of files appeared on the popular Kazaa file-sharing network last June purporting to be "cracked" versions of the popular video games "Battlefield 1942" and "FIFA Football 2003."

When downloaded, the "cracked" files -- files that have been manipulated by hackers -- contained a nasty surprise. It was "Spybot.gen," a pesky program that would imbed itself into the computer user's hard drive.

From there, it had the power to read Microsoft Word documents and send the contents back to Spybot.gen's author, or to an accomplice. It could also record key strokes, potentially intercepting credit card or other banking details.

It could even command the computer to open its compact disc drive panel.

In computer security parlance, Spybot.gen is known as "spyware" because it plants itself into a computer without the user's knowledge.

Anti-virus software firm Trend Micro has detected more than 20,000 Spybot.gen infections on computers around the globe in the last four months. It is not known how many computers are still running with the malicious code.

source: reuters

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