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New version of hacker tool on the loose

Security experts warn SubSeven is a major threat to a Windows PC  

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Powerful piece of software

Easier to use


(CNN) -- A new tool for malicious hackers is making the rounds on the Web. It can allow someone access to just about anything on your computer -- even cameras and microphones. It also makes cyber-pranks far easier than before.

Download a program written with this new software tool and there's virtually nothing a malicious hacker can't do with your computer.


"He or she can access your files, monitor your key strokes, move your mouse around the screen, capture your screen," said Kevin Poulsen of "If you have a Webcam, they can monitor what's going on in your room. If you have a microphone in your computer, they can listen over the microphone, so it's complete power."

Powerful piece of software

The Trojan Horse program is called "SubSeven." A new version was released about a week ago. Hackers have written an incredibly powerful piece of software.

Files that contain code written with the malicious program might masquerade as an attachment to an e-mail, like the damaging "I Love You" virus. Or you might be enticed to download a picture or a video, like the recent "Naked Wife" virus.

The software would then lie dormant on your computer until activated zombie-style by a remote command. Your computer could then be hijacked. Not only is your personal data at risk, but your computer could be tricked into sending out thousands of messages in an attempt to overwhelm a Web site. That's called a denial of service attack, a technique used successfully against sites like, and Yahoo! last year.

Easier to use

The new souped-up SubSeven makes that kind of scheme harder to foil. Experts say it's harder to trace the author, and because the software allows you to create variants, it's harder to protect against. And worst of all, security experts say that it's easier to use.

"It makes it so easy that it's going to lower the bar and make it simpler than ever before for ordinary Internet users to do something really malicious," said Poulsen.

Security experts say it's unlikely that an average computer with dial-up Internet connection would be a target. But anyone with a high-speed connection like a cable modem or DSL phone line is advised to update their security and anti-virus software often.

Hacker unleashers updated backdoor program
March 15, 2001
Security center issues antihacker tool
March 13, 2001
Study: All Net users vulnerable to online fraud
March 7, 2001
Virus may steal AOL users' passwords
February 1, 2001
Analysis: Understanding viruses
January 30, 2001
Hacker attacks: You can never be too safe
November 1, 2000

Wired News
 • Beware the Computer Zombies
 • World organizations urge sharing of security info
 • Updated backdoor program increases danger
 • NIPC warns of holiday cyberattack
 • Security Experts Warn of Updated Trojan
 • Safeguard Your System

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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