Hacking modules target London firms

By Will Knight © 1999 ZDNet UK

Oops, another potential problem for firms who thought they had the new year covered...

Hacker Activated Code (HAC) modules, designed to force computers into thinking it is already the year 2000, have been reported by London based computer security firm mi2g. The firm has found evidence of the code within the networks of at least two high-profile London companies.

According to mi2g, the modules pose a threat particularly to those companies that are not yet Y2K compliant. Forcing clocks forward could also cause disruption by invalidating up to 40 percent of software licences, passwords and user's files, mi2g said.

D. K. Matai director of mi2g says there may be further implications: "We are still investigating the full impact of these modules and how they work. They appear to do other things in very subtle ways to spreadsheet documents."

Matai however cautions against panic: "It's very early to say. Although these modules are not picked up by any detection software, we are not aware of them being found anywhere else in the world." Nevertheless he confirms that mi2g has contacted the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

mi2g says computers targeted are primarily running Windows NT, 98 and 95, although a few Linux and Solaris computers also appear to have been affected.

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