The Lebreat-D virus, which is rated a low threat, creates in infected computers a JPEG image file of Jaschan, a German teenager recently convicted of authoring the widespread Sasser and Netsky worms, Sophos Plc said.
The Lebreat worm, which is spread through email attachments and exploits a Microsoft security vulnerability, opens a backdoor to an infected Windows computer, enabling a hacker to gain control. The virus indicates that a denial of service attack could be planned against security vendors Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., but doesn't say when, Sophos said.
A growing number of virus writers today are paid by others to gain control of computers for sending out spam or stealing personal information, such as IDs and passwords to online banking accounts. The Lebreat writer, however, appears to be one of a waning breed that seeks notoriety.
"It doesn't strike me as being about financial gain," Gregg Mastoras, senior security analyst for Sophos, said. "It's apparently a childish squabble, or at least someone trying to attract attention."
Within the Lebreat worm is a lengthy message criticizing research done by anti-virus vendors, ridiculing other virus writers and promising a variant that will use "a better engine to send thousands of copies to users."
"It will be my game cuz the FBI or police are not searching for me to arrest me like ya Sasser," the message said, in part.
Sophos has rated the virus as low risk.