A new Trojan has been detected which appears to have the sole function of attacking the software that allows blind people to use their computers.
Vanja Svajcer of SophosLabs, UK, writes that a number of blind computers had been unable to use their computers from Boxing Day (26 December) when the software used to read the screen text and convert it to speech suddenly stopped working. Not all the users were using the same screen reader software.
"Users had already managed to pinpoint the culprit," says Svajec. "It was a fake crack for JAWS 9.0 screen reader software, one of the most popular screen readers. Allegedly, the crack did not just patch the JAWS executables to allow them to run without a legitimate licence, but it also installed a Trojan targeting JAWS and other popular screen readers."
When users install the patch, it also installs three additional file – two executables and a DLL – that render the software useless from 26 December.
"It became clear that this was a very unusual and well-executed attack targeting blind people," Svajec says. "The attention to detail and the programming style implies that the attacker was skilled, possibly a professional programmer."
Unusually, the malware seems to have no function other than to disable the software, with no apparent financial gain.
"Overall, this attack left me questioning the attacker’s morality as it is really difficult to imagine what would be the motivation for an attack like this one," says Sjavec