Central Command today reported the discovery of the world's first cross-platform virus capable of infecting computers using both the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. The new virus, W32.Winux, infects Windows Portable Executable (PE) files. On Linux platforms, the virus infects Executable and Linking Format (ELF) files.
Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command, said, "Today, with the discovery of W32.Winux, we have received the world's first known virus capable of spreading on both Windows and Linux computer systems." The new virus isn't destructive and simply infects PE files by overwriting an area of the file known as the .reloc section. For ELF files, the virus modifies the executable's entry point, where the body of the virus appends to the end of the executable file. In both cases, executing the file causes the virus to propograte.
Central Command didn't report that the virus has been found circulating "in the wild" at this point; however, Sundermeier pointed out that "while people do not share executables between these OSs, this new proof-of-concept virus represents a technology innovation that may lead to more destructive viruses in the future."
Central Command suspects that the virus originated in the Czech Republic, and that the virus contains internal text strings within the virus that indicate the author as "Benny/29A." Users should check with an antivirus vendor to obtain the latest antivirus signature updates.