Delphi developers 'spreading computer virus'

A virus found in at least 3,000 unique programs that were submitted to a security firm within 24 hours suggests the menace is being passed by developers to their customers.

The virus – W32/Induc-A – is unusual for injecting itself into the source code of any Delphi program on a computer, and subsequently compiles itself into a finished executable.

As a result, not only is it a threat to workers developing applications written in the software language, but it also puts users at risk if their system runs Delphi programs.

Delphi is a variant of the Pascal language originally developed by Borland, and is now used to quickly develop Windows programs such as database applications.

Between Wednesday and Thursday evening, more than 3,000 unique infected samples of applications infected by W32 from the wild were submitted to experts at Sophos.

The firm said this signals the virus has been active for some time, and that a number of software houses and teams developing applications with Delphi have been infected.

A compiler interface and a tool for downloading configuration files onto GSM modules were among the applications which the firm found to be carrying W32.

A number of banking Trojan horses, which are often written in Delphi, have also been infected, indicating, ironically, that even malware authors are among its victims.

"Although most people aren't Delphi developers, there may be many computer users running programs written in Delphi that have been contaminated," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"It's possible that affected applications are available for download from the net on legitimate shareware sites or on magazine CD ROMs."

Businesses using software written in Delphi were advised to ensure that their anti-virus software is up-to-date

If they do find W32 in a program, its developers should be contacted immediately – as, Sophos said, "it's possible that the infection could be passed on to other customers."

"This virus isn't just a threat if you are a software developer who uses Delphi," the firm added. "It's possible that you are running programs which are written in Delphi on your computers, and they could be affected."

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